Michael O’Neil on Pierre Maury’s 1937 sermon “The Ultimate Decision”


In another post on his blog Michael O’Neil has given a very helpful overview and commentary of Pierre Maury’s sermon “The Ultimate Decision” which I translated for my book “Election, Barth and the French Connection: How Pierre Maury gave a ‘Decisive Impetus’ to Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Election” (Pickwick, Eugene, OR. 2019)

See his post here: https://theologyandchurch.com/2020/05/01/pierre-maury-sermon-the-ultimate-decision/

Michael points out that

“The sermon is prefaced, in the book, with a record of a brief correspondence between Barth and Maury, and a longer note from Charlotte von Kirschbaum who translated the Frenchman’s sermon in German, translating it three times before she was (somewhat!) happy with it…”

This was the translation into German of Maury’s whole Lenten sermon series published as Le Grande Œuvre de Dieu. Paris: Je Sers, 1937 – Die grosse Tat Gottes—Sechs Vorträge, (The Great Work of God – Six Lectures), Zollikon-Zürich: Evangelischer Verlag, 1941.

Von Kirschbaum said to Maury

“….I hope that this work is now reasonably correct. After several surveys, Karl says that he is satisfied, but he still wants to read it all again before sending it to the editor. I’ve had the same experience as what happened formerly with the text on election: I admire your gift of saying things in a way that is always new, and to say them in such a way that one can read them with a wholly new interest, that one sees them in a new light. You’re going to laugh: I believe that, apart from you, only Karl has that sort of ability. (You’ll recognise, won’t you, that that is a great compliment?!!)”

You can read that correspondence (taken from Bernard Reymond’s compilation of the Barth/Maury exchanges from 1928 to Maury’s death in 1956 here: https://simonhattrell.com/2018/07/27/two-exchanges-between-pierre-maury-karl-barth-charlotte-von-kirschbaum-in-1941/

Reymond, Bernard, ed. and trans. Karl Barth—Pierre Maury, Nous qui pouvons encore parler . . . Correspondance 1928–1956. Lausanne: Symbolon, Éditions l’Age d’Homme, 1985.


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