Author: Jim

Sad News: Der Theologe Ferdinand Hahn ist gestorben

Hahn_Ferdinand_smallDer emeritierte Münchner Theologieprofessor Ferdinand Hahn ist tot. Hahn starb am 28. Juli im Alter von 89 Jahren, wie das Dekanat der evangelisch-theologischen Fakultät der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in München mitteilte. Der Autor des theologischen Standardwerks “Die Hoheitstitel Jesu” galt als einer der profiliertesten Neutestamentler. Der gebürtige Pfälzer war langjähriger Ordinarius in Kiel, Mainz und München.

Hahn begann seine wissenschaftliche Karriere Mitte der 50er Jahre. Er beschäftigte sich als Wissenschaftler viel mit urchristlichen Quellen. Seit den 60er Jahren war er ein wichtiger Vertreter des ökumenischen Gesprächs mit den Katholiken und engagierte sich im christlich-jüdischen Dialog. Im Jahr 2003 erhielt Hahn den Eugen-Biser-Preis für seine herausragenden Leistungen auf dem Gebiet der Neutestamentlichen Theologie, vor allem für sein zweibändiges Werk “Theologie des Neuen Testaments” und seinen Beitrag zur Ökumene.

Also- a brief bio

Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Hahn: Abgang von der Oberschule in Kaiserslautern 1944, 1944-1945 Kriegsdienst, 1945-1947 amerikanische und französische Kriegsgefangenschaft,  1948-1953 Studium der ev. Theologie in Mainz, Göttingen und Heidelberg, 1954-1956 im kirchlichen Dienst in der Pfälzischen Landeskirche in Konken und Ebertsheim, 1956-1962 wissenschaftlicher Assistent bei Prof. Dr. Günther Bornkamm in Heidelberg, 1961 Promotion bei Günther Bornkamm, 1963 Habilitation für das Fach Neues Testament und Privatdozent in Heidelberg, 1963-1964 Lehrstuhlvertretung in Göttingen, 1964–1968 o. Prof. für Neues Testament an der Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel, 1968-1988 Vorsitzender der Deutschen Ostasienmission, 1968–1976 o. Prof. für Neues Testament an der Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, 1976-1994 o. Prof. für Neues Testament an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 1994 Emeritierung. 1998 erhielt er die Ehrendoktorwürde vom Theologischen Institut Klausenburg / Hermannstadt, Rumänien, wo er von 1998-2001 Dozent war. Neben seinem missionstheologischen Interesse engagierte er sich besonders im ökumenischen und christlich-jüdischen Dialog.

I’m sorry to hear of his passing.  His work is very impressive.  May he rest in peace.

The Three Best Books About Bultmann

  1. The best biography of Bultmann is that of Konrad Hammann (and it’s better in German).  Particularly important is his discussion of Bultmann during the era of the Second World War.
  2. The best short study of Bultmann’s theology is Gareth Jones’s “Bultmann: Towards a Critical Theology“.  This book has not received the very wide attention it deserves.  It is indispensable.
  3. The best lengthy account of Bultmann’s thought is David Congdon’s The Mission of Demythologizing: Rudolf Bultmann’s Dialectical Theology.

People ask me from time to time how they can best be introduced to Bultmann’s theology and I always tell them- read BULTMANN!  Once, though, you’ve read half a dozen or more of Bultmann’s books, these three are next on the list – at the top of the list of books ABOUT Bultmann that interested persons should read.  Bultmann first, these three next.  And then it’s back to Bultmann himself.

You will never learn about someone’s ideas if you only read what others think.  You have to have first hand acquaintance with someone’s work.  There are no shortcuts.

Remembering Rudolf Bultmann on the Anniversary of his Death: The Marburg Sermons

Bultmann was never ordained but he was frequently asked to preach and he was always active in the life of the Lutheran parish in Marburg.  It was his task to stand at the door with the poor box and receive offerings as congregants left the service on Sunday morning.  And he took this job seriously and performed it every Sunday he was in attendance (which was every Sunday he wasn’t elsewhere lecturing or preaching).

He was, to put it bluntly, a better Church member than the Fundamentalists who assail him without cause.

If you have never read any of his sermons, find a copy of this book and read them.  You won’t regret it.  You will regret it if you don’t, though.


Lutherrenaissance Past and Present

978-3-525-56415-8This volume makes a distinctive contribution to the upcoming 500th anniversary of Luther’s reformation by looking back to the previous centennial in 1917. The great flourishing of interest in Luther’s religious experience and thought in Berlin at the turn of the twentieth century was known as the Lutherrenaissance. Contributors to this volume, attentive to both to the rich contributions of the Lutherrenaissance and its darker consequences, open an unprecedented conversation across the century. Contributors exemplify new perspectives in Luther scholarship today, the rich and fertile grounds of the Lutheran tradition, in its engagement with unprecedented global circumstances.

Visit the link above for the TOC and the front matter.  V&R have sent along a copy for review, so there will be more in the not too awful distant future about it.

His Name Is Rudolf, Not Rudolph

From time to time some copy editor or some book cover designer or some ignorant student will publish a book or write an essay about Bultmann and misspell his word- much to the shock, horror, and dismay of everyone who knows something about RKB.  So, for instance, an otherwise very fine book on Bultmann by John Webster, who knows better but who employed a printer who knew nothing is befouled by that simple senseless act.

Read the book.  Ignore the cover.

F.F. Bruce- On The Passing of Bultmann

When the Society for New Testament Studies held its annual meeting in August 1976 at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, the secretary read out at the opening session the names of members who had died since the previous meeting. When this is done, the chairman usually invites those present to stand for a moment in respect for the memory of departed colleagues. On this occasion, when the names were read in alphabetical order, the first was that of Professor Dr. Rudolf Bultmann, and as soon as his name was read out, the audience rose to its feet as one man: such was the esteem in which this veteran scholar was held, by those who disagreed most profoundly with him as well by members of his school.

Rudolf Bultmann was appointed Lecturer in New Testament at Marburg in 1912. After four years there he moved to Breslau and then to Giessen, but in 1921 he returned to Marburg as full professor, and remained there for thirty years of active teaching and then for twenty-five years of active retirement.

Outside the academic world he became known first for his identification with the Confessing Church movement in its opposition to the Hitler regime, and then for his ‘demythologizing programme’. In both respects he was moved by concern for the purity of the gospel. The demythologizing programme attempted to remove what he considered to be all irrelevant stumbling-blocks in the way of the gospel so that men and women might be confronted by the unencumbered offence of the cross. Like a number of other German theologians, he was more Lutheran than Luther: he deplored any appeal to the historical foundation of Christianity on the ground that justification by history was simply one form of justification by works and therefore inimical to the gospel of justification by faith alone.

He was not sceptical for the sake of scepticism, and some who could be described as being just that could not understand why, in view of his negative attitude to the historical evidence, he bore firm witness to Jesus as the Word became flesh. The reason was not far to seek: he knew whom he had believed.

F.F. Bruce