Barth on Calvin

I love the way Barth describes his struggle with Calvin. I know something of this delightful feeling, when you encounter a new thinker and he blows you out of the water. He wrote in a letter:

“Calvin is a cataract, a primeval forest, a demonic power, something directly down from Himalaya, absolutely Chinese, strange, mythological. I lack completely the means, the suction cups, even to assimilate this phenomenon, not to speak of presenting it adequately. What I receive is only a thin little stream and what I can then give out again is only a yet thinner extract of this little stream. I could gladly and profitably set myself down and spend all the rest of my life just with Calvin.”

Karl Barth to Eduard Thurneysen, June 1922, quoted in Timothy George, Theology of the Reformers (Broadman + Holman, 1988), 163.

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