Tuesday, 4 October 2005

Angels and demons, Barth and Bultmann

I asked yesterday whether there is “a real spirit world.” Jim West adds a very nice summary of the differences between Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann on this question.

Personally, I would tend here (as elsewhere) to agree formally with Bultmann but materially with Barth. Formally, I think Bultmann is right: our task is not to reproduce the biblical writers’ apocalyptic worldview, but to interpret it. And materially, I think Barth’s theological interpretation of the demons has never been surpassed: the demons are personifications of the threatening, chaotic power of the Nothingness (das Nichtige).

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