The modern movement of worship is designed to break down barriers between man and God, to remove the veil, as it were, from the fearsome holiness of God, which might cause us to tremble. It is designed to make us feel comfortable. ~R.C Sproul
(from someone on FB)
The context … in which Bultmann’s theology is to be set, is two-fold. There is his radically critical approach to the reliability of the New Testament as an historical record: and there is his equally strong stress on the unfashionable aspects of the Christian gospel. It is a curious mix, which we cannot explain away easily as inconsistency, and which requires careful study before we pronounce judgement. The way in to understanding is a consideration of the word which more than any other has become inseparably linked with Bultmann – demythologising. – Webster (in the previously mentioned essay).
Webster is quite right about this. To understand Bultmann, one needs to understand his program of demythologization. And that is not the easiest thing to do because it is NOT about denouncing biblical texts; it is understanding them in their OWN historical context and purpose.
Luther and Zwingli
On the 20th of August in 1524 (which just happened to have been a Saturday), Huldrych Zwingli published his scathing Adversus Hieronymum Emserum antibolon. His assessment of the man was, in his own words, that he was
… ein Schreihals (clamosus homo), mehr nicht.
Luther, in his several dealings with Emser, called him a goat. Indeed, if you want to read something fun, read Luther’s utterly ‘dripping with pure contempt and loathing’ for Emser book titled Answer to the Hyperchristian, Hyperspiritual, and Hyperlearned Book by Goat Eraser in Leipzig—Including Some Thoughts Regarding His Companion, the Fool Murner.
Neither of the Reformers thought anything of the bombastic imbecile.
Emser had attended University (at Basel) but was kicked out for being abusive to one of his Professors. That led the dullard to despise the Swiss. So when Zwingli commenced publishing on the Mass, Emser saw it as an opportunity to attack those whom he hated. The whole gist of his silly essay was that the Saints would side with the Catholic Church in its argument with the Reformers (!).
Zwingli informed the twit that the Bible was the final authority for Christians, not tradition or the Saints. When it came to the central matter of the Eucharist, Zwingli simply repeated his standard belief-
Eucharistia cibus spiritualis est.
And so it is- as all right thinking biblically literate Christians know.
Wanting an all out war with the Arab world? What dimwit issued the order?
Anxious to head off a diplomatic crisis with Egypt, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a statement Saturday expressing regret for the deaths of Egyptian security personnel in a border incident following a deadly raid in Israel. It also promised a joint investigation of the incident and commended Egypt’s conduct in the relationship with Israel.
An apology? Ask Israel if it will accept an apology from Hamas. What multi-sided madness.
And cohabitation harms children, according to a study released on the 16th of the month. Here’s a direct link to the pdf.
Today, the rise of cohabiting households with children is the largest unrecognized threat to the quality and stability of children’s family lives. In fact, because of the growing prevalence of cohabitation, which has risen fourteen-fold since 1970, today’s children are much more likely to spend time in a cohabiting household than they are to see their parents divorce.
Here are the study’s findings:
– Children are less likely to thrive in cohabiting households, compared to intact, married families.
– Family instability is generally bad for children.
– The growing instability of American family life also means that contemporary adults and children are more likely to live in what scholars call “complex households,”
There’s much more in the report which everyone should read, and take quite seriously.
Glaube ist immer Glaube gegen den Schein. — Rudolf Bultmann
I’ve circled (badly) the Bultmann volumes in my library. And yes, every word of every one (because I know you’re wondering).
In this essay he discusses earliest Christianity and what it must have looked like. He asserts, among other things,
The New Testament’s very existence testifies to how passionately the earliest Christians kept in touch with one another. Some people imagine a group of powerful old men selecting the New Testament books in a smoke-filled room. That’s not how things happened at all. The formation of the New Testament largely emerged organically. Imagine a church in one city, which might share a copy of Mark’s Gospel with another church that lacked it. Imagine churches distributing their copies of Paul’s letters with one another so that eventually most of the churches have the same collection. For the most part, the New Testament canon grew from the books that were the most widely read and treasured.
It’s a good essay and surprisingly it’s in the Huffington Post. Perhaps they’ve moved away from the dilettantism re: Christianity that has besmirched them in the past. One can hope, anyway.
One would expect a scholar of Webster’s caliber to know that. Alas, however, he doesn’t seem to.
Still, many thanks to Chris Tilling for pointing out the book, which introduces those unfamiliar with Bultmann to his work and thought. Nevertheless, as we always need to say, it’s best to READ BULTMANN rather than ABOUT Bultmann. But reading about him is fun too.
By Richard Bauckham:
Richard Bauckham here explores the historical figure of Jesus, evaluating the sources and showing that they provide us with good historical evidence for his life and teaching. To place Jesus in his proper historical context, as a Jew from Galilee in the early first century of our era, Bauckham looks at Jewish religion and society in the land of Israel under Roman rule. He explores Jesus’ symbolic practices as well as his teachings, looks at his public career and emphasizes how his actions, such as healing and his association with notorious sinners, were just as important as his words. Bauckham writes that Jesus was devoted to the God of Israel, with a special focus on God’s fatherly love and compassion, and like every Jewish teacher he expounded the Torah, but did so in his own distinctive way. After a discussion about the way Jesus understood himself and what finally led to his death on a Roman cross, Bauckham concludes by considering the significance Jesus has come to have for Christian faith worldwide.
For the Jesus of history folk.
Rudolf Karl Bultmann, the most important New Testament theologian of the 20 or 21st centuries was born on this day in 1884. Happy Bultmann’s Birthday! Expect several posts on the great man today.
Some are perverse molesters of mentally challenged children-
A missing 14-year-old girl with the mental capacity of someone much younger was found Friday morning with a 21-year-old soldier who now faces charges in her disappearance.
Police located Andrea Fox around 8:45 a.m. in Wichita Falls, Texas, in the car of James Dean Martin, an Army soldier stationed in Colorado, whom she knew from Timpson, Texas. Police had obtained text messages the two had exchanged in the hours before Fox disappeared Tuesday, which led them to believe she was with Martin. Helped by a tipster who had seen a description of Marin’s car in the Amber Alert, police found the two asleep inside the vehicle that was parked on the side of a road.
Nosir, not all soldiers are heroes and not all of them deserve accolades.
He’s right that the various networks mentioned get religion wrong most of the time. He’s wrong in not saying that most journalists do as well and not just those from those news outlets.
via Fr Stephen’s Blog
[W]hen the family business is religion, it is especially perilous. That is one of the central laments, anyway, of “Sex, Mom, & God,” a new memoir by Frank Schaeffer. To secular Americans, the name Frank Schaeffer means nothing. But to millions of evangelical Christians, the Schaeffer name is royal, and Frank is the reluctant, wayward, traitorous prince. His crime is not financial profligacy, like some pastors’ sons, but turning his back on Christian conservatives.
“I had been home-schooled,” Mr. Schaeffer told me. “I had no education, no qualifications, and I was groomed to do this stuff. What was I going to do? If two lines are forming, and one has a $10,000 honorarium to go to a Christian Booksellers Association conference and keynote, and the other is to consider your doubts and get out with nothing else to do, what are you going to do?”
Groomed… That’s a very interesting take on his upbringing and it fits quite nicely. This sounds like an interesting book for sure.