Peer pressure

Every discipline has its authors/publications that are “must-reads.” There has been much chatter recently regarding Rudolf Bultmann, mostly from everyone’s favorite biblioblogging Bulmanniac Dr. Jim West. Others have also chimed in about his works, so must admit I am feeling a little bit of peer pressure to purchase Bultmann’s Theology of the New Testament. The question is, “Should I cave?” I was always taught not to give in to peer pressure!

Αυτω η δοξα,


15 thoughts on “Peer pressure

  1. I’d recommend buying a used copy of the original 2 volume work (in English unless you can read German). The reason I say this is because I’m a bit disappointed with the price I paid for the paperback reprint by Baylor University Press. It’s not the best kind of paperback there is and I feel a bit cheated.

  2. Nick: That’s something to consider, though I will usually opt for the most recent printing. However, I really dislike paperbacks, especially in longer works, so I may go for the original hc.

    Bryan: That’s always an option!

  3. I’ll say this, Bultmann is fun to read, but there’s not much to agree with. Re: the most recent printing — If it were updated then I’d say get the paperback, but it’s not, it’s just a plain old reprint. Same crappy old looking text like in all old books (it’s still legible of course). The only thing this has is an introduction by Robert Morgan that isn’t anything special.

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  5. Nick: That’s what I’ve always heard (at least from more conservative interpreters!). Being that the book is a simple reprint, the original hc sounds like the way to go. It’s a little higher on Amazon, so I may look elsewhere.

  6. I’ve read about Bultmann’s views on demythologizing the text in various hermeneutics books and honestly I get where he was coming from and some of it even made sense.

    Bryan L

  7. Bryan: Most of what I have heard/read has concerned his epistemology, but they also say there is no denying the impact he had on NT studies. So, for that I figure he’s worth reading, regardless of whether or not I may agree with his conclusions.

  8. If you buy the copy published by Baylor Press, yes, get it.

    My teacher, Charles Talbert, said Bultmann is valuable for asking the right questions. It’s the answers that are problematic. Well, that and the whole John and Paul as normative thing.

  9. John: Have a vested interest in Baylor, do we? 😉 I’ll probably end up buying a copy so that I can say “Yes, I’ve read Bultmann, and I think he’s _________…” when it comes up. I want to be in on the conversation!

  10. I don’t think you should care about the peer pressure, but Bultmann is excellent. He represents the high point of liberal Christianity, a completely rational and non miraculous Christianity which is worth paying attention to. Bultmann offers a way out of the dilemma of:

    a) believe utter nonsense

    b) discount Christianity as a pack of lies.

  11. CD: Thanks for your thoughts. The “peer pressure” bit was made mostly in jest. I mainly wanted to hear the thoughts of others on his work. Regardless, I will probably pick up his NT theology, just to familiarize myself more with his thought–my only readings of his works have come through analysis and commentary instead of straight from the horse’s mouth.

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