Le Donne Gets Bultmann

Unlike so many who only (foolishly) read ‘about’ Bultmann (usually from the point of view of some feckless unlearned fundamentalist who is barely capable of reading one or two letters of the Greek alphabet and who has never seen a Hebrew text in his life), Le Donne has read, and for the most part rightly grasped, Bultmann’s program  (Bultmann was about a LOT more than simple ‘demythologization’ and the limitation of any attempt to understand him only concerning that issue is both short sighted and skewed).

Give his essay a read and then go and read some Bultmann for yourself.  Start with his sermons (which are brilliant and really moving) and then take a look at his New Testament theology and then digest fully his book on Jesus (which is better than any study of the historical Jesus ever written).  When you’ve done that, read his commentary on John and 2 Corinthians and then his collected essays in Glauben und Verstehen.  Then do yourself the favor of picking up his correspondence with Barth and then with Gogarten.  Finally, then, read his book reviews (because he reviewed books like you wouldn’t believe).

When you’ve managed all of that, then you can consider yourself equipped and capable of commenting on his work.  But not until.  For until you’ve read Bultmann, you’ve not earned the right to have an opinion about him.  But if you go ahead and express an opinion anyway, well, you’ll just be mocked because, in all honesty, that’s what you deserve to have happen to you.

Reading one page of Bultmann and declaring yourself an expert on his theology is like reading one page of Romans and declaring yourself an exegete.  Actually, what you are in both cases, is a dilettante.

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About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Professor of Biblical Studies at Quartz Hill School of Theology as well as Adjunct at the Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary
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2 Responses to Le Donne Gets Bultmann

  1. Daniel Owens says:

    So I have tried for an hour to find a collection of Bultmann’s sermons without any luck. Do you happen to have a title that could aid me in my Quest for the Historical Butlmann?

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