Rudolf Bultmann

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Rudolf Bultmann

Bultmann, Rudolf


Born Aug. 20, 1884, in Oldenburg. German Protestant theologian, philosopher, and historian of religion. Professor of theology at the University of Marburg from 1921 to 1951.

Bultmann’s theology verges on dialectical theology. His works in the 1920’s started the trend of the so-called school of historical form criticism in the study of religion. In the early 1940’s, Bultmann tried to resolve the internal duality of his theoretical tendencies (inclination toward the ideas of S. Kierkegaard on the one hand and toward the rationalist methodology of liberal Protestantism on the other hand) by urging that faith be “demythologized.” He proposed that a strict distinction be made within the body of Christian tradition between its transient mythological system of symbols and its permanent “message,” directed to man’s conscience and placing him in a life situation in which he has a choice; the myth is subject to rationalist criticism, but the message undergoes existentialist interpretation. This conception of Bultmann received sensational publicity but was criticized by the leaders of official Protestantism, who were displeased with the elimination of a large part of the substance of religious teaching, and by historians, who pointed to the arbitrariness of Bultmann’s approach to historical occurrences. K. Jaspers, who was closest to Bultmann, sharply criticized him for mixing theology with existentialist philosophy.


Die Frage der Entmythologisierung. Munich [1954]. (With K. Jaspers.)
Glauben und Verstehen: Gesammelte Aufsätze, vols. 1-3. Tübingen, 1958-62.
Das Evangelium des Johannes, 17th ed. Göttingen, 1962.


Barth, K. R. Bultmann, 2nd ed. Zurich, 1953.
Malet, A. Mythos et logos: La Pensée de R. Bultmann. Geneva, 1962.
Schmithals, W. Die Theologie R. Bultmanns. Tübingen, 1966.


References in periodicals archive ?
For Bultmann a Jewish People cannot be said to exist with the onset of Christianity.
On the one hand, this reluctance seems to echo the sentiment of Bultmann mentioned earlier: To focus on Jesus as logos is to deemphasize his identity in favor of his nature.
Bultmann understands the eschatological event to be the Christian message itself (the kerygma)--the coming of the Kingdom in terms of the individual's existential response to the future (Moody 42).
52) Rudolf Bultmann, The History of the Synoptic Tradition, tr.
sets his work in the context of the famous debate between Rudolf Bultmann and Ernst Kasemann over the status of the individual in Paul's theology.
They also cover more theologically and biblically oriented hermeneutics as exemplified by Barth, Bultmann, and more recent thinkers such as Pane, Thiselton, and Culpepper.
The second uses the internal language of theology only under the dominance of the external one, for example, Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976).
One also thinks of Rudolf Bultmann's efforts to demythologize Jesus and the gospels, though Bultmann, too, was smitten by a supposed Pauline-hellenistic overlay he thought mutilated the word proclaimed by Jesus.
The book is sprinkled with references to writers such as Rudolf Bultmann, Joachim Jeremias, Pierre Grelot, Romano Guardini and Hans-Peter Kolvenbach, the superior general of the Jesuits, whom Benedict obviously admires.
Other notable Gifford Lectures include Albert North Whitehead, Albert Schweitzer, Rudolf Bultmann, Paul Ricoeur, John Hick, Alasdair MacIntyre, Mary Douglas, Martha Nussbaum, Charles Taylor, David Tracy, Michael Ignatieff, and J.
In this he counters the historical reconstructions of several prior and contemporary Mandaean scholars, including Reitzenstein, Lidsbarski, Bultmann, Drower, Macuch, and Rudolph.
The author presents much of Luther's theology, based on Luther's own works and selected Luther scholars, with a sympathy for the Scandinavian school and much praise for Rudolf Bultmann as one who uses the Lutheran structure to become "the most provocative advocate of Christianity in the modern world".