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DUQUESNE STUDIES
Theological Series, 8

BULTMANN-BARTH AND CATHOLIC THEOLOGY
HEINRICH FRIES

TRANSLATION AND INTRODUCTION LEONARD SWIDLER

DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY PRESS PITTSBURGH, PA.

DUQUESNE STUDIES
Theological Series
Henry J. Koren, C.S.Sp., S.T.D., Editor

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Volume One-Albert Dondeyne, FAITH AND THE WORLD. xi and 324 pages. Second impression. $5.00. Volume Two-Peter Schoonenberg, S.J., GOD’S WORLD IN THE MAKING. ix and 207 pages. Second impression. $3.95. Volume Three-Leonard J. Swidler, editor, SCRIPTURE IN ECUMENISM. vii and 197 pages. $4.95. Volume Four-William H. van de Pol , ANGLICANISM IN ECUMENICAL PERSPECTIVE. v and 293 pages. $6.75. Volume Five-John H. Walgrave, O.P., PERSON AND SOCIETY. 182 pages. $4.25. Volume Six-Bertrand van Bilsen, O.F.M., THE CHANGING CHURCH. 433 pages. $7.95. Volume Seven-John Heijke, C.S.Sp., AN ECUMENICAL LIGHT ON THE RENEWAL OF RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY LIFE. TAIZE. 212 pages. Second impression. $4.50. Volume Eight-Heinrich Fries, BULTMANN-BARTH AND CATHOLIC THEOLOGY. Translated by Leonard Swidler. 182 pages. $4.50. Nihil Obstat Very Rev. Donald W. Kraus, Ph.D. Imprimatur * Most Rev. Vincent M. Leonard, D.D. Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh February 27, 1967

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 67-15784 © 1967 by Leonard Swidler Printed in the United States of America

Contents
Introduction Preface Foreword I II III IV The Things Held in Common The Differences The Theology of Demythologization Karl Barth and the Theology of the Demythologization 7 19 25 27 54 90 108

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V

Karl Barth-Rudolf Bultmann and Catholic Theology Conclusion

140 181

Introduction
Throughout the nineteenth century and for much of the twentieth most Roman Catholic theology was forced by anxious and fearful authorities to retreat into the ghetto. The forces of rationalism, of the newly developed historical-critical method, the theory of evolution, the new discipline of psychology, and science in general were most often fought off from behind medieval and baroque intellectual barricades. Until recently Catholicism remained relatively untainted-and unstimulated-by these forces. Protestantism, however, having no such all-encompassing defenses as did Rome, was very profoundly affected by these new forces. The most prominent result of this influence was the development of the so-called “liberal theology,” which applied reason and the new intellectual tools most vigorously to theological problems, and its parallel phenomenon in the area of scripture studies, the “higher criticism,” which dramatically pursued the quest for the historical Jesus. But World War I precipitated a tremendous cultural crisis. Western man felt deceived and disillusioned with nineteenth-century optimism, with its cult of progress and scientism. The Great War was an unexpected disaster of the first magnitude. In the religious and theological sphere also the answers seemed too pat, too simple and “natural.” In this rebellion the way was led by the young Swiss Reformed scholar, Karl Barth. One of his fellow rebels who, however, did not really come into his own until the time of the second World War-was the German Lutheran theologian, Rudolf Bultmann. Both were trained in liberal theology, both acknowledged their debts to it, both reacted against it. About the same time a similar ending of an era was taking place in scripture studies; in his book The Quest for the Historical Jesus Albert Schweitzer declared the search for the historical Jesus bankrupt. New Testament scholars began to realize that the gospels were not written with the intentions and manner of a historian or newspaper reporter who wished primarily to relate events as he or other eye-witnesses experienced them. It became apparent that the gospels were the preaching or proclamation (kerygma in Greek) by the apostolic church of the “good news’‘ of God’s action in Jesus Christ. The evangelists were not interested in giving a critical biography of Jesus or even a carefully accurate chronicle of Jesus’ public life. It is in this area of New Testament studies that Bultmann has had his revolutionary influence. It is true that Bultmann’s research in the New Testament has led him to the kerygmatic quality of the gospels so strongly that the proclamation of the “good news” was almost loosed from its historical basis-he does state that Jesus did historically exist, but he pays so little attention to this aspect of the gospels that it de facto almost entirely disappears from sight in his writings. Therefore it is here that Catholic tradition, along with Karl Barth and others, while fully accepting and emphasizing the gospels as being primarily kerygma, has insisted that they are kerygma, a proclamation, of the person and work of Christ. Nevertheless, it must be recognized that the basic motivation behind Bultmann’s work is what should be the perennial concern of theology: the translation of the New Testament message into a language that will speak to contemporary man. Bultmann’s program for this translation contains two major elements. One is demythologization and the’ other is existential interpretation. (The name for the first element is not only barbaric, but is also misleading-by Bultmann’s own admission.) Bultmann points out that the man of the New Testament era was quite accustomed to myths. They were part of his everyday experience and he had no difficulty in accepting and understanding them. This, he says, is no longer true of modern man. He is used to a realistic, scientific language and so when he finds impossible things in biblical accounts he tends to reject the Bible as untrustworthy, or at least he does not grasp the religious truth the biblical account was attempting to communicate. Therefore, for the sake of

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evangelizing modern man, Bultmann has attempted to distill the truth out of the Bible and state it in modern language. The term demythologization indicates the elimination of mythological language, but it unfortunately does not transmit the other essential factor: the translation into the modern idiom. To many Catholics, and conservative Christians in general, Bultmann’s demythologization will look just like a continuation of the old liberal theology, that is, an attempt to subject the Bible to searching criticism so as to give a rational, natural explanation for everything in it. This critique of Bultmann from the right, however, is superficial when it equates Bultmann and liberal theology. Liberal theology often looked upon Christianity as essentially an ethical code, and did its best to eliminate any “supernatural” aspect. It saw the Bible almost solely as human books which told us of the Christian way to live. But for Bultmann the Bible, the proclamation of the Gospel, the kerygma, is the means God uses to intervene directly in the life of man at every moment of history. Bultmann may not like the term “supernatural,” but the concept of God’s daily direct intervention in human history through the biblical kerygma can hardly be called “natural.” In fact, it is just Bultmann’s persistent refusal to “dekerygmatize” the Bible that has brought him strong criticism from the left, from those who would completely “humanize” the Gospel, from philosophers like Karl Jaspers. Bultmann’s demythologizing empties many Christian doctrines of their usual meaning (for example, all miracles evaporate under Bultmann’s scrutiny) and as a consequence, to an orthodox theologian he looks like the exponent of a liberal and philosophically oriented theology. But because he insists on a special and unique revelation by the saving act of God in Christ which is constantly transmitted through the instrumentality of the preaching of the Gospel, to the philosopher he looks “like just another orthodox theologian, whose orthodoxy may admittedly be veiled but is none the less rigid and illiberal. In spite of his claim to be free from myth and dogma, and in spite of his enthusiasm for the philosophy of existence, Bultmann in the philosopher’s eyes falls into the same condemnation as Barth and all the others.”1 It should be granted, however, that there is some validity to the accusation that Bultmann is just continuing the attitudes and work of nineteenth-century liberal theology. Bultmann’s understanding of the scientific view of the universe is the naive, uncritical view of nineteenth-century scientism. Whereas he is extremely probing in his analysis of the world view prevalent in the apostolic age, he accepts with complete faith the late nineteenth-century view of the world. One of his most perceptive and sympathetic interpreters refers to this as a “hang-over of liberal modernism.”2 Bultmann has decided ahead of time that modern man in the scientific age cannot believe in miracles and hence refuses even to consider the historical evidence available and then decide on the basis of that. This is most dramatically the case with the resurrection, which, on the basis of this theory, he assumes could not have been an objective event that once happened, but must be a myth. The dismantling of the myths is only one part of Bultmann’s demythologization program, the negative part. (just how much mythological speaking can legitimately be eliminated from the New Testament is a highly controverted question.) On the positive side, Bultmann calls for a translation of the religious truths encased in the New Testament myths into a language understood by modern man. He feels that the philosophical view and categories developed by the “existentialist” thinker Martin Heidegger speak to contemporary Western Man. Moreover, he believes that Heidegger’s analysis of human existence, of Dasein, almost perfectly parallels the Bible’s understanding of man and hence provides a very effective instrument for plumbing the depths of God’s message to man. Hence it would be useful briefly to survey a very few of the ways Bultmann applies Heidegger’s thinking to the New Testament. Heidegger states that when man reflects upon his own individual human existence he experiences a self-disclosure of his being which shows him that he has a certain freedom and hence a certain responsibility for his own existence being what it is. (Human existence, Dasein, is different from all other existence, Sein, in that it is self-conscious, it is a subject, not an object. Therefore, it stands apart from the “world.”)

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In the face of this disclosure man often flees from his authentic existence, which would entail knowingly accepting this freedom and responsibility; the mood of this fleeing Heidegger calls anxiety (Angst). Anxiety discloses to man that he is not at home (nicht zu Hause) in the world. Hence, some theologians3 argue that although Heidegger does not say so, his existential analytic of anxiety brings us to the threshold of religion. As alternative to an inauthentic existence of surrender to and losing oneself in the “world,” in becoming just another object in the world instead of standing apart and being a subject who knowingly grasps his freedom and responsibility, there is the recourse to the ground of being, the creator of man and the world. Heidegger does have an answer to the question of what is man’s authentic existence in the face of the disclosure of anxiety. For Heidegger the answer is to be found in death, for in looking into his own being man sees that one of his possibilities is death. In fact, it is a possibility he cannot interminably avoid. Instead of fleeing this possibility of death, man should face it and even accept it as his preeminent possibility so that it overrides all other concerns. “He is to live in the anticipation of his own death. To anticipate death, we are told, means neither to commit suicide nor to brood over death, but to make death the unifying factor in my existence, to relate all my possibilities to this one capital possibility. In other words, it is to see and accept the nothingness of my existence.”4 This acceptance of course will deliver man from concern with all illusory transitory things; it deflates the inflated value worldly things have in the life of the man who attempts to drown out his anxiety by flinging himself into the, “world” of things. But it also devaluates all existence-including human existence. It is a doctrine of heroic despair. While being able to agree with Heidegger in the analysis of man’s anxiety and the inauthenticity of fleeing into earthly illusions, the Christian will not be able to accept his alternative of wide-eyed despair. The Christian further believes that God speaks and shows himself to man in Christ so that there is set before man a possibility of authentic existence which not only avoids the illusions of worldly existence, but even “death is swallowed up in victory” (I Cor. 15:54). Another theologically important concept analyzed by Heidegger is “fallenness.” Fallenness is a basic possibility of inauthentic existence for man, according to Heidegger. It has two aspects: the falling into the world of things, being content to be concerned only with objects; the falling into collectivism, whereby the individual man becomes part of the grey, depersonalized mass-he “follows the crowd,” he need not think or decide for himself. Heidegger says that fallen man is fallen away from himself; he has lost the ability to be his authentic self, which is now lost and scattered in the “world” of things and the mass. We must, however, avoid thinking that Heidegger is giving some sort of ethico-religious picture of the general state of man, as is found in Christian tradition. He is merely stating that in analyzing the ontological structure of man’s existence he sees that fallenness is a possibility for man; he makes no statement about the de facto condition of man in this regard.5 But, the possible relationship between Heidegger’s thinking here and the theological concept of fallenness is apparent: Heidegger shows philosophically that such a state of fallenness is possible for man, and Christian theology claims that it is his actual status when he is without grace. Bultmann very explicitly works out his theological understanding of the biblical notion of fallenness with the help of Heidegger’s philosophical analysis. “Evil is a falling away of man from himself, a mistaken orientation of himself away from his authentic being. But this is at the same time sin, rebellion against God, who as Creator gave to man his being. To attain or to lose his authentic being is equivalent on man’s part to recognizing or denying God as his creator. To deny the Creator means, however, to turn to the creation. Man lives for and from the world. Man is thus fallen away from the authentic being that God has given him into the world, in concern with which he seeks to Eve by his own power without God. This is the essence of sin.”6 But grace gives man the possibility of attaining his true being. For Bultmann the work of God in Christ, that is, the grace of God given through Christ, is man’s only way to authenticity, to salvation.

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Critics on the right should not forget this vital element they have in common with Bultmann. (Karl Barth, for example, does not forget it.) Bultmann therefore says that through the grace of Jesus Christ “salvation is nothing else than the fulfillment of man’s authentic intention to life, to his true self, which had been perverted by sin.”7 Many criticisms can be and have been leveled against the way Bultmann has used Heidegger’s thought in the existential interpretation aspect of his demythologization program. Karl Barth, among others, has very carefully reduced his critique to print. It would be helpful briefly to review a few such criticisms. At times Bultmann writes as if all Christian doctrines spoke only about the possibilities of human existence, as if theology were limited to anthropology. But as a student of Heidegger he should, and does, know that man as a being which not only exists but also has some understanding of his own being can illuminate that self-understanding only in the light of an understanding of being as a whole. As a Christian theologian Bultmann realizes that Christian doctrine has a double function: the describing of a way of fife, an authentic existence for man, and the illuminating of the mystery of Being “in whom we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). But Bultmann is often obscure about the second function. His existential interpretation of the Bible must at least be supplemented by an ontological interpretation. Bultmann has also been charged with posing a falsely opposed set of alternatives: essence or existence, report or kerygma, objectivity or subjectivity, in itself or for me. One might argue that Bultmann’s posing of either-or, and “not this-but rather” is not an authentic opposition. As professor Fries states, “For the poles on which Bultmann builds his dualism do not exclude each other, but rather mutually limit each other; they live from each other and mutually call each other forth. Where an exclusiveness in the strict sense is posited and carried through, then that very thing which Bultmann and his existential theology is and has been concerned with is called into question and made impossible, namely, existence. One is tempted in this connection to paraphrase a scriptural statement: Whoever wishes to gain his existence will lose it.” Another, and perhaps in some ways the most serious, accusation made against Bultmann is that his theology is far too individualistic, that it does not adequately provide for community in the life of man, for the Church in the life of the Christian. In this regard he exhibits another “hang-over” from the nineteenthcentury and proves himself a too uncritical disciple of the existentialist philosophy of Martin Heidegger. Heidegger emphasized the depersonalizing force of mass society-and rightly so. He counters it in his philosophy with the notion of man as a being-in-the-world and also always as a being-with-others. Thus he wrote in his magnum opus of the 1920's Sein und Zeit. Heidegger himself retired to the Black Forest to escape mass society, but he left undeveloped his concept of man as an authentic being-with-others. It was into this vacuum of authentic community created by industrialization that the totalitarianism of communism, Nazism, etc. moved, as well as less violent, but no less destructive of authentic community, forms of societal patterns as exemplified by Babbitt, the “booboisie,” the organization man, etc. To be an authentic being-with-others, man must be a being-for-others, to paraphrase Bonhoeffer. But this is normally possible for man only in an authentic community-which is something more than a clump of atomized individuals. Heidegger did not adequately provide for this; the post-romantic nineteenth century did not adequately provide for it; neither does Bultmann. Despite these and other criticisms that must be raised against the work of Bultmann, we must constantly keep in mind that the basic motivation behind Bultmann’s work is the same one that should be behind all Christian theology: the translation of the New Testament message into a language that will speak to contemporary man. One must sadly note at this point that while Protestant theology-particularly in Europe-has been going through several periods of enormous stimulation, Catholic theology, until very recently, has had very little contact with the Protestant theological giants. Between the wars Barth revolutionized Protestant theology, while after World War II Bultmann became the dominant Protestant influence. Then the talk was
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of “Bultmannian tendencies.” For the past ten years the talk has been of “post-Bultmannian tendencies,” that is, the “new quest” for the historical Jesus. This new quest began about 1953 when a number of Bultmann’s former students, who were by then university professors-Kaesemann, Fuchs, Bornkamm, Conzelmann and Ebeling-set off on a “new quest” for the Jesus of History.8 They insisted that despite all the qualifications the kerygmatic character of the gospels put on the material found therein, there are passages which must be recognized as significantly authentic. They have, consequently, followed out this line of research for the last dozen years-with Bultmann himself taking a vigorous part in the debate. Fortunately in recent years European Catholic scholars have begun to deal seriously with Barth and other Protestant theologians, and even more recently have started to look into the work of Bultmann. Since the magna carta encyclical Divino afflante spiritu in 1943 the Catholic Church has developed a number of first-rate scripture scholars, who of course are completely aware of the latest post-Bultmannian tendencies and are also making their own influence felt.9 Still it is true that for very large numbers of Catholic theologians, the great majority of priests and most educated Catholic layman, the name of Barth means very little, and the name and work of Bultmann even less. This, of course, is even much more acutely true in America than in Europe. It was in an attempt to begin and then widen the Catholic dialogue with Bultmann that Professor Heinrich Fries wrote this book ten years ago. In it he entered the then already existing dialogue between Barth and Bultmann about the major points of Bultmann’s program. The similarities and dissimilarities of the work of both Barth and Bultmann are carefully presented, as is also an illuminating description of Bultmann’s major concepts. Barth’s critique of Bultmann, as well as that of other critics of Bultmann, is then analyzed. In a final chapter Professor Fries presents his own Catholic evaluation of Bultmann’s theology. For those who know little about Bultmann this book will serve as an excellent introduction and provide a variety of evaluations and criticisms. Because of this latter aspect the work will also be of importance to those scholars, Protestant and Catholic, who are already familiar with Bultmann. July 23, 1966 Leonard Swidler

Preface
When the book Bultmann-Barth and Catholic Theology appeared ten years ago, in 1955, I asked my publisher to speed up the printing as much as possible because there was a danger that the book would come out too late. At that time it appeared that the high-point of the discussion on the theology of Bultmann had already been passed. We know how quickly in our day not only men-regardless how significant and influential they are-but also intellectual movements and currents, even theological impulses, can be forgotten and no longer studied. In the case of Bultmann this fear was unfounded. The theology of Bultmann and the discussion of its principles, presentation of questions and methods have to this very day remained vital-even, and especially in Germany. It can be said that they dominate the theological situation of the hour, especially within Protestant theology, not less, but rather more than ten years ago. This is true despite the unmistakably growing influence of the theology of Paul Tillich and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. To this must be added the fact that the waves of this theology extend far beyond the borders of Germany and reveal further its stimulating and disturbing power. The two enduring theological motives of Bultmann-the so-called demythologization and the existential interpretation of the Bible-have been developed and extended still further in these past ten years by Bultmann himself and by a series of his pupils or by theologians who look to him as their theological master. Even those theologians who reject Bultmann-within Protestant theology they are a minority-carry on their work in a constant confrontation and discussion with him. Bultmann himself in his

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latest publications has been laboring anew over a reaffirmation of his theological aims in a positive presentation and a critical reflection. He thereby is introducing a modification in attributing a greater significance than formerly to the fact of the historical Jesus-in distinction to the proclaimed Christ-and in theologically acknowledging the justice of this question and reducing the skepticism expressed earlier. Several pupils of Bultmann have developed the existential interpretation in such a way that theology has been transformed to an anthropology in which God and the word of God figure only as another expression for humanness and brotherhood (Mitmenschlichkeit). Bultmann has not condoned this development, but expressly rejected it. Other theologians have taken up Bultmann’s fundamental concepts or have in many individual investigations of the New and Old Testament applied the historical-critical method in conjunction with demythologization and the existential interpretation. Others have taken up the problem of hermeneutics in a thorough-going manner and have attempted to probe it more deeply and have inquired into the possibilities of the limitation of understanding. From the kerygmatic starting point of Bultmann’s theology a new theology of the word, of language and of the event of language has been attempted. Bultmann’s thesis-”the question about the history which lies beyond and is presumed by the kerygma may not be raised”-was critically taken up by several of his pupils with the counter-question: Why may this question not be raised? The faith in Jesus Christ finds its support in the historical Jesus. The publications about, for, and against Bultmann already compose an entire library today. In contrast, the observation which had already been Barth was falling behind that of Bultmann-that was true made ten years ago that the theological influence of Karl primarily of Protestant theology in Germany-is still true today, perhaps to an even greater extent. Nevertheless, it should be said that the theological position that Barth took toward Bultmann and the theology inspired by him or dependent upon him has to this day remained basically the same. To this extent the stand of Barth against Bultmann presented in this book is still valid and requires no revision. In the volumes of the Church Dogmatics which have appeared in the meantime-this work remains an immortal undertaking-Karl Barth engages in a constant vital discussion with Bultmann and develops his own position by constantly keeping the questions and answers of Bultmann present and before his eyes. Karl Barth has most recently stated that he feels like father Noah in the ark, that he calmly observes the theological rocking and rolling and now and again sends out a dove to check on the state of the flood. He finds, so he says-in contemplating present Protestant theology-that a theology which concerns itself most of all with the problem of language and concentrates on the language-happening is not centered on the Christian revelation and the faith completely dependent upon it, that it does not find that word which is proffered for the sake of the substance of faith and of man, that it does not bring forth that life which is a sign of the revivifying power and the constant youth of the word of God. Karl Barth finds that the decisive things are taking place for the moment within the Catholic Church. The Council and the vigorous efforts expended on its account go to the center of that about which the Church of Jesus Christ is concerned and also about which theology must be concerned. About Catholic theology-this is the third component of the present investigation-it can be said that within the last ten years it has dealt intensively with the theology of Bultmann-not only within larger theological works in which the theology of Bultmann is treated directly or indirectly, and also not only in numerous articles and essays, but also in books, among which the works of Malevez, Marlé and G. Hasenhüttl should be especially noted. I, myself, have dealt with the theology of Bultmann again in the Festschift for Karl Rahner under the title: “Entmythologisierung und theologische Wahrheit.” Bultmann has expressed his joy and approval-for example in the detailed review of the book by Marlé-of the fact that Catholic theology is dealing with the goals of his work and is laboring over a genuine understanding of it. Some Protestant circles speak of this fact critically, seeing in it a growing appreciation of Bultmann which displeases them. Bultmann himself wrote a foreword to the book by Hasenhüttl on Bultmann’s concept of faith-much as Karl Barth once did for Hans Küng’s book on justification-and assured the Catholic author that he had analyzed his theological thought correctly and had done justice to it. This is of

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great significance, especially when one recalls that in the question of faith Hasenhüttl pointed out many commonly held traditions between the Catholic interpretation of faith and Bultmann’s conception, a thesis which in my opinion does not take the differences seriously enough and which tends to depend upon the fact that the same expressions are used in the same matters. Nor is this weakness sufficiently realized in Bultmann’s foreword, written in an understandable joy over the evaluation of his work by a Catholic theologian. From what I can see, the concern of Catholic theology with Bultmann is by no means at an end. Perhaps it really stands at the beginning. Other works are awaited, and I know that they have already been begun: in the German language area, in France, in Italy and in Spain. Despite all this I believe I can release my book, which is also being translated into Spanish, for a translation in America-even in the form it appeared in ten years ago. Naturally it would be better to revise the book, which in the meanwhile has gone out of print in Germany, and take into consideration everything which has since been published on this theme. For the moment this is not possible. Perhaps it is not even necessary where the book is to be presented for the first time. I see no reason-not even on the basis of the literature that has appeared in the meanwhile-to change my fundamental conception. I still maintain it today with its yes and no to Bultmann’s theology. As an introduction to a specific theological posing of a question and a theological discussion and as an attempt at a theological interpretation this book, I believe, still provides a service today, especially because the matter described, so vital ten years ago, has not been forgotten but rather has grown in breadth and depth. Professor Leonard Swidler, who is very well acquainted with the theological situation with which this book is concerned, and who knows that this book is already ten years old, has translated and presented it in America. For this arduous and selfless task I am deeply grateful to him. May his efforts be blessed and find a good reception. Munich, April, 1965 HEINRICH FRIES

