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No. 112Roman Theological Forum | Article Index | Study ProgramJuly 2004

MODERNISM IN THE DEMYTHOLOGIZING OF RUDOLF BULTMANN

by John F. McCarthy

1. In the previous article (see the two parts in Living Tradition, nos. 110 and 111) I raised the question whether Modernism is still active in the Catholic Church, and I noted that few in the Church today would fit the essential characteristics of Modernism, as it is described in the encyclical letter Pascendi Dominici gregis of Pope Pius X, but that there is an atmosphere of Modernism existing outside of the Church and of widespread radical pluralism and dissent within the Church which constitutes an ever-present danger in this regard. Unless they have built up a resistance, those who accept the theory of biological evolution are in danger of generalizing this idea to an ongoing evolution of all other things in a closed series of natural events and thus of losing their belief in the supernatural interventions of God that are recounted in Sacred Scripture and in the teaching of the Church. More generally, an excessive satisfaction with the thought of being "modern men" can lead Catholics to fall into the Great Temptation of denying any credibility at all to those who wrote supernatural accounts in ancient times or who believed those accounts in medieval times, so as to arrive finally at the point of denying any presence and activity of God in the real world of science and history, and thus to become Modernists, unless they have taken the proper means to resist this temptation, and I tried to point out in the prior article what some of these means of resisting may be. In sum, an uncritical belief in the so-called "universal laws of evolution" can bring a Catholic believer to consider even the dogmas and essential structures of the Church to be in a constant and perpetual state of evolution and change and to begin striving to bring the structures of the Church "up to date," by making what is fixed in Catholic tradition a mere point of departure for urgent changes to be made. The encyclical Pascendi singled out the historical-critical method as a complete product and vehicle of Modernism. I noted in the previous article that the historical-critical method is now esteemed by the Hierarchy of the Church and is not considered to be in itself necessarily a harmful procedure, but I also noted, among other things, that within the historical-critical method there remains a dangerous temptation to its adherents because of the weak response given by prelates and scholars to the Rationalism that stands behind it. It was remarked that the Modernism within the Catholic Church that is described and censured in the Encyclical Pascendi arose outside of the Church and continues to thrive there. As examples of prominent non-Catholic Modernists I mentioned in particular Hermann Gunkel and Rudolf Bultmann, the former being the founder of the form-criticism of the Old Testament and the latter being the most influential founder of the form-criticism of the New Testament. I gave there a short presentation of the Modernism inherent in the Old Testament exegesis of Hermann Gunkel, and the presentation here of the Modernism in the New Testament interpretation of Rudolf Bultmann is intended to show that this approach is still active in contemporary biblical discussion.

2. Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976) had a long and illustrious career as an Evangelical Protestant exegete, theologian, and minister. Two spectacular moments in his writing activity occurred when he published in 1921 his History of the Synoptic Tradition1, in which he was one of four German Protestant Scripture scholars to introduce the form-criticism of the New Testament, and in 1941 his essay on "The New Testament and Mythology,"2 in which he called for the "demythologizing" of the New Testament. This essay provoked a long and voluminous discussion among Protestant theologians which came to be known as the "demythologizing debate."3 The History of the Synoptic Tradition was an exegetical work in which Bultmann employed historical criticism seemingly to the almost total elimination of the historicity of the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, leaving as a residue not much more than that the man Jesus of Nazareth did exist, was indeed probably crucified, and did quite possibly enunciate a few identifiable sayings that are attributed to him in the Synoptic Gospels. In the program of demythologizing launched by Bultmann in 1941, he called upon Christian preachers to bring their preaching of the Gospel honestly into conformity with what they now knew from the results of historical criticism was not historically true in the Gospels and, therefore, to adjust their Christian appeal to a new existentialist theology. In this article I shall address the Modernism in the existentialist theology of Rudolf Bultmann and save the Rationalism in his historical-critical exegesis to another writing.

