Boom Goes Barth

As I was preparing for this semester’s Karl Barth seminar I came across this poignant story. One morning after his sermon Barth was greeted at the door by a man who said, “Professor Barth, thank you for your sermon. I’m an astronomer, you know, and as far as I am concerned, the whole of Christianity can be summed up by saying, ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.'”

Barth replied, “Well, I am just a humble theologian, and as far as I am concerned the whole of astronomy can be summed up by saying, ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.'”

Source:  John D. Godsey, “Reminiscences of Karl Barth,” in Princeton Seminary Bulletin (2002):  321.

4 Comments

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  1. Great anecdote! I remember in seminary hearing one from the opposite vantage point where an American professor (I think from Moody) mentioned to Barth that Jesus said “feed my sheep”, not “feed my giraffes.” Barth can be tough reading. What would you recommend as “essential Barth reading?” Commentary on Romans and Church Dogmatics (taxing in time and $)?

  2. Tim: Volume IV/1 of the CD is his best work. For an accessible introduction, read “Dogmatics in Outline.”

  3. Oh Mr Barth! This is wrong in so many universes!

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