The name ‘Bultmann’ is a difficult pill to swallow, especially for those with conservative evangelical convictions. Sometimes, I find it helpful to revisit his thoughts and approaches, not necessarily to salvage any worthy pieces of truth, but to see how his approach has evolved over time from 1951, and see how modern day scholarship has been affected. Two quick sketches of Bultmann’s ideas, and I’ll call it a day.

On historical criticism. Two questions Bultmann asks:

  1. What does the text tell me about the past?
  2. What understanding of existence does it offer as a possibility for my existence? (Language about God, to be authentic, must also be language about human existence.)

On demythologizing.

  1. Defining myth: speaking of the divine in human terms, the transcendent in terms of the finite.
  2. Purpose of myth: not to give factual description of the universe as it is, but rather to offer a certain understanding of human existence.
  3. Demythologizing has two moments: negative, acknowledging that the mythological motifs are not literally true; positive, recovering the myth’s original understanding of existence and interpret it for relevant contextualization.
  4. Motivation for demythologizing: to make the NT more acceptable. (Sort of sounds like Räisänen?)

Source: Dan Via, What is New Testament Theology?

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