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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Wright, Bultmann, History

On Primal Subversion, Faith and Theology, and other blogs that old debate on Wright v Bultmann has re-emerged. Now call me miserable and disagreeable (tell me something I don't know) but when it comes to history I just don't get it. As I've said, I cannot comment on the theological and philosophical issues particularly well but what kinds of contrinutions have they made to history. Both, in their own particular ways, have contributed to a shift away from social and economic history amng certain areas of scholarship and both massively over-emphasise history of ideas. Let's take a secular or humanities perspective for instance: would their views on history and the reasons why a new religion eventually emerged not look very weird? My guess is that I'm partially missing the point here because it is a theological debate and when the word history gets used it is more in whose theology is right. For what it is worth, it just doesn't seem like the kind of history I was taught as a student.

So it's neither for me...

10 Comments:

Blogger Jim said...

Howdy James- you are correct in that the debate about Bultmann and Wright is theological in nature and not so much historical. I'm a bit surprised that you don't love the old man of Marburg, but that's ok- since I'm not really a fan of football much. ;-)

December 13, 2005

 
Anonymous steph said...

Jim - you mean you've just been teasing? That's just wicked!

December 13, 2005

 
Blogger Loren Rosson III said...

James -- if you're miserable and disagreeable, that makes two of us. Bultmann and Wright leave me cold. In the history of ideas, they are giants, but their lasting value for historical purposes is minimal. Their continuing value for theology may be a different matter, however.

December 13, 2005

 
Anonymous steph said...

Three

December 14, 2005

 
Blogger Ben Myers said...

"... because it is a theological debate."

Actually, I don't think it originated as a theological debate -- it was more just a personal joke, since Mike knows how much I like Bultmann, and I know how much he dislikes Bultmann.

I especially like to shake my head at Mike, since he is himself a very prodigal fifth-generation Bultmannian (his doctoral supervisor had been supervised by Michael Lattke, who was supervised by Käsemann...).

December 14, 2005

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

I can't say I have that much love there Jim. Sorry! I think Bultmann's reconstruction of history (what actually happened as it were) he is very weak. But theologically I can see why he has a major point and viewing history from his theological perspective seems the more fruitful way of giving him positive praise. Do you see what I mean?

Loren and Steph: hurray I'm not alone!!

Ben, I think this is still a bit of a debate among Bultmann fans and Wright fans in the discipline personified by you and Michael Bird. Is that fair? Another question (sorry): do you think their positive points are better analysed as theologicans rather than as historians?

Let me also shake my head at Mike: he needs to be kept in line once in a while.

December 14, 2005

 
Blogger Jim said...

James, yes- Bultmann is a theologian first and a historian second. No question about that. I recall, as an aside, that when I was in Seminary even then I was something of a Bultmannian. One of my neighbors was a rabid fundamentalist who hated the man even though he never read a line he wrote. My wife kept their little daughter rather frequently and it was my privilege to teach the little sweetie her first word. Bultmann.

The look on her fathers face when he came one day to pick her up was, well, pricesless, to say the least.

;-)

Wicked Steph? Oh Yes!

December 14, 2005

 
Anonymous Christopher Shell said...

I think their contribution is more to the *theory* of history and just how history is interrelated with theology. Any contributions to history tout simple are a separate matter, and neither would claim to be experts on many of the various dimensions of history.

December 14, 2005

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

Maybe not, but I get the impression that some of Wright's followers offers something new to history without theology mention (assumed perhaps?). And if claims are made about the historical origins of Christianity and how it emerged then should a fair bit of reading outide history of ideas be useful for such scholars?

December 14, 2005

 
Anonymous steph said...

and Jim, if you're still listening, apart from the fact that you both have your hands in your pockets and you're both uniquely wicked .... no!!!!!

December 15, 2005

 

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