Rudolf Karl Bultmann
20 August 1884
|Died||30 July 1976 91) (aged|
(m. 1917;died 1973)
|Alma mater||University of Marburg|
|Thesis||Der Stil der paulinischen Predigt und die kynisch-stoische Diatribe (1910)|
|Doctoral advisor||Johannes Weiss|
|School or tradition||Dialectical theology|
|Institutions||University of Marburg|
Rudolf Karl Bultmann (German: [ˈbʊltman] ; 20 August 1884 – 30 July 1976) was a German Lutheran theologian and professor of the New Testament at the University of Marburg. He was one of the major figures of early-20th-century biblical studies. A prominent critic of liberal theology, Bultmann instead argued for an existentialist interpretation of the New Testament. His hermeneutical approach to the New Testament led him to be a proponent of dialectical theology.
The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first being the Old Testament. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture.
The Philipps University of Marburg was founded in 1527 by Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, which makes it one of Germany's oldest universities and the oldest still operating Protestant university in the world. It is now a public university of the state of Hesse, without religious affiliation. The University of Marburg has about 25,000 students and 7,500 employees and is located in Marburg, a town of 72,000 inhabitants, with university buildings dotted in or around the town centre. About 12 per cent of the students are international, the highest percentage in Hesse. It offers an International summer university programme and offers student exchanges through the Erasmus programme.
Biblical studies is the academic application of a set of diverse disciplines to the study of the Bible. For its theory and methods, the field draws on disciplines ranging from archaeology, ancient history, cultural backgrounds, textual criticism, literary criticism, historical backgrounds, philology, and social science.
Bultmann is known for his belief that the historical analysis of the New Testament is both futile and unnecessary, given that the earliest Christian literature showed little interest in specific locations.Bultmann argued that all that matters is the "thatness", not the "whatness" of Jesus, i.e. only that Jesus existed, preached, and died by crucifixion matters, not what happened throughout his life.
Bultmann relied on demythologization, an approach interpreting the mythological elements in the New Testament existentially. Bultmann contended that only faith in the kerygma, or proclamation, of the New Testament was necessary for Christian faith, not any particular facts regarding the historical Jesus.
Demythologization as a hermeneutic approach to religious texts seeks to separate cosmological and historic claims from philosophical, ethical and theological teachings. Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976) introduced the term demythologization in this context, but the concept has earlier precedents.
Kerygma is a Greek word used in the New Testament for "proclamation". It is related to the Greek verb κηρύσσω kērússō, literally meaning "to cry or proclaim as a herald" and being used in the sense of "to proclaim, announce, preach". Merriam-Webster defines it as "the apostolic proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ". Amongst biblical scholars, the term has come to mean the core of the early church's oral tradition about Jesus.
Historical Jesus is the reconstruction of the life and teachings of Jesus by critical historical methods, in contrast to Christological definitions and other Christian accounts of Jesus. It also considers the historical and cultural contexts in which Jesus lived.
Bultmann was born on 20 August 1884 in Wiefelstede, Oldenburg, the son of Arthur Kennedy Bultmann, a Lutheran minister. [ citation needed ] from Marburg with a dissertation on the Epistles of St Paul, written under the supervision of Johannes Weiss. After submitting a Habilitation two years later, he became a lecturer on the New Testament at Marburg.He did his Abitur at the Altes Gymnasium in the city of Oldenburg, and studied theology at Tübingen. After three terms, Bultmann went to the University of Berlin for two terms, and finally to Marburg for two more terms. He received his degree in 1910
Wiefelstede is a municipality in the Ammerland district, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated approximately 15 km northwest of Oldenburg.
The Grand Duchy of Oldenburg was a grand duchy within the German Confederation, North German Confederation and German Empire which consisted of three widely separated territories: Oldenburg, Eutin and Birkenfeld. It ranked tenth among the German states and had one vote in the Bundesrat and three members in the Reichstag.
Abitur is a qualification granted by university-preparatory schools in Germany, Lithuania, and Estonia. It is conferred on students who pass their final exams at the end of their secondary education, usually after twelve or thirteen years of schooling. In German, the term Abitur has roots in the archaic word Abiturium, which in turn was derived from the Latin abiturus.
Bultmann married Helene Feldmann on 6 August 1917.The couple had three daughters. Bultmann's wife died in 1973.
After brief lectureships at Breslau and Giessen, Bultmann returned to Marburg in 1921 as a full professor, and stayed there until his retirement in 1951. From autumn 1944 until the end of the Second World War in 1945 he took into his family Uta Ranke-Heinemann, who had fled the bombs and destruction in Essen.
