Bultmann, Rudolf, 1884-1976

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1884-08-20
Death 1976-07-30
Germans
German

Biographical notes:

Rudolf Karl Bultmann (1884-1976) was a German dialectical theologian. Born in Germany in what was then the grand duchy of Oldenburg, he studied theology at the Universities of Tübingen, Berlin, and Marburg; at the latter he was influenced by systematic and liberal theologian Wilhelm Hermann and New Testament scholars Johannes Weiss and Wilhelm Heitmüller. He received his PhD from Marburg in 1910 and shortly thereafter began teaching, first at Breslau and then at Marburg where he was made a full professor and taught for thirty years. His colleagues there included Rudolph Otto, Martin Heidegger, Karl Barth and Friedrich Gogarten. His History of the Synoptic Tradition (1921) is still highly regarded as an essential tool for gospel research. Bultmann was a proponent of "form-criticism," an approach which attempted to discover historical roots of religious writings. Bultmann held that "[t]he aim of form-criticism is to determine the original form of a piece of narrative, a dominical saying or a parable. In the process we learn to distinguish secondary additions and forms, and these in turn lead to important results for the history of the tradition."

[Adapted from "Rudolf Karl Bultmann" in Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Modern Western Theology ]

From the guide to the Rudolf Karl Bultmann Papers, 1929-1965, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

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Subjects:

  • Religion and philosophy
  • Dialectical theology
  • Theology--20th century
  • Theologians

Occupations:

  • Theologians

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