Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Martin Hengel on Rudolf Bultmann

The Tyndale Fellowship volume in memoriam of Prof. Martin Hengel will include some freshly translated essays of Hengel's work. Among one of the essays to be newly translated is "Eine junge theologische Disziplin in der Krise" by Dr. Wayne Coppins. Below is an excerpt from Coppins' translation.

Note what Hengel has to say about Bultmann and his influence in Germany in the 1960s which literally drove Hengel into NT studies:

"After I became Stiftsrepetent [i.e., a student instructor] in 1954, my colleagues at the instructors’ table (with the exception of my friend Otto Betz, who had already then recognized the significance of the Qumran texts) appeared to me to be “ drunk from the sweet wine from Marburg”. In hearing the new theses I could time and again only shake my head: a radical synoptic criticism on the basis of “form criticism,” an unmessianic Jesus of whom Paul knew hardly anything more than the “that of his having come,” the radical separation between “Palestinian” and “Hellenistic” community, earliest Christianity as “syncretistic religion” profoundly influenced by a pre-Christian Gnosis and oriental mysteries, Paul and John as opponents of Jewish apocalyptic and as the first “demythologizers,” Luke by contrast as a contemptible “early catholic,” and above all a fundamental devaluation of all “objectifying” historical knowledge and behind it all a latent Marcionism, for which the term “Biblical theology” was almost already a swearword. Although I, being fascinated by the early church and ancient history, had more of an inclination to devote myself to church history, I began, to a certain extent as a protest against these “new insights,” a New Testament dissertation, which dealt with Judaism as the birthing ground of Christianity (Die Zeloten [AGSU 1], Leiden 1961). It was the then so fashionable theses of R. Bultmann, which dominated the field but were questionable in my judgment, that brought me to the New Testament."


Phil said...

Interesting...thanks for posting it.

Frederik Mulder said...

Wow! Fantastic. Hengel reminds me of NT Wright in JVG on Bultmann: "The stories which looked like stories of the historical Jesus were mostly faith-statements about the risen Christ'read back into his lifetime, expressing therefore the current faith of the chruch rather than historical memory ... Form-criticism, the tool usually associated with Bultmann, was not, at its heart, designed to find out about Jesus" p22.

jstamps said...

Has anyone heard if Hengel's "Jesus und das Judentum" is being translated into English?

Thanks in advance.

Michael Barber said...

Great stuff! Thank you for this post. Hengel is sorely missed.

Chris Donato said...

It appears Hengel could turn on a light bulb without a shudder.