Foreword
This book is an endeavor to take part in a discussion that has become very much alive today within Protestant theology, and has excited men even far beyond it. This discussion centers around the name of Rudolf Bultmann. His towering theological influence for some time overshadowed the work and name of Karl Barth. But now that Karl Barth has entered the discussion on Bultmann with energy and impact, the situation within Protestant theology is largely and decisively determined by those questions which have come to the fore in the work of these two theologians. Catholic theology cannot overlook this fact, especially as the questions brought up by Bultmann and Barth lead directly to the center of the Christian revelation and the faith and understanding of faith related to it, as they contain a central theological and pastoral concern which culminates in the demand that the Gospel be proclaimed anew in every age. This is also the constant task of Catholic theology and pastoral care. Both can remain vital only if they apply themselves to this task with ever renewed efforts. In this regard the encounter with Rudolf Bultmann and Karl Barth-an encounter which will result in a giving and a taking-presents particularly today a unique opportunity. To bring this meeting into focus and to make it fruitful is the meaning and purpose of this investigation. Tübingen, Easter 1955 HEINRICH FRIES

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I
The Things Held in Common
For a long time it was common to link the names of Barth and Bultmann together, to view their theological work together and to list it under a generic term common to both of them, “Dialectical Theology.” This was done much as one did and still does name Heidegger and Jaspers in one breath as representatives of existence philosophy and existential philosophy respectively. To do so is not false to either the positions of Barth and Bultmann or of Heidegger and Jaspers. But this manner of speaking is too formal, too summary and too undifferentiated. It obscures under a formula, which not infrequently becomes a catch-word, the particularity of these extremely individualistic personalities and their work, a particularity which can be seen not only in the different answers they give to what are perhaps the same questions, but even in the different ways in which they phrase the question and their different starting positions. The latter is particularly true concerning Heidegger and Jaspers while the former, that is, different answers for the same question, applies especially to the relation between Barth and Bultmann. This difference existed from the beginning, but it finds particularly clear expression today. This observation leads us to the investigation first of those things held in common and then those particular to the theological orientations and positions of Barth or Bultmann alone. It was already remarked that Barth and Bultmann are linked with dialectical theology and are looked upon as its authoritative representatives. This designation is completely correct, especially in view of the starting points and background of these two theologians. 1. Barth and Bultmann develop their positions in the sharpest contrast to every form of immanence theology, particularly in contrast to the so-called liberal theology. This theology described God as a conceivable world principle, Christ as a founder of religion and a religious genius, the Bible as a book of world literature and a document of its age, faith as a religious experience, Christian dogmatics as a rational system, the Christian ethic as a reasonable morality, the Church as a religious society. In such wise the validity and relevance of Christianity was to be presented and recommended. To these characterizations liberal theology added that within the concrete and historical religious experience which has been the subject of investigation up until now. Christianity occupies an unchallenged dominant position within the history of religion by virtue of her doctrine, ethos and cultural influence, a position which will probably not be overtaken by any newly arising religion, even if no unambiguous criterion can be given to establish this point conclusively. In this sense Ernst Troeltsch, for example, discusses the problem of “the absoluteness of Christianity” and contrasts historicalness and absoluteness as mutually exclusive contradictions. He described Christianity as “the high point and convergence point” of all religions, but he saw no possibility of attributing to it any significance transcending this.1 This front of the liberal theology was broken through by the dialectical theology. To this day Karl Barth’s Epistle to the Romans (1 ed. 1919; 2 ed. 1922) is looked upon as the decisive literary event of the theological turning point. Karl Barth, who as a student at the University of Marburg started out in liberal theology, overcame its position in this, his first major theological work. He did it with an elan of thought and dynamism of language that was without peer. In contrast to the “erroneous rectilinear movement” of the liberal theology which placed God in a “line with us and the things of the world” and thereby ultimately meant and sought only man himself, Barth elevated the dialectic to a real theological category and method. That means that the relationship between God and the world and man contains the greatest possible antithesis and contradiction. “If I have a system it consists in the fact that I keep before my eyes as constantly as possible what Kierkegaard called the ‘infinite qualitative difference’ between time and eternity.2 God is unknown, a hidden God. Over against him the world is in a situation of pure negation, of sin and of death. Sin is always and primarily hybris and rebellion, “slave insubordination ... .. a will to be like God.” All human existence and action stands under the sign of sin. Its most sublime and worst form is religion, which is a betrayal of the real God;3 it represents the divine where there is no divine; it “makes

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man prisoner worse than anything can make him prisoner.”4 Therefore it is to be evaluated only negatively and it receives the harshest judgment: “Our religion,” is the “dissolution of religion.”5 The revelation of God is thus not one of the possible religious forms or world structures. Rather it takes place much more in absolute transcendence and as a complete paradox-without any historical points of contact, without preparation, guidance or disposition on the part of man.6 It tolerates no bridges, but leaps right across the chasm between good and evil, worth and worthlessness, holy and unholy.7 God’s revelation happens completely without, in fact against, us. Its occurrences can only be compared with the thrusting of a red-hot iron into hissing water, or with the flash of lightning in the human dusk.8 The abyss of the dialectic between God and the world and man finds its most shattering and convincing expression in the death of the Son of God become man. On the cross it is made clear what it is to be God and what it is to be the world and man. It follows from this that the essence of the revelation of God in Christ can never be grasped and presented “rectilinearly” or merely “analogously.” Still less is there a “pre-understanding” of the Christian revelation or an even distant human potential for faith in this revelation. Faith is thus possible for all only because it is impossible for all.9 The Christian reality can be presented only dialectically: as antithesis and contradiction of all that belongs to the world and to man, as crisis, judgment and end. On the other side the world and history, nature and man can be correctly described only as the no to God, to his Word and his revelation in Christ. The mission of the Son of God “can be described only in the strongest terms of negation, can be proclaimed only as paradox, can be grasped only as the absurdum which as such is credibile. The scandal which it gives us is the reflex of the scandal which we are for God.10 The uniqueness and glory of dialectical theology is that fundamentally the dialectic never and nowhere strives for the dissolution of the antithesis, but rather seeks to remain in the situation of the broken bridge and of the abyss. Only in this manner does it believe it can be a theology of the cross and present and preserve the Reformation principles and aims of “Deus solus,” “fides sola,” and “gratia sola.” And in this theology differentiates itself from the idealistic understanding of Christianity, as, for example, in the thought of Hegel-although it remains indebted to this philosophy in form and method. A deeper analysis indicates, however-and Hans Urs von Balthasar has convincingly presented this in his work on Karl Barth-that at the beginning and end of the dialectic of this theology there is a dissolution of the sense of identity. For the phrasing of the protology and eschatology in Karl Barth reveals that the dialectic between God and man comes from what must be termed a somewhat hazardous original unity of God and Man and ultimately terminates itself in it.11 For our posing of the question it is not necessary to pursue these presuppositions and consequences of the dialectic further. We are here concerned only with an outline of what the dialectical theology is and means, with the recognition of its motives and origins and a recollection of its form in the early theological work of Karl Barth. 2. Now we must speak of Rudolf Bultmann and his relation to the dialectical theology. In an essay, “The Liberal Theology and the Latest Theological Movement,”12 Bultmann gives his own and others’ accounts of their theological background and orientation. These men also have their origins and roots in liberal theology. Bultmann recalls this fact first with a sentiment of great thankfulness. He thanks liberal theology especially for its vital historical interest13 which was of such great significance in casting light on the historical reality particularly of the Christian revelation and on one understanding of the Bible. Most of all, however, Bultmann thanks the liberal theology for the training “in criticism, that is in freedom and truthfulness.”14 “Those of us who have come from the liberal theology would not have been able to become or remain theologians if we had not encountered the earnestness of a radical truthfulness; we felt that the orthodox theology of the universities of all shades was essentially a compromise in which we could have only an interiorly broken existence. Everlasting thanks are due G. Krüger for seeing the mission of theology as consisting in the endangering of souls, the leading into doubt, the shattering of naive credulousness. Here was-we all felt it-the atmosphere of truthfulness, the only

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atmosphere in which we could breathe.”15 In view of Bultmann’s later theological work it can well be said that he has remained true to this ethos of criticism, this freedom and truthfulness, so that his whole theological program, which is presented today primarily under the name of the theology of the demythologization, is an implementation of these intentions. The developed and well-thought-out theological program of demythologization, which, as an existential interpretation, led especially to a decisive and penetrating critique of the prevailing understanding of Christian revelation and the Christian faith, to a ruthless abandonment of facts adhered to by the previous Christian tradition and to a radical criticism of the Bible, was possible only in an atmosphere of freedom and of truthfulness which allowed absolutely no reservations or limits to be imposed by anything or anyone. To this, of course, it must be immediately added that Bultmann’s theology is not to be understood from these motives alone; in that case it would have remained within the boundaries of liberal theology. Bultmann develops his theological program much more in contradiction to the liberal theology. Nevertheless, it is obviously possible to do so while retaining the feeling for scholarship which was awakened and maintained by liberal theology. Bultmann has given the tendencies developed in liberal theology a new meaning and a new direction. “It cannot aim at eliminating the historical critique-rather its meaning must be understood as follows: it must be radically directed toward freedom and truthfulness, not only in freeing one from a certain traditional historical view but in freeing one from every point of view possible for scholarly investigation and making it conscious that the world which faith wishes to encompass is absolutely not comprehendible by means of scholarly investigation.”16 This means that the attempt of liberal theology to theologize with its own means is an experiment on an unsuitable object, that it does not deal with-the real object of theology, but rather that it is in error concerning it. In liberal theology Christianity becomes-and it is here that the energetic criticism of Bultmann drives home-a phenomenon within the world, within history, associated with and subject to the other historical, sociological and psychological phenomena. Jesus becomes one among many; he is “the traveling companion of our life”; Christian faith is one form of the religious attitude; revelation contains a fullness of human and ethical ideals. From this arise such manifestations as Christian culture and ethics, Christian politics and education, Christian socialism, etc. On the other hand within the perspective of liberal theology every professional activity, every social act, every ethical taking of a position can be a worship of God. From the very beginning Bultmann directs all his defensive power against these tendencies in liberal theology. And he does so on the basis-which is really theological that it is exactly here that Christianity has met a stumbling-block, that it is not seen “that God’s being Other, God’s being Beyond means a negating of all of man and all of his history. An attempt is made to give faith a foundation, but the nature of faith is destroyed by the very search for any kind of foundation.”17 To the theological question about God this means that God is not a “given” (Gegebenheit). He is also not the “abandoned” (Aufgegebene) or the “ungiven” (Ungegebene) in the sense of idealistic philosophy. Rather God means “the total abrogation of the human, its negation, the calling of it in question, the judgment on the human.”18 From this it follows that everything, world and man, human existence and activity, the lowest as well as the most sublime, the most idealistic and the most miserable, is sin, that Godlessness “is in the structure of my being”; the world and my activity in it are from their beginning Godless. Sin and Godlessness mean that man wishes to assert himself and thereby make himself God.19 Sin is therefore always in its essence a rebellion, a hybris, an autonomy, a self-dominium and self-righteousness. This fundamental sin can take many different forms and shapes, the most dangerous of which are found in religion, in religious experiences and in mysticism. At every point here the borders between God and man are blurred. Man confuses the world with God and time with eternity and usurps a
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divinity not rightfully his. As a result he is in error about his true existence and thus lives in unreality. At the same time he falls under judgment and there is nothing that can protect or preserve him from it. Being and doing, work and product-everything finds itself inside parentheses, before which there stands a minus sign. However, Bultmann does not see in such a characterization of the relationships between God, world and man any skepticism, irrationalism, pessimism or despair at all.20 For this calling of man into question by God not only allows man to become aware of his true existence and his existence in truth-all attempts and illusions notwithstanding-but is also really a grace for him and his true salvation for he is made free “from himself unto himself.” This should suffice to make clear the fact that the basic aims and motives of dialectical theologyespecially in its origins and beginnings-are essentially Bultmann’s and that the theological background in liberalism, which he shares with Barth, leads to the dialectic. This is just as true for Bultmann’s description of the relationships between God and the world, between Christian revelation- and religion, between faith and conscious experience as it is for the manner in which God, revelation and Christian faith can and should be grasped. When we say that the criticism and freedom that grew out of liberal theology has remained alive to this very day in the theological work and development of Bultmann, we must add that the same is also true of the sharp criticism of liberalism which flows from his dialectical position. The early Bultmann raised against liberalism the decisive objection that through it the scandal is taken away from the Christian faith and God is robbed of his transcendence, that Christianity is leveled and flattened within an a priori “historical-pantheism.” He also says the same today, but in a new formulation constructed along a specific theme: liberal theology has reduced the kerygma to particular religious and moral basic ideas, to a religiously motivated idealistic ethic. “But thereby in truth the kerygma is eliminated as kerygma, that is, as the message of the decisive activity of God in Christ.”21 For the sake of precision it is still necessary to point out that wherever Bultmann agrees with the principles and motives of dialectical theology he also from the very start takes a specific position. For Bultmann, as he has stated in a fundamental study,22 dialectical theology does not mean the acceptance of a definite theological system or a particular theological method. It is much more that in it is expressed the insight that when theology speaks of God-not the concept of God-it must speak of man. That is doubtlessly a dialectical position, especially if man is viewed as Bultmann views him. And he sees him as Karl Barth sees him. To speak of man however is, according to Bultmann, only possible and permissible if human existence is understood historically. Here another dialectic comes to light. For historicity means not rigid and predictable existence, but rather a potential existence, an openness to the possibilities of human existence which always and in every situation must be won anew. Out of the historicity of human existence it follows that human speaking of God-and it is just this that theology wishes and ought to be-also stands under the sign of historicity and the sign of the concrete situation. To this there is attached the further consequence that the “truth” of theology is not cast in the truth of a timelessly valid statement, but rather in the “truth of a time-bound language.” That means, “not the individual thing that is spoken, but rather the very speaking stands under the question of truth.”23 This statement comes not from a disinterested theory about something, but from a vital acknowledgment of God’s claim of dominion. It signifies that here and now a possibility of mine will be grasped and expressed. This is Bultmann’s interpretation and understanding of the dialectic. We will meet its basic structure again often, for it is the fundamental structure of his whole theology-and specifically in contrast and opposition to Karl Barth. We will discuss that in detail later. Now in beginning we will bring out only that which is held in common by Barth and Bultmann, which cannot be overlooked, namely, the “dialectical theology.”

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The commonness between Barth and Bultmann exists therefore not only in fundamentals, in their theological opposition to liberal theology, in the very intensively expressed insight into the “infinite qualitative difference” between God, world and man, of the “unworldliness” of God and the resultant understanding of God’s revelation to man. The commonness manifests itself no less in the consequences and particulars which flow from the fundamental conception of the dialectical theology. They are briefly described as follows: a. There is first of all the actualistic understanding of revelation. By this is meant that revelation is not a timelessly valid truth, idea or doctrine; it also does not mean a somehow definite or specifically designed “supernatural” essence or existence or a corresponding state of affairs. Revelation is always much more act, deed and activity of God. Revelation is an event, a happening moving from God to here. This actuality is its deepest essence. Along with the actuality of revelation comes its historicity and-because it does not concern a happening which is immanent in the world or within man, but rather a deed of God-its absolute uniqueness and unrepeatability; in a word, the “once” and the “once for all times” of revelation. From this actualistic understanding of revelation there follows the fundamental law of Christian reality, as Karl Barth formulated it: “esse sequitur agere, esse sequitur operari.”24 There is here an exact reversal of the philosophical axiom: agere sequitur esse. But it is just this reversal that shows the dialectic of the reality of revelation and Christian existence, and just this dialectic that is a sign and proof of their truth. It is unnecessary to reproduce documentation showing that and how much Barth as well as Bultmann-and with them all the representatives of the dialectical theology, Brunner, Gogarten, and Thurneysen-understand the revelation of God actualistically. This principle is at work in every utterance and every writing. Greatly as Karl Barth may have changed within his theology-from the dialectic to the analogy25-the actualistic understanding of revelation, and the consequent characterizing of his theology as a theology not of being, but of a coming to pass, is a continuum which persists in all stages of Barth’s development. But with Bultmann this actualism, which moreover through his understanding of dialectical theology was intensified from the beginning, was carried out so radically that in face of the event, in fact of the That of the “salvation-happening” and the “Christ-happening,” the person and the history of Christ as well as the content, the What, of his revealing message remain irrelevant.26 b. Something further is connected with the character of revelation as event (and Barth and Bultmann agree here)-the existential power and form of revelation, its appellative power, its decisive moment. Whatever occurs in revelation, whatever God in his activity does and brings to completion concerns man; it happens “for him.” God’s word is no mere theoretical word, no indoctrination, but rather an address, message, appeal, word, which demands an answer, a taking of a position, a decision. “Tua, mea res agitur,” “You are the man.” That is the thrust of the revelation, the speaking and the activity of God. And only he who perceives all this in and out of a wonder which extends to the ultimate, to salvation and perdition, perceives it correctly, fully and in truth. “You are the man.” For Karl Barth this is the fanfare of the Pauline Epistle to the Romans. It is also the meaning of the Barthian “existentialism” and the meaning of existentiality as Barth believes he must understand it from the whole of the Epistle to the Romans. The distinction between “existential” and “existentiell,”27 which is so important for Bultmann, means nothing to the author of the “Epistle to the Romans.” The fact that for Bultmann the revelation of God has an “existential” significance will have to be further outlined and discussed. But for Bultmann also, and particularly for him, the “existentiell” character of revelation is the presupposition for the perception of its “existential” significance. Only the one who is “existentiell” affected can and will question its meaning and inquire after the manner of existence of what is given and hidden therein, will inquire after the “existential.”

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Just how much Bultmann finds the moment of decision in revelation is shown by the fundamental and key word of his theology-kerygma. For Bultmann the word of God and revelation are neither theoretical speculation about objective circumstances, nor a report or a history; it is essentially proclamation. And this embraces the living you of the hearer; it directs itself toward him; it wants something for him and from him. But God’s address to man through His word always involves a real calling of man into question and a decision concerning man by man himself; it concerns the real decision. Indeed, for Bultmann the form of the kerygma is so intimately bound to the revelation, to the Christ-event, that the action of God “for me,” both here and today, can be made present only when it is made so by the kerygma. We will later have occasion to point out that in Bultmann’s thought the kerygma demands an inadmissible autonomy, that the saving event as such threatens almost to disappear in it. In our context we need only to make clear how greatly, according to Bultmann, an-of course “existential” conceived-”existentielle” power, strength and force is inherent in revelation. c. The third thing held in common by Barth and Bultmann-and this is very closely connected with what has been said so far-consists of the Christ-centeredness of their theology. This is expressed in the thesis that the revelation of God culminates in the Word become man, that the world, creation and salvation is grounded in Christ and therefore may and can only be rightly understood through him, that every understanding of the Christian can be legitimate and valid only then when all theological statements, as Hans Urs von Balthasar has put it, lead into the “Christological narrows.” Not only do all theological statements find their orientation and correct direction in and from Christ, but all statements of theologians and theological statements on all things are specified and qualified by him. Barth himself describes this conception as an intensive universalism which “at the point of highest intensity, in the contact between God and man, embraces everything in Jesus Christ,” in order to draw out what is, in the real sense, His infinite fullness. Hans Urs von Balthasar compares this conception with the image of an hourglass whose two vessels (God and creature) can meet only through the narrow passage in the middle, through the meeting of the two in Jesus Christ: “It is just the narrowest place that is the most decisive, it is the act, the contact, the event from which everything that comes under the heading of nature flows.”28 This radical Christocentrism did not from the very beginning occupy the central position of Barth’s theology-at first the concept of the Word of God did-but in the Church Dogmatics there developed the ever clearer and more conclusive evolvement and unfolding of this principle, its application to all questions and the orientation of all questions to it. This is not the place to expand on what changes in the theological positions of the early Karl Barth the conclusive carrying through of the Christological principle-and indeed, as von Balthasar and Hermann Volk have convincingly shown, in the meaning of Chalcedon-brought along with it. It is the turning from the dialectic to analogy, of course to an analogia fidei which is decisively different than the analogia entis, whose full form Barth sees specifically in the God-man. Thus, the radical judgment of condemnation on nature and creation is lifted, and the recognition of man and the human in all forms is given: the incarnation means the divine yes to man. In this connection we wish only to draw attention to the principle as such, to the concentration of the revelatory actions in the person and in the event of Jesus Christ, and to the resultant concentration of all theological statements in Christology. In this question too Bultmann, in principle, is the partner of Barth. This is evidenced in the phrase that constantly occurs in Bultmann: “the decisive action of God in Christ.” It is also evidenced in the refusal of Bultmann to draw out the full conclusions of the theses of liberal theology, whose scholarly ethos he wholeheartedly acknowledges and affirms, and to categorize the revelation in Christ as a case in the history of religion. Further evidence of this is also seen today in the question of the “demythologization,” which, although it is supposed to be solely interpretation, has in fact in no small measure become elimination, and which nevertheless has held on to the “verbum caro factum est” as an articulus stantis et cadentis theologiae et ecclesiae. Regardless of all the criticisms, such as the challenge of the Berne theologian Buri, and the tendencies to carry out the consequences of demythologization and also
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dekerygmatization,29 Bultmann retains the New Testament paradoxes30 and, specifically in the demythologizing interpretation, is unwilling to give up as kerygma this truth of the New Testament kerygma. The danger-laden and highly controversial operation of demythologization is undertaken only to rescue the one necessary thing, the message of the decisive act of God in Christ, the event of Christ, the event of salvation: verbum caro factum est. Thus it cannot be surprising, but rather, after what has been said, it is to be taken for granted that for Bultmann, just as for Barth, the statements of the Christian faith and the standard of the revelation which has taken place in Christ are the criteria of all other statements, and that these, about whatever and by whomever they may be made, must prove and authenticate themselves before the forum of the Christian.31 This does not imply that Barth and Bultmann in no way differ in their understanding and application of the Christocentric principle; they do so in considerable measure, as we shall yet see, but the differences in their understanding of the principle do not negate the outspoken acknowledgment of it by both of them. d. This observation logically leads to a further common approach by Barth and Bultmann: the principle of sola fides. In the context of our discussion this means that there is no approach to God or the divine reality except that of faith. Negatively stated: there is no natural religion, no natural theology, no natural knowledge of God. For God would thereby be made into an existing being in the manner of the universe. The reduction of the Christian revelation to the level of some sort of religion or world piety would result; the “characteristically Christian” would have been forgotten or suspended. To attempt to approach God by some other path than faith is nothing other than hybris and arbitrariness. For Barth as for Bultmann, Kant’s theory and critique of knowledge is workable and authoritative insofar as the act of knowing includes having disposal of and dominion over the object of knowledge. Consideration of the knowledge of God exposes a double theological impossibility and a two-fold structure of original sin, of human self-determination: in wishing to know God man will degrade him to an object, the divine existence will become an object-existence. Moreover the wish to know implies a subjective disposal of that which is known; the object-existence is a category designed by the subject and which orders and directs the given object. If it is true that Kant’s critique of knowledge has become the critique of knowledge for Protestant theology, then it is in large measure also true of the doctrine of theological knowledge of Barth and Bultmann. They make their own the demands of the critique, which determines the borders or Emits of knowledge “in order to provide a place for faith,” and they also find therein a philosophical and epistemological justification of the sola fides principle. According to Bultmann the sola fides principle is the key to his theology. In his “Epilogue to the Question of Demythologization” he declared: “The radical demythologization is the parallel to the PaulineLutheran doctrine of justification without works, through faith alone. Or rather it is its consequent application in the area of knowledge.”32 Karl Barth too attempts ultimately, and he believes in the best and the most just sense, to understand Bultmann by interpreting him as the heir of Luther and Lutheranismcertainly not only in the question that concerns us here, but in it nevertheless.33 Bultmann had even earlier looked upon the exposition and realization of the sola fides principle as his theological aim and task. He had rejected the Catholic conception of natural theology on philosophical and, especially, theological bases, and thereby established “that the only possible means of approach to God is faith.... Faith speaks of God as beyond the world and knows that God becomes visible only through his revelation and that in the face of this revelation everything which heretofore had been called God is not God.”34 Indeed, in a radical consequence of his thought, Bultmann can declare that the atheism of a science does not consist in the