Giessen, spelled Gießen in German (German pronunciation: [ˈɡiːsn̩]], is a town in the German federal state of Hesse, capital of both the district of Giessen and the administrative region of Giessen. The population is approximately 86,000, with roughly 24,000 university students.
Uta Ranke-Heinemann is a German theologian, academic, and author. She holds the (nondenominational) chair of History of Religion at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Essen, her birthplace.
Bultmann was a student of Hermann Gunkel, Johannes Weiss, and Wilhelm Heitmüller.His doctoral students included Hans Jonas, Ernst Käsemann, Günther Bornkamm, Helmut Koester, and Ernst Fuchs. He also taught Hannah Arendt.
He was a member of the Confessing Churchand critical towards Nazism. He spoke out against the mistreatment of Jews, against nationalistic excesses and against the dismissal of non-Aryan Christian ministers. He did not, however, speak out against "the antiSemitic[sic] laws which had already been promulgated" and he was philosophically limited in his ability to "repudiate, in a comprehensive manner, the central tenets of Nazi racism and antiSemitism[sic]."
Bultmann became friends with Martin Heidegger who taught at Marburg for five years, and Heidegger's views on existentialism had an influence on Bultmann's thinking.However, Bultmann himself stated that his views could not simply be reduced to thinking in Heideggerian categories, in that "the New Testament is not a doctrine about our nature, about our authentic existence as human beings, but a proclamation of this liberating act of God."
He died on 30 July 1976 in Marburg.[ citation needed ]
Bultmann's History of the Synoptic Tradition (1921) remains highly influential as a tool for biblical research, even among scholars[ which? ] who reject his analyses of the conventional rhetorical pericopes (narrative units) which comprise the gospels, and the historically-oriented principles of "form criticism" of which Bultmann was the most influential exponet.
According to Bultmann's definition, "[t]he aim of form-criticism [sic] is to determine the original form of a piece of narrative, a dominical saying or a parable. In the process we learn to distinguish secondary additions and forms, and these in turn lead to important results for the history of the tradition."
In 1941 Bultmann applied form criticism [ when? ] a milestone in research into the historical Jesus. The same year his lecture New Testament and Mythology: The Problem of Demythologizing the New Testament Message called on interpreters to demythologize The New Testament, in particular he argued for replacing supernatural biblical interpretations with temporal and existential categorizations. His argument, in many ways, reflected a hermeneutical adaption of the existentialist thought of his colleague at the time, the philosopher Martin Heidegger. This approach led Bultmann to reject doctrines such as the pre-existence of Christ. Bultmann believed his endeavors in this regard would make accessible to modern audiences — already immersed in science and technology — the significance (or existential quality) of Jesus' teachings. Bultmann thus thought of his endeavor of "demythologizing the New Testament proclamation" as fundamentally an evangelism task, clarifying the kerygma , or gospel proclamation, by stripping it of elements of the first-century "mythical world picture" that had potential to alienate modern people from Christian faith:to the Gospel of John, in which he distinguished the presence of a lost Signs Gospel on which John — alone of the evangelists — depended. His monograph, Das Evangelium des Johannes, highly controversial at the time, became
It is impossible to repristinate a past world picture by sheer resolve, especially a mythical world picture, now that all of our thinking is irrevocably formed by science. A blind acceptance of New Testament mythology would be simply arbitrariness; to make such acceptance a demand of faith would be to reduce faith to a work.
Bultmann saw theology in existential terms, and maintained that the New Testament was a radical text, worthy of understanding yet questioned in his time because of the prevailing Protestant conviction in a supernatural interpretation. In both the boasting of legalists "who are faithful to the law" and the boasting of the philosophers "who are proud of their wisdom", Bultmann finds a "basic human attitude" of "highhandedness that tries to bring within our own power even the submission that we know to be our authentic being". ... the salvation occurrence that is realized in Christ." Bultmann remained convinced that the narratives of the life of Jesus offered theology in story form, teaching lessons in the familiar language of myth. They were not to be excluded, but given explanation so they could be understood for today. Bultmann thought faith should become a present-day reality. To Bultmann, the people of the world appeared to be always in disappointment and turmoil. Faith must be a determined vital act of will, not a culling and extolling of "ancient proofs". Bultmann said about salvation and eternity: "As from now on there are only believers and unbelievers, so there are also now only saved and lost, those who have life and those who are in death."Standing against all human high-handedness is the New Testament, "which claims that we can in no way free ourselves from our factual fallenness in the world but are freed from it only by an act of God
Bultmann carried Form criticism so far as to call the historical value of the gospels into serious question. [ which? ] for excessive skepticism regarding the historical reliability of the gospel narratives. The full impact of Bultmann was felt with the English translation of many of his works, notably Kerygma and Mythos (1948).[ citation needed ]Some scholars, such as Craig L. Blomberg, criticized Bultmann and other critics
In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God, by means of which people become His messenger or servant. The term is also used to describe aspects of other religions and belief structures.