3. In the previous article (Living Tradition 110, no. 17), I distinguished Modernism in general from the specific form of Modernism described in the encyclical Pascendi as being active within the Catholic Church.4 I said that Modernism in its general sense is a state of mind in which the holder enjoys ongoing pleasure from the thought of being a modern person with knowledge superior to that of all earlier people because of the advances of modern physical science and technology. All Modernists feel this assurance. In his famous essay of 1941 on the need of preachers to "demythologize" the New Testament (hereafter referred to as NTM), Rudolf Bultmann based his claim on the ground that modern thought has been irrevocably reformed by modern science,5 and he thought that this was obvious to any informed person of today. Now, the encyclical Pascendi did not deny that modern physical science and technology are far more advanced than the physical science and technology of former times or that contemporary man should not be happy about that, but what it did imply is that unwary persons who do not have a formation in Scholastic philosophy tend to attribute certified knowledge only to the material sciences and to be ignorant of the certified knowledge and understanding that come from the philosophical and theological sciences (cf. LT 110, no. 13). In fact, the empirical sciences do not have a monopoly on certified knowledge, and the materialism that results from taking empirical science away from its context in the hierarchy of sciences blinds a Modernist to a fuller knowledge of the world and of the human situation

4. As the immediate cause of Modernism, Pascendi had ascribed "a perversion of the mind" (away from Catholic truth), and as the remote causes, "curiosity and pride."(cf. LT 110, no. 14). Bultmann, as a non-Catholic, never possessed the fullness of Catholic truth, but his turning away from the supernatural objects of Protestant belief was almost total. In his demythologizing program he maintained that modern man is liberated from mythical thinking and thus sees himself as a unity in his feeling, his thinking, and his willing, because of which he does not countenance the intervention of any outside powers, whether diabolical or divine, and, therefore, does not contemplate any interventions by God or by demons (NTM, p. 6). This attitude of being closed to any intervention by God has its origin in pride.

5. In the philosophy of Modernism singled out in Pascendi, faith is a feeling that arises from the subconscious in answer to a need for divine help (see LT 110, no. 3). For Bultmann, God is totally diverse from the world and from our "modern" conception of the world.6 On the other hand, mythology, he says, using a definition popularized by the History of Religions School, is "the use of imagery to express the other worldly in terms of this world and the divine in terms of human life, the other side in terms of this side." Thus, myth is "an expression of man’s conviction that the origin and purpose of the world in which he lives are to be sought not within but beyond it -–that is, beyond the realm of known and tangible reality – and that this realm is perpetually dominated and menaced by those mysterious powers which are its source and limit." So myth expresses man’s sense of dependence and man’s belief that he can be delivered from these forces within the visible world, but, nevertheless, the "real purpose" of myth is simply to speak of a "transcendent power" that controls the world and man, and, he adds, that purpose is "impeded and obscured" by the invalid imagery in which it is expressed in the Bible. Faith claims that the underlying "understanding of existence" in the purpose of myth is true, but faith should not be tied down to the invalid imagery in which that purpose is expressed in the New Testament mythology. Bultmann’s program of demythologizing has, he says, the negative purpose of criticizing the world-picture in the imagery of the New Testament and the positive purpose of bringing out the underlying intention of the mythology, which is "to express man’s understanding of himself in the world in which he lives" (NTM, pp. 10-11).

6. Bultmann describes in detail the New Testament "mythology" that in his estimation needs to be eliminated, including the three-storied world of heaven, earth, and hell, the supernatural activity on earth of God, good angels, and demons, the working of nature-miracles, diabolical temptations, heavenly visions, the power of the Spirit, the reign on earth of Satan, sin, and death, the event of Redemption by a God-man, and the future coming of Christ on the clouds of heaven. For Bultmann, "all this is the language of mythology," easily traceable to the contemporary Jewish Apocalyptic and the redemption myths of Gnosticism. He observes that "we no longer believe in the three-storied universe which the creeds take for granted," that "there is no longer any heaven in the traditional sense of the word," and "we can no longer look for the return of the Son of Man on the clouds of heaven," or "believe in spirits, whether good or evil," because "the forces and the laws of nature have been discovered (NTM, pp. 1-4)." This is how Bultmann sees the impact of empirical science on the biblical world-view, and it conforms to the world-view of the Modernist believer who "feels within him an impelling need so to harmonize faith and science that it may never oppose the general conception which science sets forth concerning the universe" (Pascendi no. 17, cf. LT 110, no. 7). Thus, Bultmann calls upon theologians of our era to serve their generation as the first disciples served theirs by making the Gospels more acceptable to a more sophisticated generation of believers and by continuing the work of composing the Gospels in accordance with modern ideas.

