Karl Barth and Charlotte von Kirschbaum

  title={Karl Barth and Charlotte von Kirschbaum},
  author={Christiane Tietz},
  journal={Theology Today},
  pages={111 - 86}
  • Christiane Tietz
  • Published 2017
  • Philosophy
  • Theology Today
  • In 2008, the letters between Charlotte von Kirschbaum and Karl Barth from 1925–1935 were published in German. They reveal the love between them, but also the conflicts between Barth, von Kirschbaum, and Barth’s wife Nelly Barth and how much all three suffered from this constellation. The paper first discusses if and how we are allowed to read these letters and then describes their love relation as well as the conflicts and the importance this experience had for Barth’s theology. 
    3 Citations


    127: die ''zwei mir verordneten
      212 Charlotte is convinced that there is order and command of God in both relationships: not only that Karl's and Nelly's relationship is marriage, but also hers is ''marriage
        50: ''was da ungewollt aus der ra¨tselhaft-schuldvollen Tiefe des Menschlichen u¨ber uns gekommen ist
          Alles kreist nun immer wieder um die zwei Punkte: der eine die Heiligkeit des Gebots, der andere, daß du und ich (ich weiß nicht auf welcher Ebene) zusammen sind
            Already in May 1926, he understands the solution of a triangle as some kind of ''order'': one being the wife and one being his comrade-two different relations but still with some order (cf
            • 1933
            Charlotte therefore differs between ''Gebot'' and ''Gesetz,'' between commandment and law
              He explains, that in his view, both, Nelly and Charlotte, fell in love with him also because of his theology and faith
                It might be interesting to note that his brother Heiner accuses Barth of ''Naturalism'' (cf. ibid., 271) and that Barth in no letter about their situation argues with christological figures
                  The triangle is his attempt 201. Ibid., 72: ''der Schatten von Schuld und Leid und Verzicht, unter dem du und ich stehen, ist da und wird da sein
                  • aber er ist nicht das Einzige, was da ist, sondern es gibt ein freilich schwer zu umschreibendes gewisses Recht, das wir aufeinander haben, und dieses Rechtes du¨rfen und werden wir uns freuen
                  The way I am, I never could and still cannot deny either the reality of my marriage or the reality of my love. It is true that I am married, that I am a father and a grandfather
                  • Barth does not escape this tension and decides to stick to both realities of his life