Rudolf Bultmann: Scholar of Faith

bultmannHere’s a great essay for your reading pleasure:

Rudolf Bultmann — who died on July 30, 1976 at the advanced age of 91 was the last of the theological giants who grew up in the universities of the Kaiser’s Germany (he began to study theology in 1903 at 19), and the last of the prophets who struggled to hear the word of the Christians’ Lord after what had happened in 1914. Teaching New Testament at Marburg University from 1921 to 1951, Bultmann exerted all his many talents in order to recover the highest tradition of German biblical scholarship after the interruption of the war. Giving his acute and well-stored mind to the problems of biblical interpretation, or hermeneutics, he developed the science of form criticism with Martin Dibelius. However, he also took very seriously the world around him — the postwar world of the Weimar Republic, groping for financial as well as spiritual stability (in the end, its gospel was Mein Kampf).


There were plenty of men (Karl Jaspers, Fritz Bun, Herbert Braun and others) who urged him to complete his program by a thoroughgoing secularization, but Bultmann obstinately insisted on the power and grace of the Other who comes. He knew. He had met him. This is his glory, in an age which has exalted research above the encounters of life, and which has obscured God by the massive horrors of politics as well as by the petty sentimentalities of religion.

Bultmann was one of the finest Christians of the century (and he never cheated on his wife like Barth did).  Don’t believe the lies his enemies spew about him being an unbeliever.  Go read the rest.

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