7. According to the Encyclical, the Modernist is a (Rationalist) philosopher, but he is also a believer who accepts that "the divine reality does exist in itself and quite independently of the person who believes in it," but he knows this only from his individual feeling and experience that "puts him in immediate contact with the reality of God" (Pascendi 14, cf. LT 110, no. 5). To address the question of the "divine reality," Bultmann speaks of two ways in which the word reality (Wirklichkeit) can be understood: a) in the common manner as the objectivizing representational reality of the world in which man finds himself; or b) as the reality of the historically existing man. To illustrate this Bultmann makes a fundamental distinction between two kinds of history: a) Historie: which is composed of causally connected events and relationships between facts which are objectively verifiable and chronologically determinable; and b) Geschichte: which is the existential constitution of the being which necessarily exists in history, das Dasein, in the sense that human being ultimately signifies to exist, to be confronted with non-being, to be able to be and ever to decide anew.7 For Bultmann, the difference between these two kinds of "historicity" is that, if a man, following the more common usage of the word, makes himself an object, he thereby reduces his ownmost reality to the reality of the world.8 But for Bultmann what is "reality"? The first species of this genus "reality," that is, objectivizing worldly reality, Bultmann calls Realität, or empirische Realität. For the other species he has no special name, but it appears to be the existence of the knowing self in human consciousness in all its uniqueness and singularity. But the knowing subject as such has no object, it has no meaning, it presents nothing for insight, and it does not make possible any new understanding. The knowing subject of consciousness does represent the entire subjectivity of the subject, but it cannot know any of its subjectivity unless it turns elements of its subjectivity into objects of knowledge.9 What, then, is this "faith" that "needs to be emancipated from its association with every world-view expressed in objective terms, whether it be a mythical or a scientific one," and which excludes "every myth which tries to make God and his acts visible"?10 It is a faith that is absolutely blank and empty, concentrated entirely upon the feeling of one’s own existence.

8. According to Bultmann, myth tries to express the other worldly in terms of this world, and the divine in terms of human life, the other side in terms of this side, whereas demythologizing realizes that we cannot say anything about what lies beyond the world or about God, because, in trying to do so, we objectify God and the other side into worldly phenomena of this side.11 We might ask, "the ‘other side’ of what"? It seems clear that the "other side" in Bultmann’s distinction is either the other side of reality, which is nothing more than fiction or illusion, or the other side of objectivity, which is nothing more than the subjective self of the believer. And here we see an example of how a Modernist can believe that God does really exist, but not independently of the person who believes in Him, because the reality of God is identical with the believing subject in his unique subjectivity, and, therefore, is also immanent in the believer (cf. Pascendi nos. 14 and 19; see LT 110, nos. 5 and 9 ).

9. Regarding the self-understanding that is the goal of Bultmann’s existentialist interpretation, he says: "I myself, my real self, am no more visible or ascertainable than (is) an act of God," and "faith, which speaks of its encounter with the acts of God, cannot defend itself against the charge of illusion," but "it by no means follows that God has no real existence apart from the believer or the act of believing," even though, "when the believer speaks of an act of God , he is ipso facto speaking of himself as well," provided that "human being is understood as "historic being," and faith is understood as "an existential encounter."12 This is the existential encounter proclaimed by Martin Heidegger in his Being and Time and adopted by Bultmann as the "right philosophy."13 According to the manner in which Bultmann expounds this highly subjectivistic philosophy, "real existence" is the existence of the historically existing man, "real history" becomes the field of human decisions, and "historicity" becomes the possibility of a man’s being either authentic or unauthentic according to the decisions that he makes. The existential "reality" of a man is his history, which always stands before him as something to be grasped at but never achieved. Thus the future is an essential element of the event, whose full meaning cannot be grasped in itself but only as the meaning of the moment of decision, which must be constantly repeated.14 Applied to faith, Bultmann says that God encounters us in the proclamation inaugurated with Jesus Christ, but this proclamation (kerygma) is not a word by virtue of the ideas it contains, is not a possession secured in knowledge, but is rather an address that encounters us over and over again. The kerygma "really" addresses me only on specific occasions, and it originates in the historical event of Jesus Christ. When a man just like myself speaks to me in the word of God, the word of God becomes incarnate in him. But the Incarnation is not a datable event of the past; rather, it is an eschatological event that is being continually re-enacted in the event of proclamation.15