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science’s denial of the reality of God: “It would be just as atheistic if as science it maintained it.”35 The basis for this atheism lies in the fact that the science speaks of God “in generalized terms” and avoids the concrete situation of the one speaking. However, when the speaker does this he places himself outside the factual reality of his existence, and therefore outside of God, and speaks of everything other than God. Such “speaking of God,” such “knowledge of God” is sin. “Through our undertaking it would again be sin, just because it would be our undertaking.... To speak of God, as to speak in God, can obviously be granted only by God himself.36 This gift from God is faith, the answer to the event of his revelation which is made possible by God himself. As such, faith is likewise always a given and self-completing event. Faith is never a standpoint “upon which we set ourselves up, but rather an ever new deed, new obedience . . . always uncertain, as soon as we reflect upon it, as soon as we speak of it; it is certain only as deed.” 37 But it likewise follows from the same law that faith is a pure grace from the free, self-giving God. He gives us the freedom “to speak and to act out of God.”38 It follows from the basic structure and the basic conception of the theology of the early Karl Barth, that in this very question of the approach to God, in the question of the knowledge of God and of natural theology he emphasizes much more sharply than does Bultmann that there is only one way to God and his revelation: faith. And this faith is pure event, pure actuality. As an answer to the breakthrough of the revelation of the completely transcendent and incomparable God it nowhere bears a trace of a human ingredient. It is a pure initiative from God,39 a complete lack of obligation, a pure “vertical miracle.”40 The sola fides exists because of the sola gratia. Any form of natural preparedness or potentiality for God, as it is found in the doctrine and the principle of the analogia entis between God and world-on the basis of the creation -is according to this conception not only a seductive and dangerous line of thought, but, even more, plainly of the devil, an invention of the anti-Christ.41 Faith, as far as content is concerned, is a contradiction of the existence and the essence of the world, and especially of every form of religious experience. The possibility of faith is only to be understood as impossibility.42 Karl Barth-and to be clear we must always add, the early Karl Barth-not only denies the so-called potentia oboedientialis, the natural possibility of receiving and preparedness for submission on the part of man before God, but even strives against it in his writing against Emil Brunner (Nein!-Antwort an Emil Brunner)-Brunner’s thesis is that the sin of man, that man as negation and contradiction to God, is the human, if also purely negative, presupposition for the hearing of the message and word of God. Even in this most extreme negation he is only capable of a view that is very dangerous, because it is a cleverly disguised form of human autonomy and self-explanation, and must degrade the activity of God. The negativeness of the world and man cannot be expressed strongly or radically enough to flood the contrast in majesty, greatness, glory and absolute lack of any presuppositions of the divine activity with a brilliant light. In this connection and for the limited purposes we have already outlined, we will set aside any discussion of how Barth’s theological orientation of faith has changed in turning from a dialectic to analogy-which we could not ignore in a more complete presentation of Barth’s thought. It is not as if the principle of sola fides, and the gratia sola which works within it, were given up, but rather that from within faith and grace the positiveness and independence of nature, the world and man are newly recognized. In particular, reason and its fundamental act, understanding, receive a significance which is co-constitutive of faith: they make possible the forming of a covenant and partnership between man and God. The theological basis for this acknowledging affirmation lies in the acknowledgment through God of the humanity of Christ. It is in this that the human existence is acknowledged before God.43 The Reformation principles effective in both Barth and Bultmann, the sola fides and the sola gratia, together with their consequences include something more, and here also the two representatives of dialectical theology are at one: it is the fact of the “impossibility of proving” God and his works and actions, the fact

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of the impossibility of proving the divine revelation. On the level of the phenomenal, that which manifests itself, on the level of the objective and the objectifiable there is nothing that is given and there is nothing that happens in the world and history which appears as or can be recognized as the divine existence or activity, as a manifestation of the revelation and the saving activity of the divine, or even a trace of it. God is in his nature and being the “unworldly” (Bultmann). Everything which manifests itself is therefore pure worldliness, innerworldliness and “humanness.” The latter however is characterized by Godlessness, a removal from God and a rebellion against God; it bears in the whole and in all its parts the sign of sin. All of the activity of man stands under this sign, and thereby under the curse of the law and works. The reality and the action of God-these are facts which nowhere can be documented-are only given in the word, in the word of God alone, which asserts this reality and action of God against all appearances and against all rational credibility. And they are given in faith alone-which is the correspondence to the word alone-in striking contradiction to all “appearances,” in the paradoxical conviction about that which one does not see. Obscurity is the beginning of all knowledge, declares Barth in his Letter to the Romans.44 “God does everything-but nothing becomes visible or verifiable.”45 “The true God can, because he is true God, only be believed. More would be less-that is the new thinking.”46 Faith in its essence, however, is a paradox, “a proceeding against appearances.” “Human clarity would make what is to be observed here obscure-human certainty would become a not knowing of what is to be known here.”47 “So long as we remain us, we are and remain God’s enemies, inclined by nature to hate God and neighbor, in no sense a citizen and heir of the kingdom of heaven, but by birth an obstructionist and destroyer.48 The statements of Bultmann are not less unequivocal. “The framework of nature and history is profane, and it is only in the light of the word of proclamation that nature and history become for the believer, contrary to all appearance, the field of the divine activity. It is faith which makes the world profane and restores to it its proper autonomy as the field of man’s labors. But it is just for this reason that the believer’s relation to the world view of modern science is the paradoxical relation of hos mé.”49 “God withdraws himself from the objective view: Only in defiance of all outward appearance can he be believed in, just as the justification of the sinner can only be believed in in defiance of the accusations of the conscience.”50 With this in mind the position of Bultmann becomes completely clear and understandable: demythologization is the consequent carrying out of the principle of sola fides, and the sola gratia, in the area of knowledge. The more radically knowledge takes seriously the impossibility of proving God, the more effectively will it Justify the aims of the Reformers: Verbum solum, fidem solam habemus. And nowhere does this happen so decisively and clearly as in the demythologization which denies all visible traces of divine activity, which emphasizes the absolute worldliness of all the world and the profaneness of all history, which expounds the complete insufficiency of human efforts in matters of faith as well as the questionableness of all criteria. And this faith is the always repeated “nevertheless,” which must stand the test as a “paradox” and which in the face of the most deceiving appearances and the crassest of worldly contradictions will remain firm. In Bultmann’s own words: “Demythologization destroys any false security and any false seeking of security on the part of man, regardless whether the security rests on his action or on his knowledge. Man must realize that he has nothing upon which he can base his belief, that at the same time he is suspended in the air and is unable to demand a proof of the truth. For the foundation and object of faith are identical.”51 In this connection there is still one more bond between Barth and Bultmann, one more point they hold in common: the question of the presuppositions and points of juncture of the act and event of faith and revelation.52 This question has already been highlighted enough and also decided by the foregoing discussion. If according to the opinion of the early Karl Barth the world has lost every trace of the relation to God which
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resulted from the creation and now stands entirely under the sign of sin, of judgment and death, if the analogia entis is the invention of the anti-Christ, then there can nowhere be a point, in the sense of some kind of preparation, similarity or correspondence, to which the event of revelation could join itself. And if man, and most especially man, stands under the same sign, then in neither his being nor in any of his functions and activities, and not even in his negativeness, can he contribute something whether it be to the event of revelation itself or to its grasping in the act of faith. The act of faith-we have already indicated this-completely without pre-suppositions, is a wondrous dealing with man by God. In the act of faith itself, there is no structure or function in which a participation of man or his spirit-in the sense of an understanding or a pre-understanding-or of his heart-in a sense of a pre-decision-is visible. Faith is an uncomprehensible factum for man. Everything happens to him and it happens without man’s capability, without man’s merit. If it did not happen so, then God would not retain his absolute sovereignty and transcendence. Bultmann, in this question, fundamentally thinks no differently than Barth. It is discussed, among other places, in one of his own essays entitled: “Anknüpfung und Widerspruch.”53 His thoughts concentrate on the thesis: “God’s dealing with man through his word has no point of juncture in man or in the human spiritual life to which God must accommodate himself.... God’s dealing is a contradiction against man, specifically against man in his religion in which he secures and asserts himself against the pressing world, in which he wishes to appease his cares and anxieties.”54 “God’s revelation is the contradiction against man in his religion.... Legitimate Christian proclamation can therefore only be such that gives expression to this contradiction in all its sharpness.”55 Although in these and similar words Bultmann’s agreement with Barth is clear and almost verbatim, in his continuation of his thesis Bultmann approaches the interpretation of Emil Brunner (which one time called forth a passionate protest from Barth) that there is all too much positiveness in the total negativeness, that in the contradiction the point of juncture is created or aroused that the sin of man is the point of juncture for the contradicting word of grace.56 The man whom God’s contradiction strikes is the man who places himself in contradiction to God and who thereby has lost himself. God’s contradiction calls him back to himself, to that which he really is.57 If however sin is the point of juncture for the word of God and faith, and if man himself is sin, it follows therefrom that man in his entire existence is the point of juncture. But this thesis specifically excludes or makes impossible the other thesis, that a particular (religious) organ or a particular capability of man is the point of juncture.58 This should suffice for a comparison. The indications of what is similar in the theological positions of Barth and Bultmann, despite the sketchiness of the descriptions, has made clear that that which they hold in common is decisive and basic for both of them. Even in this attempt, it could not remain unnoticed that the agreement in theological principles by no means includes an agreement in their application, implementation and differentiation, but that rather different paths and possibilities are left open and free. It is of this that we must now speak.

II
The Differences
By way of a preliminary remark it can be pointed out that Karl Barth has understood how to give his theological aims expression in a form and plasticity, an intensity and colorfulness of language in

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contrast to which the language of Bultmann is sober and abstract. To this it must be added that Barth has developed his theological work in such a breadth and wealth of detail that today one can already say that after the conclusion of his Dogmatics it will be the most comprehensive dogmatics of the entire contemporary age. By way of contrast, the comprehensiveness of Bultmann’s work appears quite modest, particularly when one recalls that Bultmann’s decisive problems are not developed in detailed presentations but rather in short treatises, in essays, and lectures which, to be sure, when taken together present an amazing life’s work of scholarship; this is so much more the case since Bultmann’s works are based on an unusual mastery of the material, on what has become today a very rare scholarly competence not only in the area of theology but also in the area of philosophy, history of religion and culture, and philology. More important than this, however, is the fact that in Bultmann’s work his theological program and aims are expressed with a great intensity from the very beginning and that the manifold repetitions are really reinforcements and corroborations of his fundamental theological themes. The development of the theological life’s work of Bultmann succeeds-unlike Barth’s, which broadened horizontally-in the direction of a vertical deepening, and intensification of his all-pervading principle always attempted anew and approached with various motives. There is a further point connected with this. We have already had several occasions to allude to the great development in the theology of Karl Barth, referred to as the turning from the dialectic to analogy, which led to decisive retractions, retractions, in fact, in those very points which once appeared to Barth to be indisputable. Of course, there can be no mistaking the fact that the re-orientation in Barth’s theology did not consist really in the change of a principle but rather in its interpretation and application. In contrast to this, it is impossible to find a similar development in Bultmann either in principle or in its interpretation and application. The development of Bultmann’s theology took place in a projected carrying through of his basic theological orientation, without any revision. It was exactly along these lines that among other things, the program and the theory which is so influential in the theological world today, demythologization, lay. It is therefore somewhat astonishing that Bultmann’s lecture of 1941, “Neues Testament und Mythologie”1 was looked upon as so epoch-making and revolutionary. In view of Bultmann’s total theological work it is in no way either of these; it is much more the concentrated expression of his program as it was laid out from the beginning. It is also astonishing that in the face of the principles developed long before this lecture the reaction was relatively calm and indecisive. And, finally, it is astonishing that the present day discussion about Bultmann almost exclusively takes this lecture as a point of departure and basis and restricts itself to it, quite often, without placing it within the framework of Bultmann’s total theological program. We will now consider the various material points of difference between Barth and Bultmann. This too will take more the form of a sketch than the structure of a detailed presentation. We will begin with a discussion of one of Bultmann’s theological basic positions of revelation and its corresponding faith. We said that Barth and Bultmann agree in the actualistic understanding from which we believe all of the individual differences will develop. Karl Barth very soon brought the material and objective aspects of revelation into focus alongside of this formal structure: next to the event there was placed that which undergoes the event; next to the action there was placed the God who acts; next to the Christ-event there was placed the human-divine person of Christ. Alongside the basic concept of “actuality” Karl Barth places that of “nature” and concerns himself with a theology of act and of nature in which the primacy of the act is retained; he develops Christology in detail as the question of the existence of the Christ from which he sees soteriology following as the question of the work of Christ. On the other hand Bultmann’s radical actualism places everything in the dynamism of existence: revelation is pure event in which only the That, and in no way the What and Who is important; the objective content of revelation is, according
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to Bultmann, completely unoriginal-the person of Christ disappears before the “event of Christ.” The only decisive thing for faith as an answer to revelation is the possibility and realization of existence which is given and demanded by faith. In this sense Bultmann’s theology, according to his own words, becomes “anthropology”2-in unambiguous terms: existential theology. This excludes the question of the essence, the content, the objective matter, not only methodologically but in principle and in fact, and concentrates everything on the punctum mathematicum of the happening of revelation and in the faith which is taking place. Faith is considered important, however, only as actus, as deed and decision, as fides qua creditur. In contrast to it the fides quae creditur does not remain merely of secondary importance, but is completely swallowed up. Thus Bultmann does on the level of theology what existence-philosophy undertakes in the philosophical area. Viewed in this context Bultmann’s theological aims are not so much to be connected with Heidegger, as Bultmann himself and his disciples and critics as well would have it, but rather with Karl Jaspers. To be sure, the relationships between Bultmann and Heidegger are unmistakably present and they have a great significance. Heinrich Ott has very perceptively analyzed the ontology which lies at the basis of Bultmann’s theology. While for Heidegger existential analysis is only the expression of a philosophically relevant undertaking concerning being as such (das Sein), for Bultmann it is the pressing question, motivated by faith, of human existence (Dasein) and its structure in the framework of theology which becomes significant. For Jaspers’ philosophy there is no similar theoretical-disinterested attitude, but rather deed and decision. To philosophize is to exist and to exist is to philosophize. The purpose of philosophy is not to know something in the way that something is known and classified as knowledge in the sciences, but rather its purpose is to understand existence itself. But this “itself” should also not be expounded in ontological stability and rigidity, but rather it should be awakened to fulfillment: philosophy is not doctrine, but rather an appeal. Bultmann’s theological conception is very closely related in structure to the existencephilosophical outline of Jaspers. This of course still says nothing about the question of dependence. It ought to be said however that there is no mention of Jaspers either by Bultmann himself or in the discussion concerning him.3 However any attempt at a comparison between Jaspers and Bultmann, such as the already mentioned work by Fritz Buri, results in the destruction of the kerygma, which is so energetically held on to by Bultmann, to a “dekerygmatization.” Indeed this happens with express insistence on the fact that in form and content there is no difference between Jaspers’ philosophical understanding of existence and Bultmann’s theological understanding of existence (this is evidence for our thesis), and that because of the consequences the theological kerygma must therefore be eliminated .4 After these considerations of a fundamental nature we turn our attention toward the most important individual questions in which the differences between Barth and Bultmann appear. 1. The first, which we shall discuss only briefly, is Bultmann’s conception of the decisive concept of revelation: the word of God. He attains this through a clear avoidance of the Greek understanding of the word, of the logos. Logos essentially concerns the meaning of that which is spoken: the word portrays the content and wishes to transmit a timelessly valid truth and theory. It appeals to the intellectual vision and insight and pays absolutely no attention to who has spoken or in what situation he has spoken. In contrast to this Bultmann understands the word of God as address, as command, as an order, which appeals to listening, attention and obedience, which lays claim not to the intellect but to the will, and which exhorts to action, which in no way carries with it a foundation, legitimation or proof, but rather demands acknowledgment and submission.5 For the word of God it is just as characteristic as it is decisive and that the person of the one speaking and of the one spoken to cannot be overlooked, that on the contrary, the person is really the center of the entire affair. A further peculiarity of the word of God is that it cannot be disengaged from the situation, the event and the act of being spoken. From this it follows that it is not that which is spoken, the content of the statement and address, which is authoritative, but rather it is the being spoken in the kairos, in the decisive hour and situation. This is true, and most specifically so, in the word of God culminating in Christ. Bultmann says of Christ: “He brings the word-the word, however, not as a doctrine about God, a world view, but rather as the call to penance in the face of the coming rule of God.

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He proclaims the will of God; his word is address, call and decision. Nothing which he says is new. However, what is decisive is the hour, the Now of the being spoken, the event of the word.”6 Here we have unmistakably and impressively expressed for us the extreme actualism of Bultmann, the understanding of the Greek understanding of the word of God which methodically and entirely excludes the material content of revelation. Here we find an unmistakable difference between Bultmann and Barth, who in concern for the That of the word does not forget the What, but rather within his theological development and life’s work develops it ever more richly and deeply. The most imposing and convincing document of this is his Church Dogmatics. It presents the complete content of the revelation of God in all aspects, dimensions and differences; it describes the objective fulness of the articles of faith. To Bultmann, on the other hand, all content becomes material for the form of the existential, which alone is important to him; all material serves only as the exemplification and illustration of his principle theses. 2. The above statement of Bultmann has already called our attention to a second point which ought to be considered within his theological actualism: the Bultmannian understanding of Christocentrism. And this, as mentioned, is a theme common to Barth and Bultmann. According to Bultmann Jesus brought nothing new. What is new is only the event which takes place and is completed in him: the being spoken of the word of God. Bultmann has more than once attempted to show that the content of the message preached by Jesus manifests absolutely no originality, that it really repeats what is stated in the Old Testament. “Jesus is a prophet like John the Baptist; both of their movements were messianic.”7 “Jesus was not a Christian, but rather a Jew.”8 “His teaching is not new in its thought content, for in its content it is nothing other than pure Judaism, pure prophetism. But that he says it now in the last decisive hour, that is the unheard of. Not the What but rather the That of his proclamation is the decisive thing.”9 But if this is so, then theological interest can hardly focus on the person or the personality of Jesus.10 And if the sources for these show “practically nothing,” this is not a terribly important loss because the point indeed is not who Jesus was but rather what took place in Jesus.11 Bultmann also says this in another way: it depends on what Jesus wanted, on his work. But his work is his word.12 This word, however, is not important as teaching, but rather as act. As soon as Bultmann comes to speak of the Christological question in the real sense, he takes a position toward it in the fashion just described. In an essay on “The Christological Confession of the World Council of Churches”13 he investigates the formula “Jesus Christ as God and Savior.” To the question whether this confessional formula corresponds to the New Testament Bultmann answers: I don’t know. This uncertainty quickly disappears however when he declares: “the formula ‘Christ is God’ is false in every sense in which God is understood as an objectifiable power, whether in an Arian or Nicaean, an orthodox or liberal sense.”14 Thus for Bultmann the formula of the Council of Chalcedon is also unacceptable. The formula “Christ is God” is, according to Bultmann’s explication, correct “when God is understood here as the event of the activity of God.”15 The various titles and names which are attributed to Christ are also not Christological expressions about the being and the nature of Christ but they rather characterize God’s activity in him. Bultmann believes he finds this sort of Christology within the New Testament, especially in Paul. He believes that for Paul the question of Christ concerns neither his human personality nor his heavenly divinity but rather the historical event, the event which happened because the time was fulfilled.16 That is Bultmann’s Christological actualism. Christology and Christocentrism reduce themselves to the “Christevent.” The person and figure of Christ recede into the background, entirely ‘Justifying the objection that for Bultmann the contact with Christ is merely a matter of neutrality, a mere reference to a fact and an event, rather than a dialogic confrontation with history, which Bultmann so energetically urges and strives for. In such an interpretation Christ ceases to be a person who addresses me and who confronts

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me; he becomes a mere fact of salvation, a mere That of the event of salvation.17 One can also present Bultmann’s Christological conception as follows: Christology is absorbed by soteriology. As evidence for this Bultmann time and again quotes Melanchthon’s famous sentence: Hoc est Christum cognoscere, beneficia eius cognoscere. There still remains however the question whether Bultmann understands these beneficia as the New Testament, Tradition and Melanchthon understand and have understood them. Karl Barth also speaks of the event which has taken place in Christ, but for him the person and the work of Christ are equally important. For him Christology and soteriology do not coalesce into a reductionist unity-soteriology follows from Christology and is embraced by it because the work of Christ is founded in his person. According to Barth, genuine Christology makes legitimate-ontological-statements about the divine and human natures of Christ. Barth acknowledges the explication of the divine-human mystery by the Council of Chalcedon as the authentic interpretation and correct formulation of that which was revealed in the New Testament.18 3. A further example of Bultmann’s actualistic understanding of God’s revelation in Christ is his conception of kerygma. The kerygma, the address, the proclamation is not only the form by which the word and the decisive action of God reaches man, it is also the manner and the means whereby that which happens in Christ, the Christ-happening, can be made present. The kerygma not only has the function of transmitting revelation or of being a confessing witness of the revelation, the kerygma itself is a constitutive part of the revelation. In an essay on “The Significance of the Historical Jesus for the Theology of Paul” Bultmann makes clear that the situation of Paul, who did not know the historical Jesus, is the situation of all believers, who cannot be eye and ear witnesses of the life of Jesus but who want to come to a belief in Jesus. “Jesus Christ meets man nowhere else than in the kerygma, just as he met Paul himself and forced him to a decision. The kerygma proclaims not general truths, a timeless idea, whether it be a God or a savior idea, but rather an historical fact. But it does not do this in the sense of making itself superfluous after it has transmitted the information about this fact to the hearer, as if it had only the role of a transmitter, but rather is itself a part of this fact. It also is true of Christ that he took on sárx not so that a heavenly being might bear doctrine and found a sacred order, but rather because the That, the Here and Now, the facticity of the person, itself, constituted the revelation. But then the kerygma also is neither the bearer of timeless ideas nor the transmitter of historical knowledge, but rather its That, its Here and Now, in which every Here and Now is made present in the summons, is the decisive element. Thus one may not go behind the kerygma, using it as a ‘source’ to reconstruct a ‘historical Jesus’ with his ‘Messias-consciousness,’ his ‘interiorness’ or his ‘heroism.’ That would be the Christòs katà sárka who has passed away. It is not the historical Jesus, but rather Jesus Christ, the one who is preached, who is the Lord.”19 Bultmann repeats the thematic of these sentences in many variations: The past becomes present through the proclamation. The authentic making-present is not the historical recollection and reconstruction, but rather the proclamation.20 Christ meets us in the word of the proclamation, nowhere else.21 The Christ-event is the kerygma-the kerygma is the Christ-event. Thus Karl Barth formulated Bultmann’s intention and thought. It is through the kerygma, which according to Bultmann takes place within the Church hic et nunc,22 that the past which was then an eschatological event becomes an eschatological event in the present and for me. “Eschatological,” then, does not have for Bultmann the meaning of a future happening; rather it means much more the decisive event of the moment in the sense of the Johannine words “Now judgment is passed on the world,” or in the sense of the Pauline words “Now is the day of salvation.” “The nun, in which the preaching resounds, is the nun of the eschatological event itself.23 The parousia in the future-falsely understood-becomes the authentic historical decision in the present.24 We see, therefore, that the actualistically understood revelation corresponds to the ever re-occurring kerygma, which bridges over history and actualistically opens up reality, to the kerygma in which the revelation which takes place at any given moment becomes the eschatological present.

