Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Barth and Bultmann on St Paul

There’s some interesting work being done these days on the relation between Barth and Bultmann (including David’s dissertation, which I think has great promise). The latest issue of the Barth-studies journal, the Zeitschrift für dialektische Theologie, includes an article on the dispute between Barth and Bultmann over the correct exegesis of Romans 5 – whether Paul’s theme is “Christ and Adam” (Barth) or “Adam and Christ” (Bultmann): Christof Landmesser, “Christus und Adam oder Adam und Christus: Anmerkungen zur Auseinandersetzung zwischen Karl Barth und Rudolf Bultmann im Anschluss an Röm 5,” ZDTh 23:2 (2007), 153-71.

Incidentally, this entire issue of ZDTh is devoted to Barth’s Römerbrief, so there’s some good stuff here, including articles by Georg Pfleiderer and Christian Link. The latter opens his article with the excellent statement (p. 135): “Evangelical theology is from its first beginnings a theology of the letter to the Romans. From this epistle it grew, and from this epistle it has renewed itself.”

5 Comments:

Lilith said...

“Evangelical theology is from its first beginnings a theology of the letter to the Romans. From this epistle it grew, and from this epistle it has renewed itself.”

That's interesting, because the Roman Church was already well established when Paul wrote his letter, such that he praised them in 1:8 thus, "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." It would seem that Paul was slightly in awe of the evangelical drive of the Church at Rome, and his epistle was an exposition of his intellectual gifts, as he styled himself the Apostle to the Gentiles and he sought to establish some sort of working relationship with them. Naturally the Holy Spirit was working within these motives to create Scripture.

Ben Myers said...

Hi Lilith. Thanks, that's a good point. The German for "evangelical" here simply means "Protestant" (and I probably shouldn't have translated it as "evangelical", since I can see that it's a bit confusing!).

Anonymous said...

Can you spell out the theme a little more? Is Landmesser's basic observation that Barth sees Paul patterning Christ as the true Adam (as in CD III and IV), and Bultmann sees Paul patterning Christ after Adam? What's at stake for B. and B.?

I could pick up Zeitschrift for myself, but my German is feeling a wee bit hungover today.

Shane said...

I'd put $20 down that there is at least one sentence of the following form:

". . . and so we see that it is not Christ and Adam, but Christ and Adam . . ."

D.W. Congdon said...

Thanks for the support of my project. I hope it lives up to its potential. My contribution to the upcoming Barth Blog Conference is an initial attempt to think through the Barth-Bultmann debate.

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