10. Bultmann is correct in his claim that no interpretation can take place without the framing of specific questions, but he is incorrect in maintaining that the right philosophy for the framing of these questions is the existentialist philosophy of Martin Heidegger. By using the wrong philosophy of Heidegger, Bultmann has simply collapsed all of the objects of true faith into the emptiness of a knowing subject bereft of all objective thought. Any notion of the Christian God apart from the emptiness of the believing subject as such has been erased.16 Bultmann contends that we can speak of an act of God only to the extent that we are speaking of our own existence as encountered through the act of God.17 Equally erased are the existence of the Blessed Trinity of Persons in God, the Incarnation of Jesus, the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, the grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and every other object of Christian faith. The gravity of this attack becomes clear when we stop to realize that the act of Christian faith is an affirmation of the objective reality of the objects of faith in the sense that they are acknowledged to pertain to the one continuum of objective reality that is the real world. In other words, God infinitely transcends the nature of the created world, but He is in the one continuum in which the human mind places all really existing things. Bultmann has taken God and all of these things out of the one continuum of objective reality and created a second kind of subjective "reality" in which he places the "encounter with God," and this encounter is entirely fictitious, because it contains nothing real except the self-experience of the knowing subject as such. Bultmann does say that reality is one and that there is only one true proposition regarding a single phenomenon, but he hastens to add that reality has two aspects: an unauthentic (worldly) aspect in terms of what is "at man’s disposal" and an authentic aspect in terms of the existential future that is "not at man’s disposal."18 In this way he equivocates on the word "reality" by moving from the one continuum of objective reality to the so-called "reality of the historically existing man." Again, Bultmann allows the Christian confession that God is the Creator and Ruler of everything, not as a "universal truth," but as having a legitimate basis only in the understanding that a man has of himself.19 Bultmann admits that his idea of the "existential encounter" with God provides no security against the charge of illusion,20 and, regarding the "event of Jesus Christ," he admits as well that his claim that this "unique event in past history" is "the eschatological event" has no defense against the charge of being absurd.21 The conclusion to be drawn from these and other statements in the existential theology of Rudolf Bultmann is that his theological writings are a genre of religious fiction, and not a genre of true Christian theology.22 What is more, an existential "act of faith" by which a person negates the objective existence of God and of all the other objects of conventional Christian faith, while he simultaneously strives by constantly repeated acts of the will to achieve his own "authentic existence," is at bottom, as Pope Pius X pointed out regarding the Modernist, a perversion of the mind and a state of pride (cf. Pascendi 40; LT 110, no. 14).

11. The Catholic believer needs to react strongly against a threat of this kind, in which is implied the negation of everything that his faith stands for. The existential "self-understanding" of Bultmann destroys belief in the whole world-picture of Sacred Scripture, in all of the supernatural events recounted therein, in the presence of God as He has revealed Himself to be, in the divinity of Jesus Christ, in the Redemption of mankind, in the existence of Heaven and of Hell, in life after death, in sanctifying grace, in the seven sacraments, in the efficacy of prayer. In Bultmann’s interpretation there is no objectively existing God or Jesus Christ or Virgin Mary, or any saint to whom the believer might effectively pray, for that whole objective world has been deleted as mythological imagery. But it has been deleted only by fallacy, and that is why it is so important to be able to refute the premises and the conclusions of Bultmann’s program of demythologizing, especially to the extent that it may constitute an occasion to fall into the Great Temptation to deny the existence of God. Some answers were given to this false doctrine of demythologizing back in the mid-1900s, but much more remains to be done. Four false ideas underlying his unique conception of Christian faith are: a) a false world-view; b) a false notion of human existence; c) a false notion of history and historicity; and d) a colossal misinterpretation of the New Testament historicity, of which he himself was perhaps the principal misinterpreter.