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Today Karl Barth expressly rejects this understanding. Indeed the author of the “Letter to the Romans” had at one time also compressed these times which are clearly separate and distinct in the Bible into the Nunc of the present and thus understood all eschatology as Bultmann understands it, as if the parousia were not to be awaited, but rather were already there, as if the last hour were “not the hour which would have no time following,” but rather as if we stood at that temporal moment on the border of all time, on the border of “qualified” time.25 This interpretation is expressly rejected by Barth today, who characterizes it as a mistaken venture which basically misses the “teleology” of the time.26 Concerning the question of the kerygma, he makes it clear that he can agree completely with a kerygma of the Christevent, but not with a Christevent in the kerygma and through the kerygma.27 Barth does not go so far as to see Bultmann’s interpretation of the kerygma as not only an overemphasis of the kerygma above history, but even a view of the kerygma as a creatively effective power from which the Christ will be brought forth, so that faith in Christ becomes a “faith in the abstract product of an abstract kerygma.28 Rather Barth finds that in the Bultmannian position a disordering, even a reversal of the correct order, takes place. He sees, for example, an order constituted in the question of the cross of Christ: “I see perfectly well that with the cross of Christ in the message of the New Testament there is described an event that is not only historically significant but which, in its temporal uniqueness and concreteness, embraces all time. I do not see that this significance must first accrue to it by a certain development through its entrance into the kerygma and the obedient belief of its hearers. I think rather that I see that it is outlined and described as an event which is significant in itself, which then as such can and should also become significant in the kerygma and for the faith of its hearers. I find the reversal of this order which has taken place in Bultmann’s translation disturbing.”29 4. Now it is time to ask: What happens and what takes place in the revelation, in the word of God, in Christ, in the kerygma? Bultmann’s answer, which is as consistent as it is emphatic, is: Existence happens. The question of existence is raised. Existence is understood and its possibilities are unlocked and opened; existence is decided upon and is realized. According to Bultmann that is the meaning of the ever-recurring “pro me” in the New Testament. What happens in Christ and what takes place in him presents a specific form of the human self-understanding. That is the “distinction of the Christian.” Thus Bultmann in his description of “Primitive Christianity Within a Context of the Antique Religions” can say: “primitive Christianity is at first and from the outside seen as a syncretism. However it receives its unity from the new and unique fundamental understanding of human existence” (p. 199). We will make our understanding of this theological conception easier by recalling the fundamental notion that human existence is founded by God, is bestowed by God and is directed toward God. Augustine’s words “Tu nos fecisti a Te et inquietum est cor nostrum, donec requiescat in Te” are for Bultmann the classical statement of this experience of existence.30 From this there follows for Bultmann two things: “We can then speak of God sensibly only when we speak of ourselves. Every speaking of God outside of this source, outside of existence, leads not to a speaking about God but rather to a speaking about some unnameable and incomprehensible Something. It is at bottom a flight from the real God, an error, a substitution for the true God; it is ultimately atheism. Anyone who fears that human speaking about God from within the existence of man must remain within this existence overlooks the fundamental fact that human existence neither founds itself nor understands itself, but rather that it is God who is the reality who founds and enlightens existence. But the other danger and possibility, that by such a speaking of God the transcendence, the “completely other” of God will be neglected, will be eliminated by the fact that in and through my-worldly and sinful-existence God as the “completely other” will be experienced. That does not mean, of course, that God would be outside of myself and ought to be sought or found there, but rather it means that God “stands over against me as the completely other insofar as I am the world.”31 If however it is true that the comprehension of

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our existence means the comprehension of God, then the converse follows, that God is open and comprehensible for us only in this sense, that he founds, specifies and directs our existence, that he deals with us and speaks to us. “We can speak of him only insofar as we speak of his words which are directed to us, of his actions which are directed to us. Concerning God we can only say what he does to us.”32 From this twofold position we can summarize as follows: I can speak of God only when I speak of myself, when I speak of my own existence. God can only be God when he is my God. God can reveal himself and act only when he does it for and with regard to me. From this it is clear that neither in the transcendence nor in the word of God, nor in Christ and in the Christ-event are we dealing with the revelation of realities which are validly objective in themselves or with eternal truths. Revelation is always much more and essentially revelation concerning existence: in it existence is understood and fulfilled in a very specific sense.33 With this conception, that of the understanding of existence, of the existential possibility and reality, one, indeed perhaps the, fundamental idea of Bultmannian thinking is stated. It is for him the key which opens everything that is and that happens. For in everything there speaks forth a certain understanding of existence or a basic possibility of human existence. And everything that is and that happens has sense and meaning in giving witness to and being the expression of this. In this manner Bultmann is able to give an explanation and interpretation of all human and historical realities, and also all objectifications of the human spirit in culture and religion, ethos, philosophy and science. They all reveal their meaning when they are seen in the context of existential possibilities and realizations. The question concerning their “in themselves,” concerning their content, remains, on the other hand, completely irrelevant; indeed, it leads in a false direction and to a false security. With the key of the “existential” one can open everything, and everything waits for the opening by this key. Without it the world and history remain dumb: “The ultimate meaning of the study of history is however that from it the possibilities of the understanding of human existence are brought to a conscious level.”34 From this position-and only from this position-are the motives and thematic lines of the demythologisization-theology of Bultmann to be understood. This theology attempts to be an interpretation-however, an existential interpretation. This is the “hermeneutical basic principle.” 5. Now there arises the question of which understanding of existence is opened up by the word of God, by his revelation, by his decisive action in Christ in all of which, however, the revelation itself is nothing new, but in which man understands himself anew.35 It is well known that according to Bultmann’s interpretation the understanding of existence in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, is no other than that which is developed in philosophical existential analysis, particularly by Martin Heidegger. Stated in these terms the New Testament says: “The chief characteristic of man’s existence in history is anxiety. Man exists in a permanent tension between the past and the future. At every moment he is confronted with an alternative. Either he must immerse himself in the concrete world of nature, and thus *inevitably lose his individuality, or he must abandon all security and commit himself unreservedly to the future, and thus alone achieve his authentic existence.”36 One sees that the concept of existence in the Bible recognizes man in his inauthenticity as well as in his authenticity. The Bible describes man’s inauthenticity as sin, as world, as transitoriness, as flesh and death. This inauthenticity lives from the visible, the tangible, the things that are at hand, from securities. Because everything visible and tangible is characterized by transitoriness and death, a life built on the tangible is subject to death, to transitoriness and the anxiety which springs therefrom.37 In contrast the real and authentic existence in a life is based on the invisible and intangible, on the liberation and the freedom from everything which apparently gives man security, but which in fact enslaves him. The authentic life, so the Bible states, is a life of faith, where faith means “to freely open one’s life to the future.” It is a life of obedience by renunciation of all security, by the giving up of the

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world, by the giving of oneself over to God, by the desecularization which immediately makes one open for a life of human community, for a life of love. It is this that the New Testament means when it speaks of grace and the forgiveness of sins, of the new life, of the new creature, of the spirit or of the “last things”38-these at basis are all concepts of the authentic and true human existence. The comprehensive description of human existence in its fallen aspect as well as that of authenticity, as presented in biblical revelation, gives it an incomparable significance. One would probably have to agree with Bultmann when he suggests that the philosophical discovery of the existence of man would not have taken place without the New Testament.39 Nevertheless the significance of revelation would shrink to a very doubtful relativity if it consisted only of the fact that here for the first time the existence of man is correctly seen and understood. The distinction between inauthentic and authentic human existence (Dasein) is shared by the Bible and contemporary philosophy. But the decisive difference begins with the question of how the authenticity of human existence, how the liberation of man from himself unto himself should and can take place. Contemporary philosophy is of the opinion that all that is necessary is a manifestation of the lost genuine existence in order to attain authenticity; knowledge about authenticity already gives man power over it. This indeed does not always in fact happen but it is possible at every moment. The revelation of God in the New Testament raises the sharpest objection to this by declaring that man is not in a position to free himself from himself unto himself. According to the view of revelation man in his deepest Self is fallen, and this state of fallenness every movement of man is a movement of fallen man.40 Indeed, the attempt to free man from himself unto himself, the attempt to win authenticity through knowledge of it or through striving for it is nothing other than an expression of the most profound fallenness, the basic, the original sin itself: It is self-dominion, arbitrariness; it is before God an inadmissible “self-glory.”41 The leading of man out of inauthenticity and a lost condition happens not through man, but rather through an act of God which makes man free: through the saving-event which takes place in Christ. “It states that there where man cannot act God acts for him; God has acted for him.” 42 The pledge and security of this is the act of God in Christ. In him the love of God was made manifest and thus a life of freedom, of love and self-giving is possible only because God’s love has preceded our love and has loved us. This is the decisive element which distinguishes the New Testament from contemporary philosophy: “The New Testament knows of an act of God which alone makes possible the self-giving, the faith, the love, the authentic life of man.”43 The act of God culminates in the cross of Jesus Christ. According to Bultmann, the cross puts to man the question of whether he acknowledges the judgment of God upon the condition of fallenness and inauthenticity, whether he will relinquish himself to its security, whether he wishes to glory only in the cross of Christ, because through this cross the world is crucified to him and he to the world, whether he is prepared to take up the cross of Christ as his own and to be crucified with Christ.44 However, the man who wins the freedom that lies therein for himself and for authenticity will be raised up on the cross with Christ (in the Johannine sense)45 and fulfill in himself the resurrection with Christ. And the other way around: resurrection means to attain and to have obtained freedom of oneself. Through the “resurrection” the full significance of the cross will be revealed as the message of death and fife, judgment and resurrection.46 Thus through the historical fact of the cross there is opened up and laid before man a new understanding of his self. At the same time the “historicity” (Geschichtlichkeit) of the cross-that is, according to Bultmann, its existential significance, its meaning “for me”-is thereby illuminated. The historical (Historische) states on the other hand the merely factual unrelated happenings.47

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It is also important to add that the action of God in the cross of Christ can become significant for me only when it is not represented in historical research or artificial reconstruction but rather becomes present hic et nunc in the proclamation. The proclamation belongs to the salvation-event itself: the Christ-event is the kerygma. In the proclamation-and only in it: Verbum solum habemus-the salvation-event becomes present as reality and possibility, as decision and as question. In the proclamation man is challenged and called to a decision: from death to life, from sin to justification, from fallenness to authenticity. In summary: in the revelation of God, in the action of God in Christ there is, according to Bultmann, manifested to us a specific understanding of existence. Existence (Dasein) in its fallenness as well as in its authenticity is thereby discovered. This existence is transferred from the condition of fallenness and death into that of authenticity and life. This happens not by knowledge and action; it happens only through God’s loving action which is made manifest in Christ and which is made present in the proclamation. In Christ the authentic Self of man is understood and realized for the first time. This happens most evidently in the cross of Christ. Here the abandonment to the intangible and the uncertain attains its highest consummation. Thus revelation and kerygma not only give a comprehensive understanding of existence, they also open up the possibility of the transformation of existence into an authentic existence. Man by himself cannot beg genuine, authentic and true man. He can be this only through God-or, to be more precise-through the God who has decisively acted and intervened for man in Christ. According to Bultmann that is the essence of the Christian revelation and therefore also the essence of what theology as existential theology can be. The contrast of these ideas with the theological interpretation of Karl Barth, which really ought to follow here, will be postponed. It will be made quite clear in the treatment of demythologization, to which these investigations are leading. But we should take note of several consequences which flow from Bultmann’s basic theological interpretation: there is-as we have already mentioned briefly-an existential interpretation and translation of the biblical content and fundamental concepts. Sin is arbitrariness and self-glorification on the part of man, a glorying in one’s own power, rebellion and hybris, a wishing to be like God. If however God has founded human existence in its source and goal and if sin resists and denies this truth, then it is a closedness toward God, a godlessness and, existentially viewed, inauthenticity, lost condition, fallenness, death and judgment. Sin is-as seen from another perspective a life based on the things at hand, the tangible, the visible, a life based on works, activities and securities. Therefore it is also worry and anxiety-and worry and anxiety are sin.48 In a similar sense Bultmann can say: “To live in sin means to live in the past.”49 If this is what sin is then salvation and forgiveness of sins is the liberation from the past, which in the forms of the transitory and visible, the world, especially one’s own world, holds man prisoner:50 “The forgiveness of sins means nothing other than the cancellation of the past of man, nothing else than to take him not as he is but as he will be. It means to relieve him of anxiety and thereby make him free for the future.”51 The forgiveness of sins, the thus understood forgiveness of sins, is the great miracle and the only real miracle of which there can be any serious talk. It is the action of God in contradiction to the action of the world. If the miracle is the forbearance of God and his action, and if, as was stated earlier, Bultmann states that God can be spoken of meaningfully only in reference to existence, to speak of the miracle likewise means to speak of existence.52 If the miracle of God is forgiveness, then in the miracle he annuls “our understanding of ourselves as the one who accomplishes, and thus always imbued with the past; in like manner he thereby annuls the character of the world as the working world at our disposal.”53 But from this it also follows that the real miracle is in no way evident or obvious within the world. It is in its essence hidden, for it is real only in existence. A further notion follows thereupon: the life which
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is given to man in the forgiveness of sins, the new life, the life of grace, is nowhere and in no manner something “superhuman,” “supernatural”; rather it is much more the authentic, the human, the genuine and true existence of man. The new creature is the man “who is returned to the authentic human existence as it was created.”54 Thus Bultmann can also say: To be in Christ is not the formula for some kind of a mystical union with Christ; it means that a believer belongs to Christ and that through the fulfilled “eschatological fact” in Christ he has the new life as a historical possibility and is able to attain reality wherever he grasps this life with decision.55 The new life, the life of the Pneuma, is however again a life “which renounces itself in order to live from the future.”56 From all of these statements it is perfectly clear that sin means inauthenticity, the forgiveness of sins and salvation, authenticity, true existence-nothing more and nothing less. Grace is not a supernatural “superadditum,” not a supernatural something specific, but rather the basis which makes it possible for man to find himself again in his lost condition. It is moreover no objective or objectifiable thing, or new form of capability; it is present only as existence (Existenz) and to exist (Existieren), as action and completion. From this it follows that the Christian always can and will appear different,57 and that the “openness of the Christian existence has no limits.”58 From this Bultmann’s understanding of the concept of faith becomes evident; it has been prepared for by what was already stated. Faith never means an intellectual assenting to the truth of objectively certifiable realities or eternally valid verities; it is not a belief in dogmas, it is not a Weltanschauung. Nor is faith ever a possessing or a having, rather it is much more a being taken up into the existential-actualistic movement which permeates the whole of the word of God as revelation and as proclamation. It is the “continual answer to the continually encountered word of God.”59 But because the word of God constantly confronts my existence, faith means a new understanding of existence.60 It is deed and decision in which I become myself and in which I come to myself; it is not something I produce (Werk), “for I am distinct from what I produce.”61 It is only another form of the same thought when Bultmann says that faith means “to open oneself to the future.”62 Or: Faith is the radical renunciation of self-glory, of the desire for recognition through one’s own power and action; faith is “freedom from ourselves as the old Self, for ourselves as the new Self, freedom from the insanity which lies at the root of sin-that we can base our own existence upon our own resolve.”63 Faith is facing the question: “What do you have that you have not received?” It is the surrender to the grace of God and his loving action in Christ.64 Such faith is Christian faith, faith in Christ, not in the sense of a belief in specific Christological dogmas, but rather in the sense of a belief in that which Christ has done for us. And this consists in the fact-and here the circle closes itself again-that “his figure which is encountered in the words of the proclamation and his works set [us] free from the insanity that man from his own power is able to wring an acknowledgment of merit from God.”65 In this sense faith is the renunciation of and a protest against falsified, inauthentic existence and the fallenness of the world. It is “desecularization, correctly understood” not as in the area of ascetics, but rather as detachment from all worldly tangible things. Its key word is the one often quoted by Bultmann (I Cor. 7:29-3 1): “Those who have wives should be as if they had none. Those who weep as if they did not weep, those who rejoice as if they did not rejoice, those who buy as if they had no possessions, those who use this world as if they did not use it for themselves.” Faith as the no to all worldliness, in the sense of its fallen existence, and as renunciation of all

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autonomous and rebellious closedness to God is, as already stated, freedom, obedience, surrender and trust; it is-and by now this is quite clear-the authentic attitude of the authentically existing man. But it is just this existence that is found neither before nor outside of revelation. Therefore the Christian is the authentically human, and the authentically human is the Christian. Faith is the resolve and decision for this. The Christian life, viewed in its ethical perspective, is, according to Bultmann, inspired by the same motives and tendencies and is built along the same lines. If every ethic which asks, What should I do? is a misunderstanding of human existence,66 and if the “Christian” is understood as Bultmann understands it, namely, as indemonstrable existentiality, then there is only one legitimate conclusion: there is no specifically Christian ethos or telos with a specific content or even only a specifically Christian principle which forms life and the world. Therefore all presentations of a Christian community, education, politics are equally illusionary and tangential.67 Were one to designate the Christian ethos as an imperative it would not be motivated or induced by a vision of an ideal, but rather by “the demand which is present in the Now, by a fulfillment of, the obedience to this demand present in the Now.”68 Stated another way: The Christian ethos is always present in its What, but primarily in its “How.” Bultmann makes this clear in the example of the “Christian love of neighbor.”69 According to Bultmann in this command there is no What in the sense of an ethical material principle given, but it is the How concerning action which is indicated: It is a specific practical- historical understanding of the “binding together of I and Thou,” and indeed an understanding of my being bound to my neighbor in the contemporary situation.70 Understanding of the contemporary being bound to one’s neighbor is given in love itself, and it can be grasped only in that love. The love which makes one see is not a What for man, but rather a How for the with-one-another. On the other hand the How of my being bound to my neighbor will be illuminated through this understanding which comes about in love. At the same time what is and should be done from moment to moment is discovered and opened up. This too succeeds not because love reckons with the timeless idea of the human or is oriented toward a value (Güter und Wertethik) ethic. Love reckons much more in terms of the “temporal-historical man whose existence continues from moment to moment, who exists within the context of its possibilities and at every moment must decide for himself whether he win love or not.”71 In this formulation the Christian love of neighbor clearly has several levels. First of all, the essence of love lies in doing, and this is attached to the contemporaneity of the situation and to the concreteness of the neighbor. A demand by love physically presupposes an understanding of the human existence whereby man “wins the real possibility of his being in doing.”72 And its meaning lies not in an attained goal but rather in fulfillment as such. Further, human existence is always a being-with-another, a being which is the I and Thou together. Therefore the commandment to love one’s neighbor is not a complete Novum in the history of mankind; it corresponds to a basic constituent lying in man himself. And finally, through the demand of Christian love, the authentic existence of man is uncovered and summoned to realization. This is not contradicted by the fact that the Christian command of love “means the reversal of the natural man’s way of life,”73 which is concerned with the thrust of the I against the Thou and with the egoistic autonomy and closedness. For this is indeed the original form of sin, of the condition of being lost and of fallenness, and it is by the actualization of love that man should become free from himself unto himself. The decisive and new thing in the Christian commandment to love, however, consists in the fact that love, regardless of how much it is an existential understanding of self, does not attain realization of itself any more than man attains authenticity from his own power or insight. Love as a human possibility is granted only in that it can be an answer to the love which through the action of God in Christ happened and became reality.74 Our love is grounded in a being loved, which meets me as a gift in which my lovelessness is forgiven me, which frees me from “my past which is characterized by hate and which I

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bring into each present moment.”75 Love is possible only “on the foundation of faith, which grasps the forgiveness of sins commanded in the word of God, in which one knows oneself to be loved and to be freed to love.”76 With the thoughts that the love of neighbor is possible only in the love of God, and that not only does love Eve on the basis of faith, but also that faith can persist and be vital only when it issues in love, the circle of Bultmannian considerations is completed. These analyses, especially of faith and love, probably provide a sufficient description of how Bultmann understands Christian existence and life-understands them in terms of the existentiality, especially the authenticity of man. In its structure-this is clear now-all those elements which, according to Bultmann, are characteristic of revelation and the word of God, are caught up: the actualism, the historicity, the “mineness” (“Jemeinigkeit”), the situation, the reduction of the objective as it is given and perceived to existence, the doing and the fulfilling, the turning from “What” to “How.” We have undertaken these analyses within the framework of the differences of the theological conceptions of Barth and Bultmann. Thus, for the sake of cohesion we must present a description and discussion of Karl Barth’s interpretation, which is quite different. Nevertheless, it is not our purpose to attempt to give here an exact comparison of every difference. That is not possible because Barth has not yet expressed himself on all questions of the Christian ethic, nor has he expressed himself on all of the questions brought up by Bultmann here. However, this is not necessary because Barth’s pertinent opinion is expressed in his position taken toward Bultmann’s demythologization theology-and this is the consequence as well as the principle concretion of all the investigations undertaken so far, and even perhaps their secret impetus. Nevertheless, this much can and should be said-and this makes the difference clear between Barth and Bultmann in fundamentals: within the Church Dogmatics Barth discusses the problem of the Christian ethic in general under the theme “The Command of God.”77 Here the question which was rejected by Bultmann is taken up: What should we do? And an answer is sought partly in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which is the foundation of all ethics-how concretely and materially Barth considers this matter in contrast to the existential specification of Bultmann has already been stated. An answer is also sought in the outlining of special ethics in line with the word and the commandment of the Creator which are directed toward man, who is his creature and who in a concretely constituted and differentiated existence asks, What should I do?, who wishes to know what he ought to do. This question can be answered only in relation to God, the Creator, and in relation to man, but in a relationship that not only encompasses a That and a How, but also a What. To be sure, all the action of man stands under the one and only commandment of the one and only God who speaks and works, acts and demands in the historical moment. However, just these “moments are integrated within the divine order”78 and present a “constancy and continuity of the divine commandment.”79 Certainly human action always realizes itself in a fullness of decisions, deeds and omissions, but it is always the “action of the same subject, of man, of this man.” Therefore it likewise stands “within a divine order which persists throughout all the differences of individual cases,” in “a connection that is often very little and often not at all perceptible, but nevertheless certain.” Through this the constancy and continuity of human action is provided. Barth illustrates this contact with a well-chosen image: “Face to face with the ethical question, we have not only to consider a vertical dimension, the event or rather the many events of the encounter between God’s command and human action in a singularity and uniqueness which cannot be anticipated and which scorn regimentation. For these very events all take place-as can be seen both from the divine command and human action-in a definite connection. Only as an event takes place in this connection is it, in all its mystery, the ethical event. Only as the vertical intersects a horizontal can it be called vertical. We have thus to consider the horizontal as well, and therefore the constancy and continuity both of the divine command and human action.”80

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6. In connection with this analysis of the differences between Barth and Bultmann one last point remains to be discussed: it is the problem of the connection, which we have already mentioned when discussing the common presuppositions of the two theologians. At that time we established that Barth as well as Bultmann rejects every sort of contact point existing within the world, history, and man’s nature for the salvific work of God as well as for the Christian faith in revelation. The presentation of the Bultmannian analyses of sin and redemption, grace, faith and love as forms of human existence has indicated that what is Christian is human and what is human is Christian, and that the roots of one are deep in the other and how great the mutual illumination is. Nevertheless, there is no contradiction between the two lines of thought. A solution of the apparent discrepancy lies in seeing that for God’s word and work there is absolutely no presupposition or point of contact in the sense of a natural, content-containing disposition, or a human capability, for example in the manner of the “potentia oboedientialis”-in this Bultmann intends to make no revisions. However this thesis is supplemented by the other, namely, that there is an understanding of revelation and faith-how closely for Bultmann these two phenomena, faith and understanding, lie! They are his theological program, as is indicated by the subsuming of all his essays under this title. If this is true, however, then there is a pre-understanding of the Christian. But this pre-understanding can never be a content-containing sort, a knowledge which can be possessed-even for the reason that faith and understanding move not in the area of the material but rather in that of fulfillment, because, this is always presupposed, the new and the specific in God’s revelation lies not in the What but rather in the That, and because “to speak of God means to speak of man.” The pre-understanding of the Christian can only be an understanding of existence, and through this an understanding of all Christian-because human-actualities. “The fact that the Christian proclamation, when it confronts a man,, can be understood indicates that he has a pre-understanding of it. For to understand something means to understand it in its relationship to oneself, to understand the understanding person, to understand oneself with or in it.”81 From this it is also seen that disbelief is not a rejection of articles of belief, but rather a special manner of existence, “the characteristic manner of existing of the natural man,” a closedness. Faith however grants an understanding which casts out and substitutes for all previous understanding. For this reason, as a further conclusion, all previous understanding contains a pre-understanding. “While it is senseless to speak of an organ in man for the divine, of a point of contact for revelation, it is also, on the other hand, just as foolish to argue against the pre-understanding of faith given in the old existence and its self-understanding; for this in itself is a manner of existence and of the self-understanding given along with it. just because faith is this and, as this, places the old self-understanding in question, it is itself an understanding, and it understands revelation. It is specifically in the fact that man is a sinner that the possibility for him to come to God lies. Revelation could only place in question what stands in question. It actualizes the questionableness in which human existence with its natural self-understanding already stands, a questionableness which does not mean a dogmatic labeling of this existence, but rather as the eerieness (Unheimlichkeit) of existence pervades it. The functional work of a natural theology would be to discover how much the existence of the unbeliever and his self-understanding is dominated and motivated by their questionableness, which as such becomes apparent only with the believing understanding of existence.”82 It is only a variation of this when Bultmann explains in another connection: The sin of man, or man in his entire existence, man as a contradiction of God, is the point of contact for God, for his word and work. In addition, because the contradiction must be understood, it is the language of man that is the point of contact for the word of God; “the result of interpretation, which its contradiction against God and the question concerning authenticity has found, is the point of contact.”83 If we wish also to sketch the counter position of Karl Barth in this question, the following must be noted-and this is something other than simply a theological conception different from Bultmann’s: Bultmann developed his specific understanding of the presupposition and the point of contact from the beginning, as we attempted to show. Thus the fact that he always differs from Barth cannot be veiled even