Biblical criticism is an umbrella term for those methods of studying the Bible that embrace two distinctive perspectives: the concern to avoid dogma and bias by applying a non-sectarian, reason-based judgment, and the reconstruction of history according to contemporary understanding. Biblical criticism uses the grammar, structure, development, and relationship of language to identify such characteristics as the Bible's literary structure, its genre, its context, meaning, authorship, and origins.
Helmut Heinrich Koester was a German-born American scholar of the New Testament and early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School. His research was primarily in the areas of New Testament interpretation, history of early Christianity, and archaeology of the early Christian period.
Liberal Christianity, also known as liberal theology, covers diverse philosophically and biblically informed religious movements and ideas within Christianity from the late 18th century onward. Liberal does not refer to progressive Christianity or to political liberalism but to the philosophical and religious thought that developed and grew as a consequence of the Enlightenment.
Günther Bornkamm was a German New Testament scholar belonging to the school of Rudolf Bultmann and a Professor of New Testament at the University of Heidelberg. Under Adolf Hitler, he opposed the nazification of the Protestant churches and their unification into the movement of the 'German Christians'. His post-war fame as a scholar rested on his effort to separate fiction from facts in his reconstruction of Jesus' life and in his subsequent treatment of the gospel of Matthew. His brother was the ecclesiastical historian and Luther scholar Heinrich Bornkamm.
Form criticism as a method of biblical criticism classifies units of scripture by literary pattern and then attempts to trace each type to its period of oral transmission. Form criticism seeks to determine a unit's original form and the historical context of the literary tradition.
Charles Harold Dodd was a Welsh New Testament scholar and influential Protestant theologian. He is known for promoting "realized eschatology", the belief that Jesus' references to the kingdom of God meant a present reality rather than a future apocalypse. He was influenced by Martin Heidegger and Rudolf Otto.
Daniel Baird Wallace is an American professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is also the founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, the purpose of which is digitizing all known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament via digital photographs.
James McConkey Robinson was an American scholar who retired as Professor Emeritus of Religion at Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California, specializing in New Testament Studies and Nag Hammadi Studies. He was a member of the Jesus Seminar and arguably the most prominent Q and Nag Hammadi library scholar of the twentieth century. He was also a major contributor to The International Q Project, acting as an editor for most of their publications. Particularly, he laid the groundwork for John S. Kloppenborg's foundational work into the compositional history of Q, by arguing its genre as an ancient wisdom collection.
George Eldon Ladd was a Baptist minister and professor of New Testament exegesis and theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, known in Christian eschatology for his promotion of inaugurated eschatology and "futuristic post-tribulationism."
John Macquarrie (1919–2007) was a Scottish-born theologian, philosopher and Anglican priest. He was the author of Principles of Christian Theology (1966) and Jesus Christ in Modern Thought (1991). Timothy Bradshaw, writing in the Handbook of Anglican Theologians, described Macquarrie as "unquestionably Anglicanism's most distinguished systematic theologian in the second half of the 20th century."
Reginald Horace Fuller (1915–2007) was an Anglo-American biblical scholar, ecumenist, and Anglican priest. His works are recognized for their consequential analysis of New Testament Christology. One aspect of his work is on the relation of Jesus to the early church and the church today. For this, his analysis, which uses the historical-critical method, has been described as neo-orthodox.
Johannes Weiss was a German Protestant theologian and biblical exegete. He was a member of the history of religions school.
New Testament and Mythology: The Problem of Demythologizing the New Testament Message, often shortened to New Testament and Mythology, is an influential and controversial theological essay by Rudolf Bultmann, published in 1941. The essay is generally considered one of the defining theological works of the 20th century. In it, Bultmann stresses the need to understand the New Testament, particularly the Gospels and their account of Christ, as being mythological in nature.
Eta Linnemann was a German Protestant theologian. In her last years, she broke completely with the theology of her teacher Rudolf Bultmann.
John Painter FAHA is an Australian New Testament scholar. He is currently Professor of Theology at Charles Sturt University in Canberra.
Ernst Fuchs was a German New Testament theologian and a student of Rudolf Bultmann. With Gerhard Ebeling he was a leading proponent of a New Hermeneutic theology in the 20th century.
Samuel MacLean Gilmour was a New Testament scholar and professor at Queen's Theological College.
|journal=(help) - (with compact introduction and detailed bibliography)