12. The challenge in Bultmann’s view of the world. As the cosmological basis for his program of demythologizing of the New Testament, Rudolf Bultmann declares that the world-view presented in the New Testament is simply "the cosmology of a pre-scientific age," which modern man cannot accept because "man’s knowledge and mastery of the world have advanced to such an extent through science and technology that it is no longer possible for anyone seriously to hold the New Testament view of the world," for the reason that the world-view of modern man "is already determined for him by his place in history" (NTM, pp. 3-4). Of course, many scientists and technologists of today do accept the New Testament view of the world, but, for Bultmann, "they are not modern men." Actually, there is a long tradition of Christian apologetics in which the historicity of various elements in the New Testament, and especially in the Gospel accounts, has been fully reconciled with contemporary scientific and technological data, but all of this is completely ignored in Bultmann’s program of demythologizing.23

13. A false notion of human existence. Bultmann is right when he says that a proper set of terms is required today for correctly interpreting the Bible,24 but the terminology of existential analysis, with its total subjectivization of philosophical thought, does not provide these terms, because it is only in the mental framework of an objective medium of thought that true biblical interpretation can take place. Thus, in my view, Bultmann makes a fatal error where he observes that the terms "subjective" and "objective" should be eliminated from philosophical and theological discussion, or at least should not be used in their proper sense when there is discussion of historical matters.25 The correct terminology is available in Scholastic philosophy, and it is with the use of the Scholastic mental framework that all of Bultmann’s questions should be taken up and answered. Certainly the New Testament challenges the believer to make decisions regarding his own life and to accept the responsibility for his own being, but this is the moral impact of Sacred Scripture that is well interpreted by the moral sense of intra-biblical and neo-Patristic exegesis. Bultmann holds that an act of God cannot be posited apart from its existential reference, but, because the moral sense of Sacred Scripture is seen in neo-Patristic exegesis as but one sense in a fourfold objective framework, the acts of God are seen to be objective. Consequently, faith in the acts of God can and must defend itself against the charge of illusion.

14. The first step in an adequate response to the demythologizing of Rudolf Bultmann is to make fervent acts of faith in the objects of faith, and together with these acts of faith to make heartfelt acts of love for the real and objectively existing God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, that is, acts of love for God the Father, for God the Son incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, and for God the Holy Spirit. In fact, it is only through the grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit that anyone can correctly interpret and understand what is written in Sacred Scripture. And correct understanding does exist in an encounter with the grace of God as it impacts the heart and soul of the believer. The correct response calls for acts of love also for the real and objectively now living angels and saints in heaven and for acts of petition for their help in addressing the challenge to faith which is demythologizing. And it requires in brotherly love a firm resolve to help our fellow believers to learn and use the means needed to overcome the temptations contained in this appeal to the Christian believer to "demythologize" the truths of his religion. Prayer, of course, is essential for finding a proper response to this danger. Bultmann’s program of demythologizing is a series of human acts in which the believer denies the truth of what is depicted in Sacred Scripture while simultaneously reaching for his own "authentic existence," and these are acts of pride, because they are a placing of one’s own existence above the existence of God as He is presented in Sacred Scripture on the ground that the God of Sacred Scripture is non-existent. In other words, the program is saying: Don’t pray to God or to the saints, because there’s no one out there to hear you. And the answer of the Catholic believer to this advice is to say to the program: Your pride has shut you off from all access to prayer and to the grace of God. Perhaps many Catholics will not have much occasion directly to encounter this challenge to their faith, but they may often encounter it implicitly in the second-hand versions of some Catholic preachers and teachers, and, therefore, a vigorous response of prayer and zeal is essential.