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by the jointly held thesis of presuppositionlessness. Since the Barth of the “Letter to the Romans” had in this question recognized no positive quality, he must consequently reject the Bultmannian understanding even more radically than, for example, that of Emil Brunner, because with all of its emphasis on the verbum solum, the fides sola and the gratia sola, too much is still left to a necessary pre-understanding. The great change in Barth’s theology from dialectic to analogy-to be sure, not to an analogia entis, but rather to an analogia fidei-also remains important and decisive in this question. It lies in the creatureliness which Barth sees anew and affirms in Christology as a fundamental structure of the world and human reality, which even sin cannot do away with. Creation, Barth explains, must not be dissolved that revelation may take place; it is revelation’s presupposition. The Barth of the Church Dogmatics sees a most express affirmation and acknowledgment of creation in the Incarnation.84 When God becomes man in Christ an acknowledgment of nature and creation is expressed, and the possibility of union between God and the world is made certain. Before God there is a valid duality: God and man. This “and” is theologically legitimate and is no longer sin and hybris. Man in his differentness from God should exist;85 the Incarnation is the divine yes to man. Thus the rejection of the human is itself to be rejected. So strongly is the “human” the presupposition of the revelation of God that took place in Christ that Barth declares: “The fact that man exists only in the company of fellow man is a genuine presupposition of Jesus’ becoming our brother.”86 With this the concept of nature takes its place alongside that of actuality as a theological concept of equal importance. Nature becomes a pointing toward and preparation for the Incarnation. Creation is the basis which makes redemption possible. A mixing of the two orders does not thereby follow so that creation becomes redemption, and anthropology becomes Christology. Creation is not a constitutive part, but rather a presupposition, of redemption: “One must consider that which is presupposed (Vorausgesetzte) in the light of the action (Setzung), but one must not thereby identify the two.” It therefore follows ultimately that man as a creature is a partner of God. He is capable of making a covenant; he has the power of responsibility and the possibility of being responsible. This genuine partnership is based on the fact that man is the brother of Jesus Christ. The positiveness of human nature goes so far that Barth characterizes godlessness as an “ontological impossibility.”87 This ontic factual situation becomes a model of the noetic. Faith is the a priori of all human attitudes toward God which is set forth by the word of God. But within faith a genuine understanding and a true knowledge is possible, even a knowledge of God from nature; within it it is also meaningful and justified to speak of a potentia oboedientialis, indeed even of an analogia entis. It is not possible to pursue these thoughts further within the framework of the questions raised by this theme. However, it is clear that the difference from Bultmann which had been visible from the beginning developed in a completely new direction, overcoming not only the original purely negative radicalness and radical negativeness of Barth himself, but also the Bultmann’s persisting conception, which is merely a fulfillment of the existential. Let us now review the position we have attained in our discussion. We have attempted to analyze the theological conceptions of Barth and Bultmann in order to bring out what they hold in common and what is peculiar to each. The uniqueness of this confrontation which we have described becomes clear once again in the question which has become widely known because of Bultmann and which is indissolubly associated with his name: the question of demythologization. In this question, as we have indicated several times, the various theological lines which determine Bultmann’s thinking are concentrated. Here a test, a sample, as it were, is made and characteristically shows to what consequences and results the initial position of existential theology leads. On the other hand, Karl Barth’s response to the theology of demythologization illuminates his own theological position clearly.

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III
The Theology of Demythologization
Both the followers and the opponents of the theology of Bultmann are of the opinion that the word “demythologization,” which was coined and is used by Bultmann as an expression of his theological goal, is an unfortunate and unsuitable term. For it embraces only a part of his intention-and this in a negative manner. Bultmann is really concerned not so much with an elimination as he is with an interpretation of the mythical. If that is true, however, then the term demythologization is false, for the notion of elimination is definitely contained in it, and the elimination and interpretation of the myth certainly exclude each other.1 On the other hand Bultmann retains the terminology he once coined not only for reasons of tradition and attachment to a fixed terminology, but also for the substantive reason that his interpretation does in fact to a large extent lead to the elimination of the previous understanding. The approach to Bultmann’s demythologization is not too terribly difficult on the basis of what has been said so far. The existential theological principle makes this program an obvious necessity and a foregone conclusion. 1. To speak of God means, for Bultmann, to speak of man. There is no other way for the understanding and the pre-understanding of the word of God than the path through and over existence. God’s word is essentially a challenge and appeal to man, and indeed to the man living his existence and deciding it in himself. God’s revelation as a sin-forgiving action in Christ is an act of God for me, and this means the turning point and reversal in the understanding of existence, and, more yet, the realization of the authentic, free, opened-to-God existence. Faith is a new understanding of existence and a new realization of existence. Christian existence and life does not mean some sort of qualified supernatural existence, but rather the fulfillment of authenticity. Thus all theological questions and possibilities are concentrated in the question of existence, its understanding, and its fulfillment in the face of the alternatives: inauthenticity-authenticity. From the starting point of this a priori it is fore-ordained that the decisive action of God, which is characterized as revelation, must be examined and interpreted in terms of the existence of man. Indeed, it cannot be understood or explained in any other way. Bultmann’s theology of demythologization is fundamentally based on this existential motive and is the application of this principle to the individual and the concrete. To this theological a priori as a motive and explanation of demythologization there is added a hermeneutical principle.2 From Bultmann’s decisive fundamental rule it follows that every form of interpretation presupposes a relationship and common ground between the author and the exegete of a text, and is possible really only on this common ground. This however is set up when there is a common relation to the same question, and this in turn is present when man and his existence are in question. In fact, in writings, especially of philosophy, of poetry and religion, the problem is not the transmission of doctrines and facts, but rather of the question about man, about the possibility and reality of his existence which appears in them. History is the area of possible and actual existence, and all historical phenomena and documentation speak of man as a stated question and a sought-for-answer. From this it follows that the understanding of “something” is always an understanding “of myself,” that to understand “something new” means nothing other than to understand oneself anew.3 In the examination of text I myself am examined. The question about existence succeeds only when I am engaged with the greatest vitality and participation, with the most intense existential involvement. Therefore the greatest subjectivity guaranteescorrectly understoodthe greatest objectivity.4 At this point the connection between the existentiell and the existential comes up, necessarily so: “It is clear that existential analysis is grounded in existentiell questions of existence. How else than in the existentiell agitation should it know about existence?”5 There is here no confusion of
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existential and existentiell-according to Bultmann and his disciples a constant source of misunderstanding-but rather their extremely close coordination is clarified: the existential is grounded in the contact with the existentiell; the existentiell is grounded in the existential. If we return to the question of interpretation, we must first formulate the ever recurring question: What interpretation of existence underlies all statements?6 The guarantee of a correct interpretation is given when all historical events are understood “as the possibility in which existence is grasped and expressed.”7 To this there must be added the further important notion that the historical, real possibilities of existence are always at the same time possibilities of my own existence, and therefore can only be understood when they are so understood: the possibilities of historical existence are the possibilities of the one understanding them.8 From this it follows that the exegete and interpreter of the biblical writings can be subject to no other limitations of understanding than the interpreter of any other literature is,9 that, however, he must submit to these limitations if his work is to be legitimate. He must realize his possibility of existence and grasp a possibility of himself in the exegesis. The degree of understanding of an exegete corresponds to the degree of his openness to his own existence.10 The understanding itself-Bultmann uses Heidegger’s words here-is something existential:11 Human existence is characterized not only by the fact that man is, but also that he can understand and explain his existence. Thus closes the circle of existence and understanding, understanding and existence. If this is true, however, then Bultmann, in face of the accusation that he succumbs intolerably to modern existential philosophy, and thereby measurers theology by a criterion which is foreign to it, can give an emphatic explanation:12 Because in existential philosophy the central concern is nothing other than the effort to “develop with appropriate conceptualization the understanding of existence that is given with human existence,” and because every interpretation can intend and attempt to be nothing other than an understanding of existence, the philosophy of existence is extraordinarily suitable to support the efforts and work of the theologian, methodologically to enrich it, and to explain it. A theologically important objection could be constructed only if existence-philosophy “postulated a material ideal of existence; in other words, if philosophy would prescribe to man: “Thus should you exist.” However, it says to him only: “You should exist”if that does not already say too much. Perhaps it would be better stated: It shows him what to exist means. It shows him that in distinction to all other modes of being, the specifically human form of being (Sein) means to exist. This form of being is entrusted to itself and has to assume responsibility for itself. It shows him that the existence of man becomes authentic only in existing, that it realizes itself, therefore, only in the constantly occurring concrete Here and Now. It does not attempt, however, to create the existentiell understanding of the Here and Now by means of existential analysis; it does not take this away from man, but rather it places it before him.”13 Thus the contact with existence-philosophy undertaken by Bultmann is not an unwarranted concession to the spirit of the times, which perhaps finds its expression specifically in this philosophy. The question of opportuneness or inopportuneness is unimportant here; the task is demanded by the substance of the problem. And it is just this problem which is examined by the existential philosophical analysis of human existence, and finds its articulation in it. Of course, Bultmann does not hide the fact that there is a rare coordination between the message of the existence philosophy and that of revelation. For Bultmann, Martin Heidegger’s analysis of human existence appears “to be only a profane philosophical presentation of the New Testament view of Man”14-we have already referred to this. This similarity, however, leads Bultmann to the avowal: “I believe one should rather be shocked that philosophy of itself already sees what the New Testament

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says.”15 Let us therefore discuss further the relationship of philosophy as “existential analysis” to faith and to theology. When the two meet each other in the question about the existence of man and also show an astonishing similarity in their answer to it, then they enter into, as Bultmann opportunely formulates it, a certain competition.16 We have already stated, of course, that the newness of the Christian faith nevertheless retains its position above the other, and indeed in the decisive That of the realization of the authentic existence. Still, this competition is in no way a disadvantage for philosophy and theology, but rather is of the greatest relevance and fruitfulness. The philosophical analysis of human existence does not exhaust itself in the fact that it has created categories which theology can or must take over-otherwise theology would be totally unable to speak-nor even in that it supposedly describes unbelieving existence, while theology explains believing existence. One cannot separate the two modes of human existence like two objects:17 all possibilities of human existence, including those proceeding from belief and unbelief, can be seen and described by philosophical as well as theological analysis. Philosophical analysis, therefore, can recognize faith and specify it as a possibility of human existence. Because philosophical analysis recognizes that human existence is a matter of concern for faith, and describes its horizon within human existence, its work, theologically viewed, is a pre-understanding of Christian existence. And because in the pre-Christian existence there is a “not-knowing knowledge of God,”18 the philosophical analysis even contains a pre-understanding of the Christian proclamation. However, the fact that the philosophical analysis has this character of the pre-understanding of the Christian and of the believing human existence, that it sees the fundamental structure of existence as constituted by faith and unfaith, that it thereby gains something “New,” is due to theology. On the other hand philosophical analysis presents theology with a constant task. For the analyses of faith and Christian existence can be conducted only from the perspective of pre-believing or unbelieving human existence. Faith is a Christian act and as such is always a concrete decision of the moment, that is, faith is always only an overcoming of unbelief; for, as man, the believer always comes from unbelief and always stands within the paradox of “I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.” Thus faith and the development of the understanding of faith-and this is exactly what theology is-can “become explicit only in a constant dialogue with a natural understanding of human existence”19-and this is what happens in philosophy. From this there follows one last consequence, and Bultmann does not hesitate to draw it, even if at first it appears to be a paradox. Indeed, the paradox is the sigillum veri et falsi. Theology, on the basis of its presuppositions and its demands, must, “in that it uses the philosophical analysis of human existence and completes the movement of the philosophizing, consciously complete a movement of unbelief.”20 It is a movement of unbelief which springs from faith. We see that Bultmann’s theology of demythologization is a consequence of a fundamental existential starting point of his theology and a fundamental existential orientation of his hermeneutic, which is to be applied to all historical texts and documents, especially such as lie before us in the Old and New Testaments.21 These have never interpreted themselves at bottom other than existentially; therefore they can never be understood other than existentially. Demythologization, therefore, as an existential interpretation-we return here to what was said earlier-is a demand of faith itself and a consequent following through of “the doctrine of justification by faith alone without the works of the law into the area of knowledge.”22 2. A further very important motive for Bultmann’s theology of demythologization is the phenomenon of the myth itself. Bultmann has attempted to produce the evidence in his numerous

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exegetical, historical-critical, and history of religion studies, especially in the History of the Synoptic Tradition, to demonstrate that the New Testament is permeated with a fullness of mythical elements and presentations which for the most part stem from the Hellenistic gnosis or the Jewish Apocalyptic. We need not go into details in this connection. However, it would be well to discuss briefly what Bultmann understands by myth and how, according to Bultmann, myth understands itself. Although the identification of myth and the unhistorical-and unhistorical means that in fact something did not take place and is not certifiable as fact 23-is made by Bultmann, myth nevertheless is in no way identical with ideology or even with deception and lies. Myth is much more a manner of presentation and a form of imagery in which “the other-worldly is expressed in terms of this world and the divine in terms of human life, what is above in terms of what is here below. For example, God’s transcendence is expressed as spacial distance; it is a manner of presentation which makes it easy to understand the cultus as an action in which nonmaterial powers are transmitted by material means.”24 “Myth is a report of a happening or event in which supernatural, superhuman forces or persons are active; it is, therefore, often simply defined as a history of gods.”25 In myth the world and the men in it are revealed in all dimensions and horizons, are disposed to divine as well as satanic influences. All deeds and activity in the world, but especially in human existence, are a result of the meeting and interplay of earthly, supra-earthly and infra-earthly powers. Such a manner of thinking-the mythical-is thus the opposite of the scientific manner of thinking; it is a naive, primitive, unscientific, uncritical thinking that is characterized not so much by its results as by its method.26 Bultmann now establishes that the world view which dominates the New Testament, the three-storied schema, is mythical,27 and that the presentation of the saving events in Christ is stated in a mythological language. We cannot and need not go into details here-there is, for example, the question of the pre-existence of Christ, the virgin birth, the resurrection, the ascension and second coming, the miracles, the powers, the demons, the presentation of the divine activity in the world and to man, such as atonement and vicarious satisfaction, as the freeing from death and sin, as grace and new life.28 All this is only a fulfillment and application of the principle. Much more important is the question of the meaning and intention of myth. According to Bultmann, myth does not intend to present an objective world picture, but rather to express in its language how man understands himself within his world. “The myth should not be interpreted cosmologically but rather anthropologically-better yet existentially.”29 Its intention is to illustrate that the world and life have their foundation and their limits in “a power which lies beyond human competence and disposal-in a transcendent power.”30 This existential intention of myth, however, does not find expression in the forms and categories of mythical thought itself, because myth speaks of the transcendent power in an inadmissible manner, because it understands only in a worldly manner and therefore cannot give expression to the “unworldly” of the divine but rather can speak only in a worldly and human manner; the divine then appears completely other than it is thought and intended. Therefore the myth contains within itself the motive for a critique of itself insofar as its genuine purpose is to speak of a transcendent power to which the world and man are subject and which is restricted and hidden by the objectifying character of the myth’s narrative.”31 From this it is clear that demythologization has several meanings. First there is the “elimination” or destruction of the mythological, insofar as this is a literally understood form of statement, an objectifying category. However, the meaning and intention of myth is specifically revealed by this elimination, “by the intention to speak of man’s existence in its basis in and limitation by a transcendent, unworldly power. Negatively stated, demythologization is a critique of the world image of the myth insofar as this camouflages the real intention of the myth. Positively stated, demythologization is an existential interpretation insofar as it alms at making clear the intention of the myth, which is to speak of man’s existence.”32

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Demythologization is, accordingly, a service to myth. In it myth is better understood than the myth can understand itself. When demythologization is applied to the New Testament its alms and message will come into their own. It is impossible to think of a greater legitimization of demythologization than that afforded by myth itself. 3. It is not only because of the mythical elements of the New Testament that demythologization, in the sense of an existential interpretation, is demanded, but also, according to Bultmann, because of the clearly demonstrable imbalances and contradictions within the New Testament-for example, the constantly felt dualism in which man is on one hand “understood as a cosmic being” and on the other as an “autonomous ego who is able to win or lose himself in decision.” Further contradictions, according to Bultmann, are the presentation of the death of Christ as sacrifice and as cosmic event, the interpretation of his person as the second Adam and as Messias, pre-existence and the virgin birth, the creation belief and the notion of the ruler of the world and the “God of this eon.”33 These incongruities cannot be meant literally, and still less can they objectively exist as such. Only within the horizon of existential understanding will they be removed and at the same time will their real meaning be laid open. Indeed, according to Bultmann, the precedent of demythologization, in the sense of existential interpretation, is already evident within the New Testament. Thus, in not a few expressions of the Pauline understanding of faith, faith means “de-secularized existence,” “to have passed over from death into life,” to renounce all ability to prove something.34 This process is even more clearly evident in the gospel according to St. John. Here eschatology and parousia are freed from their mythical location in the future and are understood as an always present happening; likewise, they are not viewed as a cosmic event, but rather the decision vital to man, the decision between faith and unbelief, which from moment to moment is taking place wherever the word of the judgment of God is being proclaimed: in the eschatological “Now.” “Now is judgment passed on the world.”35 4. We must record one final element which is also a motive for the Bultmannian demythologization. The presentations as well as the critiques of Bultmann’s goals speak almost exclusively of it: it is the conflict between the mythical world picture of the Bible and the world picture of the present, which is formed by the natural sciences and technology. For Bultmann two facts are definite: the world picture of the present is irrevocable. We know its scope and can comprehend it scientifically. The laws of nature reveal the stability, the order and closedness of the world. This world picture determines our entire feeling of being; we live from it. We cannot deny it because it stands in contradiction to the world picture of the Bible. Rather, there follows from the world picture of the natural sciences a necessary And absolutely inevitable critique of the mythical world picture and its mythological statements and definitions. There all fall under the Bultmannian statement: “...they are finished.”36 Every attempt to take over the mythical world picture or to re-pristinate it is as impossible as it is senseless. It sets up a completely unnecessary difficulty that no one need accept and which only obscures or makes impossible the unavoidable real objection.37 “Because demythologization by its critique of the world picture of the Bible disposes of the difficulty which this picture necessarily poses for modern man, it lays open the genuine difficulty which meets modern man, as well as every man, in the Bible.”38 In the face of all appearances, all demonstrability and worldliness, a place for faith, and the “nevertheless” demanded by it, should be provided by means of demythologization. If this is so, can there be a more important theological and pastoral goal than this one, and is not the present hour charged with this in a special measure and suited to it? The second conflict between the Bible and the present-and Bultmann considers this still more important-grows out of the self-understanding of modern man. According to Bultmann, it consists in the fact that modern man understands himself as a “unified being who ascribes to himself his perception, thinking and willing,”39 which is contained in himself, independent and responsible, and knows himself to

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be free from the influence of strange powers or from the interference of demonic or “supernatural” forces. From this unrelinquishable situation of modern man there develops another critique of the New Testament, and particularly of the statements cast in mythological categories, such as those concerning Pneuma and sacrament, death as punishment for sin, the doctrine of vicarious satisfaction through the death of Christ, or the resurrection of Christ.40 Were all of these statements to be taken literally, objectively and objectifiably, they would become for the man of the present and his self-understanding something impossible to accomplish: therefore they must be demythologized. This cannot be accomplished, however-and here we plunge again into the heart of Bultmann’s theology-by making a selection or a reduction, for a satisfactory criterion of doing this does not exist; it also cannot be done by making a distinction between the shell and the kernel, following the method of liberal theology; still less useful is a spiritualistic allegory of the New Testament, or the procedure which is common in the history of religion school-the viewing of the essence of Christianity as its religious content “whose high point is a mystique which knows itself to be one with Christ in whom God has symbolically taken a form.”41 In all these attempts there is a demythologization which exhausts itself in elimination and negation, which-and this is incomparably more serious-”eliminates kerygma as kerygma, that is as the message of the decisive action of God in Christ.”42 With this, however, the specifically Christian has been surrendered. Bultmann’s theology of demythologization as an existential interpretation stands in clear contrast to this. It accomplishes two things: it avoids an unnecessary conflict situation between the biblical and the modern world, and at the same time opens up a clear path to the message of the New Testament. It alone is able to bring out what this message, regardless of clothing or form, wishes to and does say in mythological speech and kerygma to man who is always raising questions concerning himself: God has decisively acted in Christ-and all this has happened for me. Thus, Bultmann can rightly declare: in the question of demythologization the concern is by no means about the problem of the mythical or the modern world picture. If demythologization as an existential interpretation critically interprets the world picture of the Scriptures, which is impossible to accept today, its aim in this is to make the meaning of the Scriptural statements clear, to “free them from the abstractness of an objectifying thought-the objectifying thought of the myth- not, of course, in order to give them over to the abstractness of the objectifying thought of science. Rather, demythologization aims at gaining an understanding of the Scriptures that is free from every world picture as it is sketched by objectifying thought, be it that of the myth or that of science. The statements of the Scriptures which speak from existence to existence do not have to justify themselves in the form of an objectifying science, which is entirely incapable of focusing on existence.”43 To this must be added: the task of demythologization “was first of all called for by the conflict of the mythological world picture of the Bible with the world picture which is formed by scientific thought.” However, an intensive penetration into God’s revelation and into the faith ordered to it quickly leads one to recognize that “demythologization is a demand of faith itself. For this requires liberation from the restrictions of every world picture which objectifying thought sketches, be it the thought of myth, be it the thought of science. That conflict indicates that faith has not found forms of expression suitable to it, that it has not become aware of its own indemonstrability, that it has not sufficiently grasped the transcendence and hiddenness of the divine action because it has misunderstood its own ‘Nevertheless’ and attempts to objectify God and God’s action within the sphere of the world. The mounting of the critique based on the modern world picture against the mythological picture of the Bible and the traditional ecclesiastical proclamation performs a great service to faith by recalling it to a radical concentration on its own self. It is just this call that a demythologization wishes to follow.”44 From this it is clear that a criticism against Bultmann based on the problematic of either the modern natural science world picture or the modern existential philosophy entirely misses his deepest intention. 5. The analysis of the motives which lead Bultmann to the conception of demythologization would
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not be complete if notice were not taken of the fact that this theologian is deeply motivated not only out of scientific, historical-critical, exegetical, philosophical and theological considerations, but also because of pastoral and missionary goals. Bultmann is concerned about the alienation of the times and of the men of the times from the word of God and Christian faith. He is of the conviction that the decisive reason for this alienation lies in the inadequate or false transmission of the message of the revelation of God and in the false understanding of what it is all about. Therefore, in his opinion, the decisive thing is to bring the Christian message once again within the hearing of contemporary man, and to make revelation so understandable that it will confront man, that he will be summoned and engaged by it. To this end, it can be allowed or commanded that some presentations be revised and that some traditions and customs which apparently were indissolubly bound up with revelation be done away with, so that the confrontation of man with the word of God in faith, that the decision of man in the face of revelation and its necessarily concomitant scandal, can be brought to pass. The same goal can be also formulated like this: Bultmann’s concern is to translate the revelation of the word of God-which is bound to a specific world of thought, presentation and expression-into a different, a new language, into the language which contemporary man understands, and in which he is able to comprehend what is meant and desired by the revelation of the word of God. Contemporary man is in the position of the chamberlain from Ethiopia (Acts 8: 3 Off.). He holds the text in his hands and to the question, “Do you understand what you read?” he answers, “How could I without someone to guide me?” Bultmann therefore considers it a challenge of the hour to take cognizance of this de facto lack of understanding, or loss of understanding, and to do everything to prepare the way for the confrontation of man with revelation. It is clear that the goal of Bultmann is the ever present goal of theology, of proclamation and pastoral care. No one should or can doubt the earnestness and integrity of this intention. Now we can feel that the motives and origin, the meaning and significance, the goals and results of Bultmann’s demythologization theology are sufficiently outlined. No one can escape from the conciseness, the consistency, the theological and pastoral sincerity which speak in the words and work of Bultmann, which are both the gift and task, question and the answer of theology to the present hour. Bultmann’s “Reply to His Critics”45 has only emphasized and intensified this position. It has made it impossible to mislocate the discussion and criticism on the periphery, or to place them in a false context. Everything is concentrated on demythologization as existential interpretation. This is in the meaning of myth and mystery, of word and text; it is in the fulfillment of the still not completely fulfilled Reformation goal, which in “dialectical theology” broke through with an irresistible force: verbum solum, fides sola, gratia sola; it is its fulfillment on the level of knowledge. The way is now cleared for a further question. Within the framework of our theme and in connection with it there still remains the investigation into the manner in which Karl Barth, the authoritative founder of dialectical theology, reacted to Bultmann’s theology of demythologization, and whether he was able to see in it what Bultmann intended: the consistent and concentrated cleaving to the goals of dialectical theology, and thus of the Scriptures and Reformation, which impelled the two theologians from the very beginning.

