On the wall behind him hovered a reproduction of Matthias Grunewald’s ‘Crucifixion‘ scene from the Isenheim Altar. I believe this piece of art was the perfect symbol for Barth’s work. Pointing at Jesus, uttering the words ‘He must increase, and I must decrease’, is John the Baptist. This really was Barth’s motto- ilum oportet crescere, me autem minui. It’s the motto of all authentic Christian Theologians as well.
Near Zwingli and Oecolampadius, and next to Brunner I have a copy on my well. It’s a ghastly and constant reminder of the real goal of all exegetical and theological effort. Ilum oportet crescere, me autem minui… indeed.
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