15. A false notion of history and historicity. History does not actually unfold in a sequence of purely physical events totally unbroken by the activity of spiritual beings, as Bultmann claims (NTM, pp. 1-3).26 Even on the natural level it is clear to anyone trained in Scholastic philosophy that history is constantly guided and directed by often unpredictable acts of free human willing. And so an element in the demythologizing of Bultmann to be eliminated and overcome is the materialism which does not admit of spiritual forces active in the world, and the determinism that would refuse to recognize the free will of men. That physical, or empirical, science is only one branch of science subordinate to the sciences of philosophy and theology is also demonstrated in Scholastic philosophy. And so again the proper role of history and historicity in Bultmann’s program needs to be straightened out. To the extent that empirical science is only concerned with what can be experienced by the senses, spiritual substances and events are outside of its scope, and to the extent that empirical science aims only to deal with laws that can be recognized by the statistical frequency of events, nature miracles and other extraordinary events (such as acts of free human willing) are beyond its scope. But unique events are not beyond the scope of history, because the object of historical observation is whatever can be ascertained to have happened. The scientific historian does not try to predict what will happen according to some statistical law; rather he records whatever individual events did in fact happen. Hence, Bultmann’s idea that the possibility of miracles and of any other unique event worked by a spiritual force has been excluded by modern empirical science represents a failure to see the limitations of empirical science and the proper role of historical science in human knowledge and intellectual activity. In addition, the historical scientist determines facts by testimony more than by personal observation. Contemporary empirical science cannot rule out a priori the truth of singular past events that have been attested to by reliable witnesses, and this is what we have in the Sacred Scriptures.

16. A colossal misinterpretation of the historicity of the Gospel events. Twenty years before he published his program of demythologizing in 1941, Rudolf Bultmann had in 1921 published his History of the Synoptic Tradition, a classic work of scholarship by which he convinced himself and others that he had almost totally demolished the historicity of the Synoptic Gospels. Various Protestant writers took issue with his conclusions as best they could, and, in a general way, some traditional Catholic theologians and exegetes as well, but Catholic historical critics as a whole did not rise to the challenge. In fact, except for occasional scattered criticisms of his conclusions here and there, Catholic historical critics were silent about the book, as though they were overawed by its seeming erudition. As a result, for more than eighty years now there has not been much effective help from Catholic historical critics in exposing the mountain of fallacies and unfactual statements that comprise the book, and, in fact, as time has gone on, Catholic historical critics have adopted more and more of Bultmann’s conclusions as their own. And this is one of the principal reasons for the great confusion about the historical truth of the Scriptures that exists in the Church today among the laity, the clergy, and even among the bishops.

17. Some Catholic theologians and Scripture scholars have the impression that the demythologizing of Rudolf Bultmann is no longer a pressing problem for Catholic consideration, but others have good reason to believe that this frontal attack on the objects of Catholic faith has never been adequately refuted, and that, as a result, the ideas underlying and contained in this program remain in the background and have crept more and more into the thought and discourse of Catholics. The answer to this state of confusion is to refute the claims of Bultmann and other Rationalists of the historical-critical school in their own field and then, not only to correct the false ideas among Catholics that are derived from a naive acceptance of these claims, but also to show the true meanings of the sacred text that will be brought out in a neo-Patristic framework of interpretation. It is incumbent upon Catholic scholars to take up this challenge, and the work will be rewarding, not only because it will safeguard the traditional outlook of Catholic faith, but also because it will produce new insights into the Scriptures. Bultmann and other scholars like him have incorrectly used principles of historical method that had never been fully developed by Scholastic philosophers and historians. The time has now come and is overdue to complete the development of Scholastic philosophy regarding the theory of history and then to use the resulting principles to refute the arguments of the demythologizers. Some study in the forming of a general framework of response has already been done by many Catholic writers of short articles and by some writers of longer studies, such as those of Giuseppe Ricciotti, Leopold Malevez and Heinrich Fries, Anton Vögtle and Ugo Lattanzi.27 But these studies need to be enhanced and organized into a more complete approach, and a systematic line-by-line-of-the-Scriptures refutation of the form-critical interpretations of Bultmann and his followers still remains to be done. The task is urgent.


Endnotes

1. R. Bultmann, Die Geschichte der synoptischen Tradition (8th ed., Göttingen, 1970); Eng. trans. by J. Marsh: The History of the Synoptic Tradition (Oxford: Blackwell, 1963).

2. R. Bultmann, "Neues Testament und Mythologie," in Offenbarung und Heilsgeschehen: Beiträge zur evangelischen Theologie, VII/2 (Munich, 1941). Eng. trans.: "New Testament and Mythology," (NTM) in Kerygma and Myth: A Theological Debate (KaM) vol. I, trans. by R.H. Fuller (London, 1953), hereinafter referred to as NTM and KaM).

