Baker Academic

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Günther Bornkamm was fed up with theologians, poets, and no one questing for the historical Jesus—Chris Keith

I've had occasion to revisit some of Günther Bornkamm's work recently.  His Jesus von Nazareth first appeared in 1956 and was already in a second edition seven months later.  Like his contemporary and fellow Doktorsohn of Rudolf Bultmann, Ernst Kaesemann, Bornkamm was a little annoyed that form criticism's success in Gospels studies had led to a stagnation of historical Jesus work in Germany.  He was one of the architects of the so-called New Quest for the Historical Jesus in Germany.  (Yes, yes, I'm all too aware that this tripartite division of the quests doesn't reflect all the research of the period.) 

I thought I'd pass along the first words of Jesus von Nazareth because they made me laugh a bit:

"In recent years scholarly treatments of Jesus of Nazareth, his message and history, have become, at least in Germany, increasingly rare.  In their place there have appeared the numerous efforts of theologians turned poets and poets turned theologians" (Günther Bornkamm, Jesus of Nazareth [trans. Irene and Fraser McLuskey with James M. Robinson; New York: Harper & Row, 1960], 9).

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