IV
Karl Barth and the Theology of Demythologization
Barth has repeatedly expressed himself on the theory and theology of Bultmann. He has done so first of all in the Church Dogmatics1 in the section on creation, and more specifically in the part on “theological anthropology” where there is a discussion of “man in his time.” These considerations are introduced with the theme “Jesus the Lord of Time”: “As a man of his time Jesus is the Lord Of time.”2
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According to Barth it cannot be doubted that the New Testament viewed everything that it had to say concerning Jesus as “a companion in and Lord of time” in the light of the “Easter narrative” and the “Easter time.” The narrative concerning the period following the earthly life of Jesus, the Easter narrative, which the “Gospel of the Forty Days” proclaims, is not some addendum to the main section; it is the main section itself. The New Testament proclamation of Jesus stands in the light of the Easter facts, which, according to Barth, contain everything, while everything else without Easter “would exist as an abstraction in the air.”3 One could, he believes, conceive of a New Testament that contained only the Easter message and Easter narrative, “but never one which did not contain them.” It is in this connection that Barth speaks of how Bultmann understands the Easter event in a demythologized and existentially interpreted manner. It is clear that a single question calls for Barth’s taking of a position. But it is just this question which leads Barth into essentials and forces him to present a number of thoughts in the form of principles. In this he proceeds from the observation that is as correct as it is important: that Bultmann, as well as being an exegete, is also and above all a systematic theologian, so that there is “hardly a text in whose handling certain axioms of his thought do not become visibly so dominating that everything depends on the question of their validity.”4 Barth first of all recalls Bultmann’s understanding of the Easter event: The Easter narrative is transmitted in a mythical form and dress. Existentially it is the first narrative of faith: It proclaims the faith of the disciples in God’s action in Jesus which is completed as the saving event in the cross of Christ and which should be characterized in its significance for salvation by the Easter event. “The deed of God was thereby identical with the fact that they believed. That it happened, the fact that they believed, is the real content of the Easter narrative, of the Easter time; it is the content of the Christian proclamation, the basis for the existence of the Church and of the sacraments. Jesus himself of course did not rise again. In its simple, unqualified sense this statement cannot be made maintained.”5 Barth declares on the contrary that the statement concerning the resurrection of Christ is valid specifically in its simple sense; “in this sense and in no other is it the central statement of the whole New Testament witness. Thus Jesus himself is risen and has appeared to his disciples, and this is the content of the Easter narrative, of the Easter time, of the Christian faith and the Christian proclamation, at that time and for all time.” It is not the faith of the disciples that is the primary decisive deed of God, but rather the factual resurrection of Christ from the dead. The content of faith holds this fact; it is belief in the risen one. However, Christ himself is the risen one only through and by means of the resurrection. Temporally and materially the fact of the resurrection of Christ precedes faith; indeed, without this fact faith is entirely impossible. The same is true for the aftermath of the resurrection of the Lord in the life of one who believes in Christ, the risen one. “Therefore Jesus and his disciples are not one but two things in the Easter event.”6 Barth sums up his considerations in the sentence: “The rise of the Easter faith is a good thing but we should not allow ourselves to be persuaded that this could properly be a substitute for what is now rejected as the ‘mythical’ witness of the Jesus Christ who rose from the dead.”7 In connection with this Barth develops several principles which also serve as a prolegomena to a future theological discussion with Bultmann. For the most part he casts them in the form of questions. There is for instance the question of whether there is an irrevocable modern world picture formed by science which contradicts the biblical and is so superior to it that it can bind and oblige us in our decisions concerning the concrete contents of the Bible. The same is true of the “situation of modern man” which is affirmed by Bultmann, and which leads to a mandatory, self-engendering critique of the New Testament.8 Another question is whether one would have to reject a statement because it “has its possibility and its place in the mythical world of the past” and therefore could not be true. Barth characterizes such a procedure as a “catastrophe policy.” More important than these objections-and concerning their importance and their significance we have already expressed ourselves-are several others: Can one affirm a theological statement as valid only

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when it can be shown to be a constitutive element of Christian understanding of human existence? Barth finds here an anthropological dilemma in which theology and exegesis are of help. He does not argue against the notion that a Christian confession relates itself to human existence, lays down a special understanding of existence and effects a specific definition of existence, but, in his opinion, that is not the primary tendency nor the chief intention of the New Testament. The New Testament confesses, “from the beginning, the being and action of God who is different from man but who confronts him-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”9 Barth pursues in this direction the further question of whether one can acknowledge a temporal event as having really taken place only if one can give evidence for it with the means and methods of modern historical scholarship. He answers that there could be events “which much more certainly really happened in time than all those which the historian is able to document as such.” “It is based on a superstition that only the historically verifiable could take place in time.”10 Barth adds to this that it is not only to modern man with his specially situated world picture and self-understanding that the Easter message seems incredible. From the very beginning it appeared no less incredible to the disciples of Jesus than it did to the educated men on the Areopagus. This is in the very nature of God’s action in time and history and in the constitution of man as he was, is and will be. Man always defends himself against the intervention and interdiction of God. Time and again he succumbs to the temptation to adapt God’s action to human possibilities or to subject it to worldly standards. In this unconscious-uncritical as well as the conscious-critical thought-according to Hartlich and Sachs that is the distinctive note between mythical and modern thinking11-agree with a noteworthy concordance. They form the a priori of man in general, in comparison with which distinctions of any other kind are of extremely secondary significance. The ideas and considerations of Barth concerning the question of demythologization that have been sketched so far are so important that they require a still more penetrating development and a deeper foundation. For within his Church Dogmatics they appear too much in the form of merely affirmed theses rather than well-based, defended, and certified theses; they still leave too many holes open and too many questions unclarified. Bultmann himself12 and most notably Christian Hartlich and Walter Sachs13 have called attention to this with great acerbity and have not been sparing in their very critical objections. Because of this and because of the matter itself a further response on the part of Karl Barth was absolutely demanded. He gave it in his own study: Rudolf Bultmann. Ein Versuch ihn zu verstehen.14 In addition, Barth wrote volume IV, 1, of his Church Dogmatics, which contains the doctrine of reconciliation with, as he expressly emphasized, Bultmann constantly in mind. Barth describes his attempt to understand Bultmann as follows: we should speak neither for nor against nor really about Bultmann, “but rather, if I may so express it, along side of or around him.”15 Consequently Barth follows Bultmann’s fundamental lecture “New Testament and Mythology. The Task of Demythologizing the New Testament Proclamation,”16 I and proceeds with him step for step. Time and again Barth stops short in his passage and asks-of himself and others and probably also Bultmann-have I understood Bultmann correctly up to now? The caution of this careful procedure allows Barth to state with justice that Bultmann, whose theological program is called “Faith and Understanding,” is very definitely not an easily understood author; he is as difficult and perhaps even more difficult than the authors of the New Testament. “No, I know of no theological author who speaks so much of understanding and who appears to have so many occasions when he must complain that he himself has been misunderstood.”17 Barth attempts first and foremost to provide clarity concerning exegesis, which is so determinative for Bultmann. Barth begins by trying to focus on the center of Bultmann’s efforts. He sees this center in Bultmann’s conception which understands the New Testament as a document of a message, as kerygma, and which thereby avoids mere theory as well as a neutral report about an event. From this it follows that

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the understanding of this message can be obtained only “in participation in the life of this message.”18 This is made possible and required by the fact that the content, power and foundation of the message is the “Word of God, gone forth once (but once for every Now), spoken in his deed that happened once (but once for every Now), and that this message can be proclaimed and heard continually in the present. Thus all men of all times can be “contemporaneous” with this message; in its presence they are called to the decision of faith and thereby are brought to an understanding of themselves. But because this message is available only in a very specific historical form it must be translated, translated in the literal sense of the word; the translation from shore to shore. Barth makes this theological goal of Bultmann his own and affirms it for himself. But he raises in connection with it two questions, which, he says, may or may not be contained in Bultmann’s contention and may or may not have been conceived by Bultmann in the way Barth believes he must clearly express them: they concern the connection between the understanding of the New Testament kerygma and the self-understanding of the listener. Barth can only affirm the confrontation expressed here as a contradiction, perhaps in the sense of what was mentioned earlier: the point of contact as contradiction, contradiction as the point of contact, as the renunciation of one’s own self-understanding and as the readiness “to look where the message of God’s word and action points and calls me to look.” However this very looking away from oneself and the readiness to understand the word and action of God as a contradiction to myself and my self-understanding could be the authentic and genuine self-understanding. If Bultmann meant his thesis so, then he finds Barth in full agreement, but whether or not Bultmann really meant it so remains Barth’s question.19 Barth’s second question concerns Bultmann’s thesis that the task of theology consists in translating the New Testament kerygma for today and for contemporary man. Barth of course does not want to denigrate the urgency of this task, but he raises the question of whether in the process a problem that is still more primary would be covered over: the understanding of what is said in the New Testament, the “position taken” toward that which meets us there. This is definitely not identical with translation. For translation is possible only when the effort concerning the message of the Bible itself precedes it as a cura prior. The man who makes the matter of the translation his main concern acts as if he already knew exactly and completely what is in the New Testament, so that only the task of the translation still remained to be done. The translation remains suspended in space if the matter of the message itself has not been previously grasped.20 The question, “Do I recognize the message of the New Testament in Bultmann’s presentation?” which has been prominent in Barth’s considerations discussed so far, is also consistently present when he attempts to describe Bultmann’s understanding of the New Testament. From the fruits and from the results of the Bultmannian undertaking Barth hopes to obtain a judgment concerning the path which leads to them. According to Barth’s re-presentation, Bultmann sees in the New Testament kerygma “a double orientation of man,” an old orientation of his existence, in which he discovers himself through the kerygma, and a new one to which he finds himself called in the kerygma. The one existence is the orientation of man through sin, the other is the existence of faith. The transition from the one existence to the other is made possible by God’s saving act in Christ, by the “Christ-event.” This becomes an awakening and decisive present reality “for me” through the ever and again proclaimed kerygma, which is not only the transmission of but rather an integral constitutive part of revelation-in Barth’s formulation: It is not the kerygma of the Christ-event; it is the Christ-event in the kerygma and through the kerygma.21 The very intertwined problematic of the Christ-event and kerygma, which has been clearly presented in its complexity by Barth, finds its concretion and culmination in the cross and resurrection of Christ. The cross means-as Barth understands Bultmann’s interpretation-the event of the crucifixion, but at the same time the word about the cross, the cross in its existential-significance for me. It means that man

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“begins to realize that he has mistakenly wandered on the path to a radical judgment which is the death of his inauthentic existence and finds himself called to traverse just this path as the path to grace and salvation.”22 This meaning of the cross of Christ as God’s decisive act “pro me” which makes possible the transition from inauthentic to authentic existence is disclosed and made present by the kerygma, by the word about the cross. And where the hearer of this word takes up the cross of Christ as his own in obedient faith the existential significance of the cross not only becomes visible but is really accomplished.23 According to Bultmann the resurrection is distinguished from the cross in that it cannot, like the cross, be an historical event: the return of the dead to life in this world is unbelievable.24 The resurrection of Christ solely consists in and exhausts itself in the kerygma, in the word about the resurrection. And this word is simply in relation to the cross: It attempts to place in relief the existential significance of the cross just described. In an excellent and precise formulation Barth states: The act of God which determines man and his transition from the inauthentic to the authentic is “onticly the cross-event, noeticly the Easterevent.”25 Barth now attempts to test this result of Bultmannian theology in the light of the New Testament. He thereby offers the following considerations. The New Testament has an inner structure and sequence of events other than those depicted by Bultmann. Thus Barth asks whether the New Testament also begins with an explication of man who understands and experiences himself as the hearer of the message. Do the New Testament statements about the saving act of God toward man also come in the form of statements concerning his self-experience? Is not Bultmann’s attempt a reversal of the biblical order, which is difficult to follow, whose direction completely contradicts the then current thought?26 In Barth’s opinion, to pose the question is already to answer it against Bultmann. In view of Bultmann’s existential-philosophical interpretation of sin, Barth not only raises the question of whether the reality of God intended in the Scripture can be legitimately described with the concepts “invisible-intangible”-Barth doubts this-but also the more pressing question of whether the categories used by Bultmann, “visible-invisible, tangible-intangible,” do not belong entirely to the categories of the world and the flesh and are not therefore suitable for clarifying the difference between God and the world and the characteristics of sin. For this reason Barth calls Bultmann’s interpretation of sin “Platonic”-because it does neither the meaning nor the seriousness of sin justice. According to the New Testament sin is something other than self-accusation and self-lament, for man is already capable of this in himself.27 It is not as if this thought had no justification whatsoever, but Barth asks here, as so often: is this all, is this primary, is this the main thing? “The fact that man is sinful man, what his sin is and what it means for him is known only insofar as Jesus Christ is known.”28 It is only the obedience of Christ unto death and the judgment of the Father upon this in the resurrection of Christ and the overcoming of sin which follows therefrom that allows one to see what sin is. This knowledge is neither gained nor presented through some sort of self-knowledge or self-probing; likewise, it is not contained in some notion of some sort of general concept of God. It is a revelation of the living Christ: Only in its reflection is sin recognized.29 Bultmann’s concept of faith is something quite similar. Faith as the authentic, the eschatological existence of man, as de-secularization, as freely “being open to the future” is, according to Barth, only a shadow of what the New Testament understands by faith. Barth feels that he finds here a “disquieting material gap” and an inadmissible abstraction. He misses the fact that faith according to the New Testament is thankfulness and response to the grace of God-and what is still more important-that it is directed toward “the Lord who stands over against man and goes on before him.” Therefore God’s decisive saving act must not be brought to light only in supplementary fashion, as in Bultmann’s thought, as a “beneficium” in the mirror of human existence, but rather it must be presented in its primacy and in its

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all-determining priority.30 Barth repeats and intensifies these thoughts in vol. IV, 1, of the Church Dogmatics. He states there that faith is the highest form of human spontaneity, but it is this in relation to its object, which is different from itself, and which cannot be assimilated to itself, which is independent of it and lies outside of it. “Faith means to follow, to follow its object.”31 Viewed formally, Christian faith can be precisely characterized as follows: Its object is-very concretely-Jesus Christ, the living Christ. Faith is the human act “which is present and future, which is there, in the presence of the living Christ and of what has taken place in him.”32 Christian faith, which is directed toward Christ, is also grounded in Christ; it has its origin in Christ. “The work of Jesus Christ is its object.” Faith is the fulfillment of the word: Whoever the son makes free is truly free. “For this the son makes man free: to believe in him.”33 The relationship between the fides quae creditur and the fides qua creditur is thereby made clear. Faith lives from its content and its object; only as a faith in Christ is it a Christian faith.34 It is thereby also clear that the question of faith is not an “existential thing” which comes from the understanding, pre-understanding and self-understanding of man, or can be gained therefrom.35 It is something completely other, completely new. Barth’s further questions concern the Bultmannian definition of kerygma. According to it the kerygma is not a mere transmission of, but rather a constitutive part of the revelation of God. It is not only the kerygma of the Christ-event; rather the Christ-event is much more what it is as kerygma and through the kerygma. But is this, Barth asks in return, the reproduction, the “translation of the New Testament kerygma”? Bultmann hopes, as Barth interprets him, by means of this procedure to bind Christology and soteriology into a unity, a thoroughly legitimate undertaking if this unity is striven for in the correct order-if, that is, Christology precedes and soteriology follows Christology in subject matter and content. Barth however sees in Bultmann a reduction of Christology to soteriology, which is as inadmissible as it is impossible. Indeed, he sees a substitution for and an absorption of Christology by soteriology. We see here disregarded what in the New Testament is “the content, substance, backbone and principle of the Christian message: The life and death of the man Jesus of Nazareth”36-biblically speaking this is impossible. This life and death stands of itself, it has in itself, from God, majesty, dignity, and significance-it does not receive these only through the kerygma, through faith, through my existence. “He does not have need of the proclamation, the proclamation has need of him. He demands it, he also makes it possible. He makes himself its origin and object.... He himself is the thing that really matters and remains the Lord over and in everything which has its beginning and cause in him.... There is a relationship between the meaning which he in himself is, and all the meanings which he may gain for us, an irreversible relationship.”37 Barth draws a still further conclusion: To what extent can a kerygma still be called a gospel when it proclaims nothing of Christ as the human-divine person in whom its hearers should believe, but rather only the taking place of the transition from existence to existence, an event which has its beginning in Christ and therefore-and only therefore-bears “his name and title”? In Bultmann’s perspective Christ himself remains a peripheral figure, standing in the dark (no more discernible than this)-without any meaning in himself. If, however, Christ becomes significant to me only when he passes into the kerygma and finds obedience in its hearers, then is it not much better and more accurate to speak of an act of man rather than an act of God?38 And then is not a new law founded here: the law of our decision in the act of our believing?39 In Barth’s opinion, all of these questions, when addressed to Bultmann in the light of the New Testament, must be answered by a clear no against him. Barth believes that he can prove and corroborate this opinion when he turns to Bultmann’s already presented interpretation of the Christ-event on the cross and in the resurrection. Karl Barth explains that the significance of the cross lies, according to the clear words of the New Testament, in itself. It is an event

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which is significant in itself, which then and therefore can and should become significant also for the kerygma and its believing hearer in that he accepts the cross of Christ as his own in obedient faith and thus attains to the authenticity and truth of his self, to salvation and grace. It is never stated in the New Testament that the significance of the cross arises first from the word about the cross, from kerygma, faith and discipleship, or indeed that it consists in these. In the New Testament we find established a clear before and after of the cross-event and the word about the cross, but not so much in a temporal as in a substantial and causal sense. Therefore Barth can only describe Bultmann’s procedure as “a disturbing reversal” of the order and message of the New Testament. According to Barth, just as one cannot identify the cross-event with the word about the cross and faith in it, so, according to the New Testament, is it also not permissible to set the belief in the cross on the same level with the following of the cross, as Bultmann does. The invitation of the suffering and death of Jesus is much more a consequence of the faith in which the hearer of the message holds fast to that which “in the death of Jesus happened entirely outside of him, without him, indeed against him, but-with God as its cause-for him.”40 And finally, according to the message of the New Testament, Jesus is not, as Bultmann believes, the one who began the transition from the old to the new existence, to be accomplished by every man, and who thereby can be called pre-figurative and exemplary. “I believe,” says Barth, “I see in the crucified Jesus Christ, in the message of the New Testament, the subject who has already undergone a death sentence which is salutary for all men, who has already completed his transition from the old being to the new being, who has already brought about the transfer into the eschatological existence, who has not only inaugurated this process, therefore, but has already completed it.”41 This and nothing else constitutes the unique and incomparable position of Jesus Christ and the significance of the Christ event on the cross. In the question of the resurrection of Christ and its interpretation by Bultmann Karl Barth demonstrates and corroborates his statements already made before in the Church Dogmatics. According to Bultmann, “Jesus has risen in the Easter faith and in the kerygma.” Beyond this there is nothing more to be said about the resurrection: “Nothing about its character as foundation, object, or the content of both-and therefore nothing about the risen Christ in himself and as such, nothing about his own life outside of and after death, nothing about Christ himself as the witness of his life and therefore the meaning of his death, nothing about him in the act of his concrete confrontation with those who still do not believe and therefore also are not yet called to be bearers of the kerygma, are not yet gathered as disciples of the community.”42 In such an interpretation Barth is able to “recognize again only at the greatest distance” the tenor and the rhythm of the New Testament’s ‘message. “Does everything or really not so much depend on the New Testament and the primacy of the resurrection of Christ himself, on its priority above every other resurrection-everything or really not so much on the fact that we are risen in him?”43 Here also is a question to be directed to Bultmann by the New Testament concerning the sequence of events and the order, the question of the correctly divided before and after, the cura prior and posterior. And for Barth there is no doubt but that Bultmann’s interpretation of the New Testament would not be able to withstand the question, no doubt but that the New Testament decides against Bultmann. The question of the resurrection of Christ was of intense concern to Karl Barth one other time; in volume IV, 1, of the Church Dogmatics under the heading of “The Obedience of the Son of God” he treats the “Way of the Son of God into the Far Country.” Barth places the resurrection of Christ under the theme: The verdict of the Father. Here he raises the following points of view which underline what has already been said and bring, it out in clearer relief: The resurrection of Christ is an act of God as is the cross, and it is indeed more than the cross, an exclusive act of God. For the New Testament the resurrection is the highest form of the revelation of God in his son. It is the light which is shed on everything, which illuminates all and in whose light everything must be seen.44 Despite the indissoluble bond between the cross and the resurrection the resurrection as separated from the event of the cross is a new, separate act of God, a real, in-the-world event with its own content and its own form, not only its noetic reverse side; it is “the fulfillment and the proclamation of the divine decision concerning the event
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of the cross.”45 From this it follows that this act of God is “not dependent upon whether it is proclaimed, nor upon the way it is regarded, upon whether it is realized and fulfilled in faith or unbelief.”46 Everything depends on the objective happening of the resurrection: It is the content of the kerygma and of faith, even though as “happening” it can only inadequately be grasped with the means of history, for what happened transcends the mere historical. To be sure Easter is the origin of the history of faith in Jesus. The clear sense of the meaning of the New Testament texts indicates, however, further “that the disciples found themselves faced with a fact which awakened and gave rise to their faith.”47 Without the historical, factual and objective event of Easter the faith of Easter would be a creatio ex nihilo, not based on a single word of the Scriptures. “The texts do not speak primarily of the formation of the Easter faith as such, but rather of its founding by Jesus Christ himself, whom the disciples met and spoke with after his death (not outside of but rather within the world!) as a living person who by this act of his life incontrovertibly convinced them of his being alive and thereby of the fact that his death was the saving event willed by God. According to the texts, this event of the forty days, and the act of God in this event, was the concrete factor-the concrete factor in its externality, its objectivity, not taking place in their faith but in conflict with their lack of faith, overcoming and removing their lack of faith and creating their faith.”48 In this pro and con which Barth states concerning Bultmann’s interpretation of the New Testament message in an honest effort to understand it-in which, of course, the ironic confession that he nevertheless cannot understand it is included-in an effort to orient himself constantly toward what the New Testament itself means and states, Barth’s own position toward the question of demythologization is prepared and the main outline of its Yes and No is drawn. With Bultmann the question of demythologization requires test examples, as we already stated earlier. The same is also true for Barth’s answer. Very fortunately, Barth divides the problem of demythologization into two aspects: the need for interpretation and the capability of interpretation of the mythical elements, the mythological views and presentations of the New Testament. According to Bultmann, the New Testament must be interpreted. For what is really meant by the mythological is un-understandable for contemporary man who lives within another world picture and with another self-understanding. Modern man cannot be required to take over the presentation of the saving events which are presented in the mythological categories of the New Testament and thereby burden himself with an unnecessary stumbling block which only covers up the unavoidable stumbling block of faith. Therefore, the myth of the New Testament must be interpreted. This follows first of all in a negative direction: in the establishment of what the mythical contents are and in the knowledge that for the understanding of the substance itself the mythical form is of no importance, that it must therefore be removed so the substance may be poured into a new mold. Thus is room made for the real, positive task of theology, for the question: Into what should the New Testament be translated? In what transformation should it appear? The answer which is already known to us could be restated in a formulation of Ernst Fuchs: The New Testament must be translated into us ourselves; we ourselves are the text. A translation of the New Testament is possible, for it is capable of interpretation. The mythical elements are forms, are completely detachable from the substance of the Christian message itself and present nothing specifically Christian. And this interpretation must be an existential one because-this also is clear to us from what has been said earlier-the myth and the New Testament message fundamentally concern the same thing: “the expression of human self-understanding,” the “rendering of an account of man concerning his own existence.”49 But if this is true, then two things are clear: Man living in an age of myth-and this includes man of the New Testament-will express his understanding of existence in mythological forms; modern man will give expression to the same matter in a new terminology, the existential terminology. Moreover, according to Bultmann, it is indisputable that the message and aim of the New Testament is much better expressed and is more effective in the existential interpretation of the present than in the mythical and mythological
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form which disguises the decisive element. Barth points out, in a manner even more pressing and forceful than Bultmann himself, what an incalculable gain is contained in this position: What is stated in the New Testament comes through more clearly in its true meaning and its authentic orientation. Modern man, who has left myth aside and who has neither the wish nor the capability of revitalizing it, gains a new approach to revelation and to the word of God, to the saving-event, the Christ-event. The false difficulties are removed; the way is clear for the genuine decision of faith, from which nothing of its gravity and its paradox should be taken. Barth rightly recognizes that it is exactly in this “dazzling” simplification, in this astonishing concentration of scholarly and pastoral goals-to which a strong pathos for authenticity and ressourcement is added-that the large, broad and deep working of Bultmann’s theology is to be seen. From this is also explained the appearance of indisputability which Bultmann himself and his disciples display toward all criticisms and all critics. And Barth does not neglect to place the magnitude and the weight of Bultmann’s position in its proper light in contrast to all attempts which seek to meet it in an all too cheap, superficial and insincere fashion.50 But this strong theological conception of Bultmann’s and its strength is underlined by Barth-does not hinder Barth from presenting his response to it and from casting it in the form of pressing questions. About the statement that the New Testament is in need of interpretation and must be demythologized Barth raises the question: Can one understand any text if one, instead of following its self-revelation, approaches it and considers it with a pre-judgment about the standard of its comprehensibility or its incomprehensibility? With an a priori canon thus structured, Barth says, the mouth of a text is stopped up ahead of time. This will be especially true if this canon is applied not as a preliminary working hypothesis but as an infallible and indisputable standard. In such a case the decision is already made ahead of time concerning a text and its meaning and language. That which it has to say of itself is thus not made audible and understandable. This is true in reinforced measure when it concerns the New Testament as placed under the canon of myth, which is extremely foreign to it.51 Barth asks further: To whom does the exegete first and foremost owe honesty and truthfulness, “to the presuppositions of thought, of himself and his contemporaries, to the canon of understanding formed from these,” or to the understanding of the statements of his text, thus to the canon which issues from “its spirit, content and scope”?52 Barth formulates the decisive question put to Bultmann as follows: Can that which the New Testament is concerned with be expressed in the demythologizing existential translation at all? Barth fears that not only the established sequence of events in the New Testament of the heilsgeschichtliche action of God, but even this action itself is called into question: The self- emptying and Incarnation of God happens-for Barth believes that he must, in contrast to Bultmann, understand the meaning and purpose of all New Testament statements about things in this way specifically within the framework of the “worldly,” of the “here and now” and the “objective” and there by becomes verifiable; as a saving event and as the Christ-event it stands first of all of itself and in this fashion, and through it, it also becomes meaningful to us. It is precisely this most important message of the New Testament, the “verbum caro factum est,” which one can neither at that time nor today express in categories other than what Bultmann calls the mythological, that one does not hear when he reads the New Testament according to Bultmann’s demythologizing understanding. “If,” Barth concludes his considerations on this matter, “interpretation means ‘demythologization,’ and if that means what Bultmann under the hypothesis of his concept of myth means, then in this interpretation I can recognize the gospel of the New Testament-I do not wish to say not at all, but-only in the faintest outline.”53 Barth also has doubts about the interpretation potential of the New Testament which is so strongly emphasized by Bultmann and about the magic key of the existential which opens the meaning of the New Testament revelation as well as the spirit and heart of modern man. In light of the history of theology he believes that “triumphal” discoveries, concentrations and simplifications always enter in “when once again

