Friday, February 29, 2008

Bultmann the Heretic!

I'm currently working my way through some studies in New Testament Theology where (Lord willing) I hope to invest a great amount of time over the next 60 years. I've been glancing at Alan Richardson's much neglected An Introduction to the Theology of the New Testament. I found this amazing quote on page fourteen:

The 'conclusions' of the liberal or 'historicizing' critics have been stood upon their head: what the liberals deemed to be mythology has become history and their history has become mythology. No wonder the conservatives are bewildered nowadays - and the conservtives are, of course, the liberals. Time had made ancient good uncouth. It has become apparent that we cannot build a theology of the New Testament - whether an orthodox one, like Gore's, or an heretical one, like Bultmann's - upon an imaginary bed-rock of objective-historical 'fact'.

I love it! I think of Jim West when I read this.


James F. McGrath said...

I don't see how the overarching point - presumably that 'myth' and 'history' have changed places, although this scarcely seems to be true in any obvious sense, but perhaps the wider context makes it clearer, but I don't have my copy of Richardson here to hand - would impact Bultmann, who repudiated the Liberal attempt to peel off a shell of myth in the hope that a kernel of timeless truth would be exposed.

I recommend to anyone interested in Bultmann's theology reading it for oneself. Even if one finds much of his exegesis of John problematic, for instance, he still identifies correctly what is arguably the most crucial issue in Biblical interpretation and theology in relation to the Christian faith: If we agree that it cannot be necessary for a contemporary person to accept a first-century worldview in order to become a Christian, then how do we translate the message for today?

Geoff Hudson said...

There is another story underlying the NT. It was covered-up by lying Flavian historians.