3. For an ample bibliography of the works of Rudolf Bultmann and of the demythologizing debate, see J.F. McCarthy, The Science of Historical Theology (2nd printing, Rockford: TAN Books and Publishers, 1991), pp. 1-2.

4. Pope Pius X, Pascendi Dominici gregis, Sept. 8, 1907, in Claudia Carlen, ed., The Papal Encyclicals, vol. 3, pp. 71-98.

5. "Manís knowledge and mastery of the world have advanced to such an extent through science and technology that it is no longer possible for anyone seriously to hold the New Testament view of the world Ė in fact, there is no one who does," Bultmann, in NTM, p. 4.

6. Cf. R. Bultmann, History and Eschatology (New York: Harper and Row, 1957), p. 96.

7. Cf. Bultmann, in Kerygma und Mythos, vol. II, p. 193; A. Vögtle, "Rivelazione e mito," in Problemi e orientamenti di teologia dommatica (Milan: Marzorati, 1957), p. 839. The distinction between Historie and Geschichte has been in use in German theology since about the 1890s. The word Historie is commonly taken to mean "the causal nexus in the affairs of men," while Geschichte is used as something like "the mutual encounter of persons" also in their milieu of presuppositions and prejudices and therefore involving decisions (cf. Julius Schniewind, "A Reply to Bultmann," in KaM I, p. 82).

8. R. Bultmann, in Kerygma und Mythos (Hamburg: Evangelischer Verlag), vol. VI-1 (1963), pp. 20-21.

9. For further discussion of this question of "reality" in the demythologizing of Rudolf Bultmann, see J.F. McCarthy, The Science of Historical Theology, pp. 106-107.

10. "The invisibility of God excludes every myth which tries to make him and his acts visible. Because of this, however, it also excludes every conception of invisibility and mystery which is formulated in terms of objective thought. God withdraws himself from the objective view: he can only be believed upon in defiance of all outward appearance, just as the justification of the sinner can only be believed upon in defiance of the accusations of the conscience" (Bultmann, in KaM, vol. I, p. 210).

11. Bultmann, in Kerygma und Mythos, vol. II (1952), p. 184.

12. Bultmann, in KaM, vol. I, pp. 199-200.

13. M. Heidegger, Being and Time, translated from the 7th German edition of Sein und Zeit, (London: SCM Press, 1962).

14. Cf. Bultmann, in Kerygma und Mythos, vol. VI-1, pp. 21-22.

15. Cf. Bultmann, in KaM, vol. I, p. 209.

16. "The real skandalon of faith in God vis-à-vis modern technology can become clear only when we have abandoned the false view of God which that technology has exploded" (Bultmann, in KaM, vol. I, p. 120.

17. Bultmann, in Kerygma und Mythos, vol. VI-1, p. 25.

18. Bultmann, in Kerygma und Mythos, vol. VI-1, pp. 22-23.

19. Bultmann, in Kerygma und Mythos, vol. VI-1, pp. 25-26.

20. R. Bultmann, Jesus Christ and Mythology (New York: Charles Scribnerís Sons, 1958), pp. 39-41, 71.

21. Bultmann, in KaM, vol. I, p. 118.

22. See McCarthy, The Science of Historical Theology, pp. 112-113, and Appendix I/B (pp. 155-164), entitled "A Tentative Characterization of the Genre of Bultmannís Theological Writing."

23. A good example of a defense of the objective truth and reality of the objects of Catholic faith is the new and revised 2001 edition of Archbishop Michael Sheehan's Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine (Saint Austin Press, 296 Brockley Road, London SE4 2RA, or books@saintaustin.org and www.saintaustin.org.

24. Bultmann, in KaM, vol. I, pp. 191-192.

25. Cf. R. Bultmann, "The Christological Confession of the World Council of Churches," in his Essays Philosophical and Theological (London, 1955), p. 287.

26. Bultmann, NTM, in KaM vol. I, pp. 1-3.

27. See Giuseppe Ricciotti, The Life of Christ, English trans. by Alba Zizzamia (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1947), especially the "Critical Introduction," pp. 3-216. For Leopold Malevez and Heinrich Fries, René Marlé, Anton Vögtle, and Ugo Lattanzi, see Living Tradition, nos.80 and 83 (1999).


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