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a new philosophical key is found and put to use.”54 According to Barth, this is also true for Bultmann’s theology, which owes its form and configuration to what he has learned from Martin Heidegger. Bultmann seeks to understand the New Testament with a pre-understanding taken from Heidegger’s existentialism, which is at the same time a specific understanding of man, an understanding of existence within the polarity of “authentic” and “inauthentic.” In opposition, Barth makes the point that he does not understand why one must place oneself “within the armor of the Heideggerian pre-understanding” in order to understand the New Testament.55 For this the basis of this philosophy appears to him to be too narrow, its form too time-bound, its results too unarticulated.56 In addition to this he adds the important misgiving about whether one could give oneself over to a philosophical instrument as completely as Bultmann does without the instrument losing its function as instrument. Bultmann replied to this objection in his “Reply to His Critics” in a response already mentioned by us earlier, in which he largely disarms the accusation that he has in an inadmissible manner succumbed to existence-philosophy because it is the philosophy of the day. This laying claim to existential philosophy by Bultmann happens, according to his declaration, not because this philosophy is contemporary, but rather because in it, and only in it, is developed the proper conceptualization “of the understanding of existence which is given with human existence,”57 and because this “existential” terminology alone is competent where the question of human existence is concerned. And according to Bultmann it is this concern which is under consideration in the word and text of the New Testament message. There remains of course the question-which Barth indeed does not pose, but which the matter itself poses-of whether the transferring of Heidegger’s existential categories concerning man into the area of revelation statements is admissible and possible without further discussion. For the existential categories of Heidegger are gained by a conscious (methodical) exclusion of the relation of man to God, while revelation and Bultmann’s interpretation of man can be only understood exclusively from God. Can the existential orientation which is taken and sketched from man outward be the same when it is undertaken from such fundamentally different starting positions? Does not the substance of existence itself become confused by the fascination with the words of existence? This is the point of Karl Barth’s objection. What will happen to the message of the New Testament if we put it into the vice of the question: What does the New Testament say about human self-understanding? In existential interpretation Barth sees the great danger, as was already pointed out, that the sequence of events and the order affirmed in the New Testament might be overturned. What is primary and of first consideration in the New Testament is “the Christ-event as the Christ-event which underlies and limits all else.”58 This clearly defined fact and this firmly fixed order are reversed in the existential interpretation: The primary element of the happening is transferred by Bultmann into what is clearly recognizable in the New Testament as the secondary element of the word about the happening, of kerygma, of faith, of existence, of the fulfillment of life. To be sure, these are important realities, but they are possible and understandable only in relation to the primary element: the action of God in Christ. They could never be a substitute for this latter or be identified with it. Christ’s becoming man-Barth illustrates and strengthens his position once again in this problem (within the Church Dogmatics)-which happened there and at that time is meaningful also for us. “Before there is any consideration of its significance, it can and must be taken as that which is significant in its significance, and therefore in and for itself as the history of Jesus Christ as it took place there and then, and as it can be and is recounted: That is how it happened for us. For upon the fact that it happened for us there depends the further fact that it has a significance for us as something which happened for us. Upon the fact that it confronts us as something that happened there depends the further fact that it can be seen by us to have this significance. Where there is nothing significant, and seen to be significant, there can be no significance or recognition of it. But the significant thing is what happened in him, in Jesus Christ, in this one man. It is his history as such. It alone is the basis of faith. Its proclamation alone is the summons to faith-faith in this strange judgment and the invitation and constraint to submit to it.”59

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Barth’s attempt to understand Bultmann, which led him, as he himself proposed, to speak “along with him” or “around and about him,” concentrates itself in the hermeneutical question perceptible throughout all his other considerations, which in turn prepared and even actually decided the question itself. This is doubtlessly also the question of Bultmann. What does the understanding of the New Testament in particular mean? and: What does understanding in general mean? Barth places a great value in proceeding along this order of sequence. That he does so is an expression and a consequence of his theological thought; his thought goes from the particular to the general. It is in this that he sees a peculiar characteristic of the Christian and theological form of thought in distinction to the philosophical, which is always only able to see the individual as an example of the general. Barth focuses these thoughts precisely in the form of a question: Is there a genuine understanding of the New Testament under the presupposition of a canonized pre-understanding, where it indeed admittedly is concerned with the word of God and where this word as the word of God must confront man as other, foreign and contradictory in the greatest measure? “If I do not believe ‘out of my own reason or power,’ how shall I then understand ‘to be able’? What does ‘to be able’ mean when it concerns the understanding which follows the ‘illumination’ of the Holy Spirit?”60 Granted, some sort of pre-understanding will accompany man on all paths, even on the one to the New Testament. Such a pre-understanding will always also have the tendency to subject the foreign to a “communization,” a “domestication” and a “making ours.” However, it must be asked whether a principle, a norm, a limit and an all-determining method may be made from this, and may this happen where it concerns the word of God? Whence do we have the right from some sort of inner worldly or human position to contest with God “whether and how far we can understand and not understand the New Testament?” 61 Will not the approach to the authentic and correct hearing thus be completely dismantled? And are not almost “all possible misfortunes” in exegesis thus unavoidable? Would it not be better-and with this Barth completes the decisive reversal of the Bultmannian position-”instead of raising what one holds to be his own ability to understand to the level of a catalyst of the New Testament text, to allow the New Testament text to work as a catalyst of one’s own ability to understand? Instead of trying to understand the text within the framework of one’s own supposedly authoritative self-understanding, should one not attempt to understand oneself as one finds oneself understood in the text, so that then being certain in this self-understanding, one can also understand the text better? “ 62 The confrontation of man with the word of God in the Scriptures is not a dialogue inter pares, but rather a confrontation inter impares. Thus there exists from the beginning a disparity between the word of God and the understanding of man. Therefore every a priori attempt to understand the Scriptures is false, is egoism or the setting up of oneself in an exclusive and absolute fashion. The only legitimate hermeneutical, philosophical, and theological categories and schemata are those which view themselves critically in the confrontation with the word of God, which understand themselves as servants to the word and which have within themselves a possibility for constant revision and self-renunciation.63 They may never attempt to dominate the word of the Scriptures. From this Barth forms an unequivocal either/or: “The understanding of Bible as a witness of revelation and the understanding of the Bible as a witness of myth are mutually exclusive.”64 The fundamental structure of the biblical hermeneutic is therefore: “Speak, Lord, your servant hears.” This includes the demand for the greatest submission, “looseness,” openness and readiness. It includes the constant readiness to ignore oneself, to examine, to permit oneself to say something new and strange even when it is unwanted. It refuses to set up a limit to the understandable and the acceptable ahead of time and recklessly to persist behind this “pre-judgment.” This fundamental structure of the biblical understanding is the model and standard of all hermeneutics.65 The Bultmannian application of the “normative pre-understanding” is, on the contrary, not only an additional difficulty, it is the “death of all authentic and correct understanding”; it makes all

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communication impossible. One sees that the question of hermeneutics is for Barth the question of primacy, of the correct orientation, of order and the order of sequence. In opposition to Bultmann Barth declares: What God can have done and can have said, and how it is to be interpreted and translated cannot be pre-decided from man outward and from his pre-understanding. When God speaks man must listen, believe and thereby know that the word of God cannot be identical with the insights of human pre-understanding. The measure of human understanding or non-understanding may not become a court of arbitration sitting in judgment on God’s revelation. Non-understanding can be a better understanding than the violent and arbitrary attempt to transform that which was not understood, or which is even not understandable, into that which is understandable in terms of human self-understanding. The attitude of possible or actual non-understanding is incomparably closer to the true position of man before God and the transcendence of God, and is an incomparably truer and more real expression of the structure of man than the attempt to give a judgment about God’s action and speaking based on the possibilities of human existence. Barth feels compelled to judge this tendency perceptible in Bultmann’s undertaking most harshly and to declare: In his theological hermeneutic Bultmann represents a “pre-Copernican behavior.”66 It is however specifically this as a principle, standard, and method, that demands, according to Barth, the uncompromising theological No. Barth characterizes Bultmann’s behavior as pre-Copernican in order to recall that the two men once founded what is called “dialectical theology.” This theology was concerned with nothing less than the “Copernican turning point” within theology in opposition to the linear conception of theological liberalism and liberal theology. It was concerned with the freeing of theology, of biblical hermeneutics and exegesis from the “Egyptian captivity in which time and again another philosophy attempted to dispose of and instruct about what the Holy Spirit would be allowed to say in a human and divine word that it might be understandable.”67 Dialectical theology was concerned with a demythologization of another type, with the demythologization of the presentation “of man who insisted upon himself as the standard of his and all understanding,”68 thus with the revision and reversal of the current concept of the understanding of the revelation of God, with the grounding of human knowledge “in man’s becoming known and being known by the object of his knowledge.” Barth believes that Bultmann has reversed the “Copernican turning point” which dialectical theology had brought about, that in his teaching of understanding Bultmann again treaded “the ancient path” along which-despite everything-man is made the measure of God, the measure of the divine word and the measure of the understanding of this word. Against this reversal of the reversal, against the surrender or at least the endangering of the advances which had been made with great efforts, against the “pre-Copernican behavior” Barth can only do what he had once done to Brunner in another matter: He can only say No. He does this today not less fortiter in re, but a little more suaviter in modo when he declares, I do not understand that, or, I find a difficulty in that. Nevertheless, with this characterization of Bultmannian theology Barth delivered the harshest criticism which can be raised against Bultmann. When Barth declares that Bultmann’s “pre-Copernican behavior” disturbs him incomparably more than many of his negative statements-for this is the real negative fore-sign in front of the parenthesis and everything within them-we must state that some of Barth’s objections against Bultmann are not valid, and Barth himself reckons with this.69 Despite this-and this must be expressly stated here-Barth’s characterization of Bultmann’s theology still stands: It distorts the correct standards, it misdirects the original order and the order of sequence and manifests a “pre-Copernican behavior” which affects the core and center of the matter. To be sure, this characterization does not reflect the aim and intention of Bultmann. But it is not

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these which are here under discussion, but rather the principle, the substance, the form and the immanent consequences of his theology of demythologization and of existential understanding. And these must be characterized as Barth has done. The fundamental theological critique of Bultmann does not, of course, dispense with the critique of specifics, as, for example, in the wide area of exegesis or of history. But individual criticisms do not confront the authentic and ultimate elements unless they contact and meet that principle which, explicitly or implicitly, spoken or implied, forms and sustains every sentence of Bultmann. Although Bultmannian theology is grounded not so much in an exegetical-historical a posteriori as it is in a theological-systematic a priori, it is only the combination of the two components that provides the correct standard with which to understand his theological work and its dimensions; it also produces, however, the real difficulty of any criticism as well as the always elastic possibility for Bultmann and his followers to escape, as it were, into one of the two areas and thereby prove the lack of understanding on the part of the criticism as well as their own impregnability. Therefore Barth rightly says: “It is an extraordinary thing about the polemic of Bultmann and his loyal followers: If one gives them to understand that one cannot follow their exegesis, then one is summoned in raw tones to delve into their fundamental principles. If, however, one declares to them that these could not be accepted, then he is asked with a wrinkled brow why he does not stand prepared to enter into exegesis with Bultmann.”70 Every discussion with Bultmann is burdened with this difficulty. Likewise, the attempt at a confrontation between Barth and Bultmann in the problem that is under inquiry, as it is undertaken here, cannot be a comprehensive or final statement on the matter, but only a contribution to a many-faceted and complex problematic. If according to Bultmann’s opinion the task of demythologization lays claim to the theological work of a generation,71 it is also to be expected that the answer to this problem cannot be given once for all, nor from a single theologian, nor immediately. Thus Barth too is far from saying everything that can be said on Bultmann’s theology-and no one would agree with this judgment more than Barth himself. But what can be said of Barth’s response is that it has driven through the thicket of particulars into the center and into the essential. That gives his attempt to understand Bultmann its special significance. That also gives basis to and justifies this attempt to pose Bultmann and Barth opposite each other.

V
Karl Barth-Rudolf Bultmann and Catholic Theology
When a Catholic theologian presents an exposition of the theologies of Barth and Bultmann revolving about a specific perspective, when he speaks of what they hold in common and of their differences and investigates their confrontation in a decisive theological question which embraces within itself a fullness of presuppositions and consequences, it is only just to expect that he express himself from the principles and orientation of his own theology. This duty is especially required when it concerns a question which is not a theological side issue, but which rises out of the center of theology, out of the center of faith and out of the center of the efforts of man concerning the word of God. No one will doubt that this is the case with Bultmann’s theology and the theological movement which has resulted from it. When, in addition, such a central theological question has become a question of contemporary man, then for the theologian who lives in the present, who is obligated to it, that is, toward the men and the Christians in it, and even by reason of “current needs,” the task of testing, of giving a response and of taking a position becomes more pressing. He will recognize in it a correctly understood “vox temporis vox Dei.” However we view it, the set of questions raised by Bultmann is also a task for Catholic theology. To this insight it must also immediately be added that until now it has been neither sufficiently seen, nor correspondingly solved. Nevertheless in more recent times a turning point seems to have been reached.1

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In one of his more recent works, Die theologische Anthropologie Johann Adam Möhlers (1954) Geiselmann declared that the question of a theology of existence, which has been stirred up by Bultmann, is the theological task of the hour. He perceives in Möhler’s anthropology decisive beginnings and insights to its solution. The present work is also far from being a definitive solution of this great task. It claims to do no more than to make a contribution to the matter with several theses. They have been prepared for by the investigation undertaken so far, and like this, do not go into individual details, but restrict themselves to principles. The most important and fundamental thing that is to be said against Bultmann’s theology of demythologization and existential interpretation from the side of Catholic theology is, as we have already indicated, expressed in Karl Barth’s thesis in which he characterized Bultmann’s “pre-Copernican behavior” as the minus sign placed before all individual details. Through Bultmann’s theological principle there takes place what theologically may not take place: Man makes himself and his “pre-understanding” the measure of his and all understanding, including the understanding of God’s word and revelation. Catholic theology can neither add to nor take away from this characterization; it can only corroborate it in form as well as content and make it its own. This, however, does not exclude but rather includes the fact that the word of revelation as the word of God to man presupposes man as “hearer of the word” (K. Rahner), and summons the understanding of man. Otherwise the revelation of man could not be received and the faith ordered to it could not be the faith of man himself.2 The discussion between Bultmann and Catholic theology cannot be considered “concluded,” however, because this point has been established. Rather, this leaves open a whole series of confrontations in either direction. Among these are the following in which an attempt is made to view and evaluate several questions which are especially vital in the confrontation between Barth and Bultmann in the light of Catholic theology. It will thus not be possible to avoid repetitions, but perhaps they will serve to further illuminate the matter. 1. Catholic theology will affirm Bultmann’s interpretation of the New Testament as first and foremost a message, an address and kerygma. Of course it will insist much more than Bultmann that the New Testament as a message is also and above all a report. It will not allow the historical-factual and the historical-objective to be substituted for by the kerygma, but rather will hold fast to the understanding that the kerygma is a “message about” God’s speaking, acting, and coming, a message about the person and work of Christ. And that which is reported and proclaimed is meant as an objective event that really happened, as an actual reality, as a transsubjective set of circumstances. The apostolic and primitive proclamation contains-Geiselmann convincingly demonstrated this-as in a kernel, a compact history of Jesus of Nazareth. The preeminent position of the apostle lies in his qualification and in his claim to be an eye and ear witness of the life of Jesus from his baptism to his ascension. This quality of being a witness presumes a self-experienced historicity in the strict sense it demands and includes it. Tradition, in which the original witness is preserved and made present, comes under the same law. The genitivus objectivus, the witness “of,” is the attitude and the content of every sermon and proclamation, the source, the ground and the bond of Christian faith, the starting point and power of Christian life and the following of Jesus. The things are to be seen in this order of sequence: that the events occurred and that witness about the events is given on the basis of the events. In Bultmann this at least appears not to have been unambiguously and clearly preserved. The kerygma here is too isolated from the fact, whose kerygma it is and should be. The kerygma succeeds more at the expense of, rather than on the basis of what is witnessed in the New Testament. The kerygma gains an improper priority and autonomy over against the objective and historical set of circumstances which are existentialized in the kerygma and thereby dissipated, if not threatened with entire evaporation; the saving event (as a happening) is absorbed into the saving event of the proclamation (Schlier). One can also say that in Bultmann there exists the danger of the false and likewise unsuitable as well as unnecessary alternative between history and kerygma, as if these two realities were opposites or indeed contradictories and not realities most intimately related to each other, with the result that the dissipation of the historical facticity necessarily must lead to a dissipation, indeed,
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an emptying of the kerygma. It must be noted that the theme kerygma and history has by no means been exhaustively treated to date. From that report of H. W. Bartsch on the “present situation in the demythologization debate”3 it is clear that the problem of what function is to be attributed to history in relation to the kerygma is unsolved. Two fronts, by now almost rigid, have emerged: on one side the incessant stress that a history lying before and beyond the kerygma cannot be found or demonstrated. “The binding of the kerygma to the historical event upon which it is founded is, now as before, the decisive position maintained on the one side, which even leads to the rejection of the undertaking there where the task is affirmed. Contrasted to this is the conception of Bultmann, who, undisturbed, sees the binding of the kerygma to history only in its first proclamation and denies every attempt to go behind the kerygma.”4 The problematic referred to here leads to the question which is at the center of today’s theology discussion, the search for the authentic theological category. E. Brunner and H. Thielicke (Theologische Ethik I) as well as G. Ebeling (Die Geschichtlichkeit der Kirche und ihre Verkündigung als theologisches Problem) and above all F. Gogarten (Entmythologisierung und Kirche) attempt to play the category of the personal against that of the ontological and thereby bring the theological point of differentiation between Protestant and Catholic thought into a final alternative formula. Beyond this Gogarten strives toward a complete liberation of theological thinking from the fetters of the object-subject schema and presses for the radical carry-through of the historical-existential category which alone is suitable to revelation. As much as the thematic here expressed is in need of penetrating considerations, the solution cannot be found in a violent one-sidedness of an either-or. For polarities would then be torn apart in an inadmissible manner or simplifications would be embraced which are not reflective of a total phenomenon of revelation as truth and history, which indeed are not even entirely reflective of history as such. All these attempts finally run up against the fundamental structure of reality which always and everywhere is formed out of existence and essence and which can be grasped only in a thought which provides for both, which does not shy away from working on a comprehensive ontology which grasps the personal in the ontological and so understands the ontological that the personal is drawn up into it-in the positive sense. Another point is connected with what has been discussed here: The distinction between historisch and geschichtlich as Bultmann understands them. “Historisch” means the causal relation and interrelation of the events and of the objective possibility of being established; “geschichtlich” means the confrontation which concerns me, which summons me to decision, to action and conclusion. Such a distinction is completely sensible, but the two phenomena are not separable, but rather stand in the most intimate contact with each other. Bultmann seems to suggest that the flight from the historisch into the geschichtlich is possible, as if one could set off the historisch from the geschichtlich or set up an alternative between the two. But it is characteristic specifically of revelation, of the saving-event and the Christ-event, that what is significant for me, the geschichtlich, is given and bound up “in, with and under” the historisch, that which really took place. And it cannot be detached from this because outside of this it does not exist.5 Therefore a theological historical-temporal concept must be sought to make possible a comprehensive understanding of historical events which embraces “time as movement” and “time as now” and overcomes Bultmann’s abbreviating alternative in a genuine synthesis.6 By the exclusive emphasis on the kerygma and the “geschichtlich”-to use an image from grammar-the present tense gains in Bultmann not only a qualified precedence, but rather an improper exclusiveness. Before it the biblical perfect tense as well as the future tense disappears-both clear and, in their thrust, not transferrable or reducible specifications of time. Biblically viewed the present tense of the proclamation is the “being overcome by the perfect tense” as well as the being moved toward what is promised by God in the future, toward that which comes from God to every moment of the present.7 According to the clear evidence of the Scriptures all of the tenses find expression in the New Testament kerygma; all have their order and their place, their Oikonomia, none can be eliminated or substituted by another. This clear articulation into the three levels of time must also be given a determinative and authoritative exposition in the kerygma, which issues forth in every changing moment of the present. If this
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does not take place-and according to Bultmann’s conception of the kerygma it appears that this unavoidably will be the case-an essential and unrelinquishable set of facts will be eliminated. 2. Connected with what has just been stated there is another consideration which has been very, specifically formulated by Barth and which likewise can only be corroborated, repeated and underlined by Catholic theology: Bultmann disorders the order of sequence which is given and clearly outlined in the Bible. He makes the second first, he pushes the “for me” in front of the “in itself” and calls this latter itself into question. One can illustrate this for example with the manner and way that Bultmann handles the problem of Christ. Bultmann rejects the question about the person of Christ as inadmissible and impossible; he reduces Christology into the inquiry into the Christ-event and even limits this still further to the Christ-event in the kerygma: not the historical, but the proclaimed Christ is relevant. In this procedure that which according to the clear words of the Bible is the content and the center of the Christian message, that which must not be ignored is ignored: the person of Jesus Christ, his life, his death, his glorification and his mediation. According to the New Testament these are significant in themselves and they do not receive their significance through faith and the kerygma but rather receive their content and their power through that which is objective and which actually happened. Everything pro me depends upon the extra me, on the pro se, on the saving deed of God which happened in Christ, indeed for me, but without me and against me. If, as Bultmann believes, nothing in the kerygma is proclaimed about Christ himself, but only about the event of a transition from existence to existence, about an event which took its starting point in Christ, found its exemplification in him and only for this reason bears his name and title, there remains the question of what specific weight is still given to the Christian in this. There remains the still further question of whether in this the Christian faith does not necessarily lose its personal form, the character of a confrontation with Christ, become a merely contentless accomplishment, and finally-in this we also again agree with Karl Barth’s thinking-whether in the face of all this it would not be really better to speak of an act of man rather than an act of God. 3. Catholic theology will acknowledge with Bultmann that the translation of the New Testament message into the present and for the man who lives within the thought of the present is a constant task, the task to proclaim the gospel ever anew. The word of God can be made audible in a two-fold manner: One can tone down the message and the word of God from the point of view of man and through man so that it becomes audible and understandable-and that is what Bultmann appears to do in his existential interpretation, which is normative for all understanding, even the understanding of the word of God. One can, however, also sharpen the ear, increase its power of hearing and reception potential so that the word of God, which is not to be toned down by man but to be received without diminution, which has already been toned down by God, can be more clearly and more understandably heard. The many-leveled preparation of man to be a hearer of the word is a perpetual task of theology and proclamation; it is in this that the practice of Christianity consists. This situation seems to reflect the relationship between revelation and the word of God on one hand and faith on the other-indeed, the relationship between God and man in general-much more accurately than Bultmann’s attempt, which actually concentrates not so much on the receiver of the message, but rather tones down the message itself, and thereby changes it, according to the standard of existential understanding. In the existential interpretation, however, something is pre-decided which-and here we can only agree again with Barth-must not be pre-decided. In Bultmann the question of the self-understanding expressed in the New Testament is made into the measure and the catalyst of the entire text and its meaning. In this the authentic presupposition for correct hearing and understanding is missing. Where the word of God is concerned we have no right to contest with God from any inner-worldly or human position about whether and how far we can understand or not understand the New Testament. 4. This brings us to a further point. Along with Bultmann Catholic theology says that decisive

