Monday, 4 May 2009

Bultmann and Heidegger: new books

At the moment I’m reading the newly published correspondence between Bultmann and Heidegger: Rudolf Bultmann/Martin Heidegger: Briefwechsel 1925-1975, edited by A. Grossmann and C. Landmesser (Mohr Siebeck 2009). This is an extremely fascinating series of letters in a handsomely produced volume, complete with several photos and facsimile images, together with a foreword by Eberhard Jüngel. As Jüngel notes, the half-century friendship between Heidegger and Bultmann is all the more remarkable for the fact that each of them remains solely committed to his own intellectual domain (Heidegger spoke of the “deadly animosity” between faith and philosophy), rejecting any notion of a “Mixophilosophicotheologia”. (I’m not entirely sure you needed to learn that word – but there it is.)

It was the large-hearted Michael Lattke who gave me a copy of this book, so I’m very grateful to him – and be sure to keep an eye out for Michael’s massive Hermeneia commentary on The Odes of Solomon, which will be released next month. (Some decades ago, Lattke also compiled the index-volume to Bultmann’s great essay collection, Glauben und Verstehen: a true labour of love! And thanks to him, I also have in my own library the meticulously annotated volumes of Glauben und Verstehen which he used to produce the index: a beautiful and invaluable resource.)

If you’re interested in Bultmann, you’ll also certainly want to get your hands on the definitive new biography by Konrad Hammann (Mohr Siebeck 2009), as well as William Dennison’s English-language study, The Young Bultmann: Context for His Understanding of God, 1884-1925 (Peter Lang 2008). I haven’t yet read Dennison’s book – anyone familiar with it? And for a close analysis of the relation between Bultmann and Heidegger, you can also check out Otto Pöggeler’s new book, which sounds very interesting: Philosophie und hermeneutische Theologie: Heidegger, Bultmann und die Folgen (Fink 2009).

Finally, I leave you with a charming photo of Heidegger and Bultmann: two friends burdened together by the immense lonely labours of thought. (The photo is taken from the correspondence volume.)

Update: Kim’s right, we need a caption contest here. A prize for the best caption!


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