Baker Academic

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Was Bultmann's Impact Generally Positive or Negative?

As I was reminded by Joel Watts, it was Bultmann's birthday yesterday. I would therefore like to resurrect a poll that I tried to post a few months ago. Unfortunately we had some technology problems and the poll never worked. But judging from the emails that I got in response to this poll, others are interested to see the results. So let's try again.

Disclaimer: I realize that Bultmann's legacy cannot be reduced to a mere word. I have found, however, that Bultmann tends to be either revered or despised among theologically trained folks. Feel free not to vote if you think that this exercise is banal. Also feel free to comment below to qualify your answer.



  1. This is a silly question. Bultmann's questions and intentions have to be understood, not just judged by a poll. In my study time, 30 years ago, Bultmann was the "enemy" for all conservative students, and they condemned him without having read more than a few quotations. And although I disagree with his views in most exegetical questions (as documented in many of my publications on John, the HIstorical Jesus and NT Theology), I must say that he was a great systematic theologian (his exposition on Jhn 1:14 in his commentary is a brief manual of his whole theology of Divine revelation), with a focused and clear writing style we all can only learn from.
    For most recent discussion see the book "Beyond Bultmann" (ed. by B. W. Longenecker and M. C. Parsons), just appeared in Baylor university press, with thorough articles on the various aspects of Bultmanns NT Theology (by S. Byrskog, C.K. Rowe, R. B. Hays U. Schnelle, John Barclay, R. Bauckham J.D.G. Dunn, L. Hurtado, W. Meeks, A. Standhartinger, F. Watson and myself).

  2. Joerg, we hope to have a giveaway of the book on the blog. I don't think Anthony Le Donne or I would believe that a poll could replace genuine understanding and engagement. We would also both hold Bultmann in the highest regard. The poll is merely for curiosity because we noticed that Bultmann provokes such strong reactions.

  3. Anthony Le Donne, I feel honoured to see some corroboration between what Jorg Frey is saying here and what I said on FB before his response here .... :)