Portrait of Karl Barth

Portrait of Karl Barth

Portrait of Karl Barth

Portrait of Karl Barth

Excerpt

Theology . . . is a peculiarly beautiful science. Indeed, we can confidently say that it is the most beautiful of all the sciences. To find the sciences distasteful is the mark of the Philistine. It is an extreme form of Philistinism to find, or to be able to find, theology distasteful. The theologian who has no joy in his work is not a theologian at all. Sulky faces, morose thoughts and boring ways of speaking are intolerable in this science.

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, II/1, p. 656

A book about Karl Barth had better be very big or very small: very big because so much must be said to do justice to the subject matter, or very small because not everything can be said that should be said, and yet something must be said.

The present book, by deliberate intent, belongs in the latter category. It purports to be no more than its title suggets--a "portrait"--and the purpose of the present introduction is not to make a small book just a bit bigger, but to make the lines in the portrait clearer to those for whom it was not originally painted--English-speaking readers for whom the name of Karl Barth has always been something of a mystery.

Barth's recent visit to America--his first and only one in seventy-six active years--has dispelled some of the sense of mystery and theological austerity that surrounds the usual . . .

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