[1964. Review of Portrait of Karl Barth, by George Casilas, The Presbyterian Journal 30 Sep.: 18.]
PORTRAIT OF KARL BARTH, by Georges Casalis. Doubleday & Company, N. Y. 133 pp. $.95. Reviewed by Gordon H. Clark, Butler University, Indianapolis, Ind.
George Casalis is professor of pastoral theology at the Protestant Faculty of Paris. He includes in his book an interesting outline of Barth’s life, failing only to mention that Barth split his first congregation at Safenwil by his socialistic politics. The struggle with Hitler is especially well done. Also reported is Barth’s preference for Communism over the anti-Communism of the free nations. Part Three expresses very succinctly the main thrust of Barth’s many publications. It is very well written.
The translator, Robert McAfee Brown, adds an introduction in which he assesses Barth’s main theological ideas. Here, too, the brevity emphasizes the competency of the writer. The author makes it very clear that Barth is no close follower of Calvin; and he agrees with Barth that Calvinism is pretty bad. To do this decretum horrible is mistranslated “horrible decree”: horribilis should be translated “awe inspiring.” Dr. Brown ends with listing eight criticisms that have been directed against Barth from several sources.