Re: Response to Howard on Tillich & Bultmann

From: george murphy (gmurphy@raex.com)
Date: Tue May 20 2003 - 22:19:54 EDT

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    Burgy wrote:

    > Howard asked: "Interesting comment. Could you elaborate on that a bit? In your judgment, what was/is the character of the misunderstanding of science that "liberals" manifest?"
    >
    > I like George's answer, but mine is a little bit different. As I read Bultmann, he seems to have been so awed by the success of modern science that he decided that the resurrection and other biblical miracles had been quite thouroughly disproven. For him, it is the story (symbol) of the resurrection which works within us to transform us. When I read him, I conclude that while he was misled about science, he was none the less a Christian, converted by the power of the myth-story.

    In defence (sort of) of Rudolph:

        Bultmann didn't so much reject belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus as say that it was irrelevant for theology. In response to a question about whether or not he believed that the tomb of Jesus was empty he's supposed to have replied, "That is a question of archaeology, and I am not an archaeologist."
        I don't at all think that adequate understandings of creation & salvation are possible if one doesn't take the bodily resurrection of Jesus seriously (with, of course, due regard for care in what one means by "bodily"). But there's a positive dimension of Bultmann's theology which many critics - & especially non-Lutheran ones - miss entirely.
         Bultmann says "Christ meets us in the preaching as one crucified and risen. He meets us in the word of preaching and nowhere else." This is sometimes summarized in the statement that "Jesus is risen into the kerygma." While the limitation of the resurrection to proclamation can be criticized, it's crucial to recognize that Bultmann's statement is correct as far as it goes & is very important. We are not going to see Jesus as Mary Magdalene, Peter &c did. Where the risen Christ encounters us _is_ in the proclamation of Christ (in which I would include the sacraments as
    "visible words" as well as preaching.) I think that's one implication of the shorter (& probably original) ending of Mark. Jesus is risen but nobody sees him - which is just our situation. Where Christ meets the women at the tomb is in the kerygma, "You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen, he is not here."

                                                                                            Shalom,
                                                                                            George



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