Johann and Christoph Blumhardt, free ebooks
March 29, 2011
I recently came across the Plough Publishing House, the publisher of Johann and Christoph Blumhardt’s few translated works. Their website generously offers these works for free to download, many in both pdf and Kindle format (and epub).
For those with an interest in 20th century dialectical theology, both Emil Brunner and Karl Barth cite the Blumhardts as major influences on their own thinking, especially their critique of institutional religion and the centrality of the personal event of the Word which extends into a protest against political forms of oppression. Here is Emil Brunner in his “Intellectual Autobiography” (The Theology of Emil Brunner, ed. Charles Kegley, 1962):
[My father] was a schoolteacher who understood his work as a calling and a service to God. From my mother, who stood at his side in this service, I learned to pray. Using an old picture Bible, she introduced me to biblical history and thereby laid the foundation on which my theology was later to be built. Through her influence, my father, descended from a family of nonbelievers, came into contact with Christoph Blumhardt. Through Blumhardt and his two important pupils, Hermann Kutter and Leonhard Ragaz, our family was drawn into the Religious Socialist Movement. [p. 4]
There was a time when the currently reigning agnostic humanism and the materialism, which was identified with Darwinism, occasioned doubts in me. The critical idealism of F. A. Lange, Geschichte des Materialismus (History of Materialism) strengthened me against these temptations, but in a very different way the biblical realism and prophetism of my teachers Kutter and the one even greater than he who stood in back of him, Christoph Blumhardt, kept my faith alive. [p. 6]
His Römerbrief (Epistle to the Romans), written in 1918, I hailed as a forceful confirmation of my own thoughts. If I am not mistaken, I was the first one, who in reviewing this book (in the Kirchenblatt für die Reformierte Schweiz), emphatically pointed to its epoch-making character. My enthusiasm was all the more understandable because Barth, as well as our mutual friend Eduard Thurneysen, came from that circle in the center of which Hermann Kutter and Christoph Blumhardt had been. [p. 8]