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statements about existence are made in the message of the revelation of God in Christ, in the sense of the understanding and the realization of existence. No less than Bultmann does it affirm not only the existentiality of the word of God, but also the existentielle engagement bound to it: Tua res agitur. This coordination clearly shows the humanness of the revelation of God and how it is attuned to reality. It becomes clear here that to a great extent man knows himself to be discovered, understood and summoned to authenticity in the light of revelation, and that-the other way around-revelation very largely becomes the attorney for man and for the human. The result is that in fact the human cannot exist in its own integrity; it exists within the framework of the word of God and faith-a truth which is disturbingly and convincingly corroborated by the current world situation.8 Catholic theology as well as the Christian proclamation in general can learn an extraordinarily great amount from these thoughts. A consideration which views man in light of the revelation and revelation in light of human existence is able, especially today, to create new and effective forms of the confrontation between man and word of God and produce existentielle and existentiale arguments for the credibility of the Christian revelation. These can be incomparably more helpful and convincing than the impressive and, to be sure, still indispensable summons of the internal and external criteria as it is to be found in the classical apologetic works. Catholic theology-indeed, theology in general-cannot be grateful enough for the impulse which has come from the existential theology of Bultmann: “To speak of God means to speak of man; to speak of man means to speak of God.” This newly appreciated knowledge must be intensively taken over and inwardly assimilated. It is the gift and the task of the present hour. As important and worthy of affirmation as this side of Bultmann’s existential theology is, its total conception is not without cause for misgivings. They lie in the sentences just now cited: “To speak of God means to speak of man; to speak of man means to speak of God.” The parallelization, or rather the conversion, of these sentences is theologically not possible and admissible without qualification. In them there is contained the fundamental objection which we raised in the beginning of these considerations and to which we must time and again return. While it is correct to emphasize that to speak of man is to speak of God, it can be false to say that to speak of God means to speak of man. For herein lies an inadmissible restriction of the dimensions of God to that of man alone, a comprehending of God according to the measure and belief of man. It can mean the refusal to allow God to be and work other than is foreseen and approved by the possibilities of man. The suspicion is not entirely removed even if, as Bultmann insistently emphasizes, God is experienced in existence as the “completely other.” For the very standards of this “completely other” are taken from the dimensions of man. They cannot allow that completely other “otherness” of God to immediately come into the focus whereof revelation speaks and which culminates in the mystery of the triune God. To this more must be added; whoever observes the line of direction of the Bible will have no difficulty in recognizing that the primary intention of the New Testament statements pertain not to man but rather to the approach and coming of the kingdom of God in Christ, to the reestablishment of the glory and the honor of God. The new understanding and the realization of authentic existence will be added unto him who seeks the kingdom of God and its righteousness. “Gloria Dei est salus hominum.” That is the order of sequence and the inner connection of the biblical and salvation-historical order. Catholic theology takes over the thought of Karl Barth in an unrestricted manner: “the fact that the ‘Glory to God in the highest!’ in the angelic praise on Christmas night stands in the first position, and the ‘peace on earth among men of (divine) good will’ in the second position is certainly not without significance.... There is obviously-beyond whatever significance such an event has for man-a first and a higher thing in which man must exult. And it seems to be not only good but true that quite apart from anything else, and before anything else, the act of atonement, and therefore the incarnation of the Word, includes within itself the fact that by his presence, action and self-proclamation in the world, as the King of Glory who comes in through its doors and gates, God vindicates himself, and is therefore himself the meaning and basis and end.”9 But in this truth there is enclosed the other: God does

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“what he does for his own sake, he does it, in fact, propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem.”10 But it is just this structure and articulation that is not sufficiently visible nor sufficiently preserved in Bultmann. Stated in other words, theology is not anthropology. It has an anthropological aspect without, however, exhausting itself in it. Theology is not only existential theology in Bultmann’s sense, but the existential statement is a component of a theology which concentrates on the What of the divine doing and happening, on the What of the divine word and above all on the What of the person of Christ. Anthropology-theologically and biblically viewed-can never be more than a further inquiry based on the presupposed theology.11 For the question about man, in the New Testament, stands within a larger framework and under a more elemental precedent. It is the task of theology to point these up. However, a theology which satisfies and exhausts itself in analyzing human existence grounded in God-a work masterfully and penetratingly undertaken by Bultmann-will not only unhesitatingly involve itself in constant repetitions, because all subject matter is placed only at its disposal and is made to serve only its own validation, but will, because it recasts everything given into existential significance, also impoverish the content and more and more lead to the unreal: an unreal existence, which cancels itself out because it can no longer be fulfilled, no longer fulfill anything else. There is no free floating existence-and this is also true specifically in connection with the question about man being considered here-but rather only the existing self of the person, of the man which can attain itself in the confrontation with a given, with the richness of the world and of history, but above all with another self. Bultmann’s existential theology-we repeat what has been said-is the consequence and the victim of a falsely posed alternative, of an inadmissible either-or that is expressed in a whole series: In itself-for me; objectivity-subjectivity; Historie-Geschichte; essence-existence; report-kerygma; fides quae creditur-fides qua creditur. The “either”-”or,” “not”-”but rather” stated by Bultmann is not an authentic opposition. For the poles on which Bultmann builds his dualism do not exclude each other, but rather mutually limit each other; they live from each other and mutually call each other forth. Where an exclusiveness in the strict sense is posited and carried through, then that very thing which Bultmann and his existential theology is and has been concerned with is called into question and made impossible, namely, existence. One is tempted in this connection to paraphrase a scriptural statement: Whoever wishes to gain existence will lose it. 5. The explanation of the New Testament kerygma by Bultmann ignores two decisive factors which Catholic theology especially must proclaim. One of these is that the Bible is sui ipsius interpres, that within it there is the understanding that can be called analogia fidei. just how much this is missing in Bultmann can be gathered from the fact that he interprets the New Testament too little out of the Old Testament and that within the New Testament he attempts to understand John and Paul too little among the rest of the Scriptures and concentrates too little on a standard which can remain within the Scriptures themselves and could lay the basis for his full validation. When however Bultmann attempts to ground his existential interpretation on the fact that there are disharmonies, antinomies and contradictions found within the New Testament,12 it must be stated that all of the examples chosen by him present facts which are completely reconcilable and which contain the various dimensions of a complex salvation-historical reality. Noetically spoken, these are the various perspectives from which a matter can and must be considered. And these are based on the fact that our ability to comprehend and our possibilities to understand are limited, that we can never assimilate the whole of the matter, nor can we assimilate what we can all at once. If this law is true for every kind of human knowledge, then it is even more so for a knowledge and an understanding of the word and the revelation of God. And when one adds to this what Bultmann has so emphatically brought out, that the New Testament is not a systematic handbook of theology, but rather a living witness and kerygma of a message, then Bultmann’s appeals, on this very point lose even more of their power and gravity. Another objection raised here must be stated against Bultmann’s procedure. For his interpretation

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Bultmann completely ignores the fact that the Bible is above all a book of the Church, a book which arose in her midst and which was given to her, a book which contains her understanding of the word and of the message of God and which presents her living inspired recollection (Möhler). From this it follows that for the understanding of the Bible that interpretation and experience which lives in the Church and in the living tradition of the Church is of the greatest importance. When the Church itself puts forth the demand that the Scriptures may not be interpreted contrary to the meaning and contrary to the understanding which she holds because to her is given the power of decision concerning the true meaning and the explanation of the Holy Scriptures, when it warns against the subjective interpretation of the Scriptures and expressly rejects it,13 it is not a sign of arrogance assuming the power of disposal of the Scriptures, but rather an expression of the real relationship between Scripture and the Church. This is to be defined as follows: the Scriptures, the work of human authors, is also and at the same time the work of God, of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised this Spirit, his Spirit, to his followers as an advocate: “He will recall all things to you and will teach you all truth and guide you into all truth” (John 16:13 ff.). This Spirit is the soul and the life principle of the body of Christ, the Church. The Church is borne up by this Spirit in its teaching and proclaiming. If therefore the Scriptures are interpreted in the preaching of the Church, then the Holy Spirit is his own proclaimer and interpreter. And one can with justice say: The Spirit recognizes the Spirit. It is evident that the Church’s understanding of the Scriptures recognizes and acknowledges a many-leveled meaning of the Scripture; alongside the direct literal meaning there is the mediate, profounder meaning, which however is not foreign to the word of the Scriptures but rather really dwells within it and lies at its basis. The Church reads the Old Testament differently than does the Synagogue when it understands it Christologically, according to Augustine’s classical statement: “In Vetere Testamento Novum Testamentum latet, in Novo Testamento Vetus Testamentum patet,” and in another: “Factum audivimus, mysterium requiramus.” The Church also interprets the words of the New Testament in the sense of the Johannine “sign,” which, alongside of the immediate meaning, points to another meaning which is included in it, as for example to Christ, to the Church, to the salvation-historical future and fulfillment.14 To interpret ad sensum ecclesiae is therefore an extremely proper, indeed a necessary procedure. To ignore this means to be mistaken about what the real locus of the Bible is and the source of its understanding. In this connection I should like to quote several sentences from Wilhelm Stählin [a German Lutheran Bishop] which are an exact repetition of the Catholic interpretation: “The Bible as Holy Scriptures is read and interpreted as the attestation of the revelation of God within the structure of the Church. It is not possible to leap out of the living tradition of the Church into an immediate relationship to the Holy Scriptures.”15 Karl Barth has an incomparably greater understanding of the reality of the Church and of its function as an interpreter of the Scriptures than does Bultmann. He speaks of an authority of the Church over against the individual and bases it on the fourth commandment of the Decalogue.16 The individual must attend and listen to the voices “of his fathers and brothers in the faith,” to the confession growing out of that faith. He cannot pass it by as if he had no obligation toward it. Of course this listening to the authorized authority may not, according to Barth, become an unlimited obedience toward the Church. This is proper to the word of God alone. 6. Bultmann’s existential interpretation undertakes a special translation of the biblical basic concepts. Of these we list only the most important: Sin means fallenness and inauthenticity; grace is identical with authenticity; justification and redemption are presented as “the freeing of man from himself unto himself.” No one will be able to say that this interpretation mistakes es what the New Testament understands by sin and grace. On the contrary, in Bultmann’s interpretation something is brought to light which in the merely “objectifying” presentation is often overlooked: the significance of God’s revelation and action which touches the entire existence of man. However, along with Karl Barth we must add: Is sin and grace

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nothing but inauthenticity and authenticity; does justification and redemption mean nothing but the transition from one to the other? Whoever interprets the fundamental concepts and fundamental events of the Bible thus-existentially-as Bultmann does, opens himself to attack from two sides. Both have been set in motion in the discussion concerning Bultmann. Whoever assents to the existential interpretation of Bultmann will declare with Fritz Buri and Wilhelm Kamlah17 that a connection with Christ and the Christ-event or with the kerygma is necessary neither for an understanding nor for a realization of authentic existence: An existentially understood salvation is fundamentally possible and attainable everywhere. The New Testament is nothing other than a “symbolically more powerful expression of the self-understanding of authentic existence, out of which a correspondingly new self-understanding of myself can come to me in truth.”18 For proof of his contention Buri refers to the existence-philosophy of Karl Jaspers-and Jaspers takes this up and expressly corroborates it-which with the means of the illumination of existence produces the same experience of human existence which supposedly should take place only within the structure of revelation: For example, the experience of human existence as the graciousness and gift of transcendence, which even makes possible the same existential way of acting which supposedly should be possible only within the Christevent-for instance, faith as “a free surrender to the future.” Kamlah adds still other attitudes to this, such as trust and love. All this means that the existentiality which is proclaimed by Bultmann and is held up by him before Christianity is also entirely possible outside the framework of the Christian revelation. This true for the understanding as well as for the realization of existence. Thus for such a viewpoint Bultmann’s attachment to the kerygma is still an element of incomprehensible and untenable mythology, an inconsistency and a thing of no consequence, a false exclusiveness which deserves to be completely eliminated by the “dekerygmatization.” It is certainly very noteworthy that Bultmann-and Barth praises and loves him for this-does not follow this demand, but rather unfailingly holds fast to the New Testament kerygma and thereby shows that, and how much, he wishes to be a Christian theologian; but it would be significant if Bultmann would give Buri’s pressing thesis a clear answer. An objection to Bultmann’s existential translation of biblical terminology which comes from a completely different source is as follows: Are sin and grace and justification no more than existentialities? In such an understanding is not something again ignored which must not be ignored? Along with Karl Barth, whose theses we have already stated-with approval-Julius Schniewind especially has pointed out19 that sin leaves a “qualified hostility toward God” and the attachment to the past-not to the past as such, as the form of our being in time, but rather the attachment to the “God-hostile past,” to the “present evil con.” All these however are not only existential but also qualitative and content specifications. The forgiveness for sins is not only freedom from oneself unto oneself, but also “Freedom from the curse of the condemnation... freedom from being cut off from God”20-positively stated: “an approach to God,” to the “opened future of the new eon of God,”21 “a standing before God, a being able to stand before God.” With this a new way or life is given: “To stand in the gospel, in grace, in the Lord, in the Spirit; to change ‘according to’ the Lord, the gospel, the call of God, to the God who summons us to his kingdom; to not adapt oneself to this eon, to transform oneself in the ‘newness of eternal life.’”22 Thus Christian faith can never exhaust itself in “freely opening itself to the future,” rather it is, much more concretely stated, trust in the forgiving mercy of God. It is therefore not possible to characterize the saving events for man only in the categories of past and future. For “only in view of Christ can one rightly state what is past and what is future.”23 The Bultmannian interpretation of grace and of redemption lacks then not only the specific content, but also above all the relation to the person of Jesus Christ and contact with him.

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In Jesus Christ that which is the differentiating, the essential and the New of Christianity is given: He brought everything New in that he brought himself (Irenaeus). In Bultmann’s existential interpretation, on the contrary, this other, New, this “More”-”here is one more than Jona, here is one more than Solomon” (Mt. 12:42)-cannot be given expression or validity. Revelation, the word of God and the Christ-event are, according to him, what make possible and what guarantee existence; Christian existence is identical with authentic and true existence. The Christian is the human, the human is the Christian. We have pointed out earlier what a great truth and significance is found in this statement, and nothing is to be subtracted from it: Nowhere else except within the framework of revelation and of faith is the authenticity of man given and guaranteed in full integrity. But that is not the sum total of the Christian, and the Christian is not simply identical with it. The realization of authentic existence is the fruit of something greater: of the new life of grace which was opened and guaranteed by Christ, of the being in Christ. And just this always and essentially lies beyond all descriptions of “existential” possibilities. It is a characteristic of Catholic theology that it formed the controversial but necessary concept of the “supernatural.” It contains that which in Bultmann’s interpretation of redemption, grace and salvation is not expressed, but which is the clear meaning of the New Testament. Grace transcends nature; it is in no way indebted to nature or to existence. It is a gift that man cannot lay claim to, but one rather from the special loving initiative of God; it consists in a new “quale” over against the natural and historical existence of man; it is a new creation and elevation, a rebirth, it is a participation in and partaking of the divine nature; it is the dwelling of God in us; therefore, however much it “befits” man, it transcends him. It is specifically the realities alluded to in this statement, even if they are not conceptually unambiguous, that do not come out in Bultmann’s interpretation. Rather they are existentialized by demythologization and thereby lose their essence, their particularness and properties. As a supernatural quality and reality, as a free gift of the self-giving love of God grace is not an existential. Whoever makes it to be such or so interprets it destroys it inwardly and essentially. The distinction of the Christian is here given up in favor of a mere human existence. At no point is this latter surpassed. It remains caught in the bottleneck into which the principle of existential self-understanding leads. And because this principle-here the circle closes itself-is taken out of the area of the “pre-theological,” the specifically Christian and that which is in conformity with revelation cannot be given expression therein.24 Of course Bultmann can also give his existential interpretation a strong theological foundation: the Reformation doctrine of the total corruption of man, according to which man is not only a sinner but is nothing but sin. Indeed, Bultmann can declare that his theology is the logical carrying out and the strongest expression of this Reformation concern. If man is nothing other than sin, then it is entirely correct that he can be freed “from himself unto himself” only through the decisive action of God in Christ. Of himself man cannot take a single step toward authenticity. To think this, to attempt or to claim this is the real sin of man. Protestant theology can hardly contest this contention of Bultmann that his theology is in this point Reformatory and above all Lutheran, however much it contests the claim that these principles are given valid expression only in Bultmann’s existential interpretation. It is from this that we must understand the demand of H. W. Bartsch, that the pressing task of the (Protestant) Church is “to allow this further continuation of the Lutheran line of thought to become fruitful in her.”25 From this it can be understood that Bultmann, who, as Adam Fechter expressed it in a good image, is fighting “with his back against the pillar of Luther’s doctrine of justification,”26 can hardly, indeed probably not at all, be contradicted by the Lutheran presuppositions. The question really is then-Bartsch takes over Fechter’s formulation here-whether or not this pillar has decayed :27 “The Catholic voices put to us the question of whether or not we are still prepared today to hold on to this articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae even when as a result in the area of knowledge and of doctrine the last assurance which we thought we still had is taken away.”28 To this it must be added that the following
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difficulty manifests itself in Bultmann, but not in him alone. If God alone accomplishes everything, if every movement of fallen man remains within the fallenness, then it can hardly be seen how in the confrontation of man with God the decision of man so energetically demanded by Bultmann is arrived at, how anything should and can depend on it. Must not every decision of man be subject to the fallenness; is not this also, and especially this, a form of hybris and of sin? A decisive answer to Bultmann’s position must therefore come from another side: from the side of Catholic theology, which does not accept these descriptions of man and sin. According to Catholic interpretation man passed through sin with a loss of these “supernatural” gifts. He was weakened and wounded in his natural capabilities of body and soul, but his human essence and personal self were not destroyed. That would have meant the elimination of his self. Even after sin man still remains a creature which comes from God and is directed toward him, who as “hearer of the word” is able to fulfill this designation, who, to use Bultmann’s terms, can attain the self and authenticity. In this point Catholic theology agrees with the opinion of Buri, however much it rejects his as well as Bultmann’s existential interpretation of what is the authentically and specifically Christian. Bultmann’s theology also does not do justice to the reality of creation, which has not been displaced from power by sin-in complete distinction from the theological development and orientation of Karl Barth (cf. the four parts of volume III of the Church Dogmatics whose basic theme is God’s good creature). Bultmann believes he is able to make the power of grace effectively visible only on the ruins of creation and only on the fields of human existence that have been desolated by sin. He thereby falls into exactly what he wished to avoid: the over-exaggeration of sin and its consequences become an undue and theologically untenable emphasis on the strength of man, all-powerful because all-destroying, and at the same time an inadmissible restriction of the strength and sovereignty of God. 7. Bultmann’s goal is inspired by the question: How can the saving event which happens in the Christ-event be proclaimed to contemporary man? That is primarily a hermeneutical problem. But it is also a problem which can be expressed in the word “simultaneity”: How can the once become Now, the past become the present, Historie become for me meaningful Geschichte? Is there a bridge between the times and their ever growing distance? We know the answer of Bultmann: The distance will be overcome by the correctly received kerygma: What is the past will be taken up by the Now of the present and thereby set forth: The Christ-event is the kerygma. We have indicated that in this very solution of the problem which concentrates everything on the present, not sufficient is accomplished, that in it decisive elements remain behind and fall out, that this solution, therefore, is bought with a loss of essential substance. Karl Barth points out in his Church Dogmatics29 that the questions of distance and simultaneity definitely exist, but that they really are cerebral, technical problems or problems of methods in which ultimately the flight from the real matter itself lies concealed. The real separation exists not in the area of the times, but rather in the distance between God and Man, between divine action and human willing. And here is the real difficulty from which we are in flight, a difficulty that remains even when the “technical question” is solved. One will probably not be able to reject this last idea. On the other hand, the problem of the temporal distance is not only a technical or methods problem or a deception. It has a much more essential quality. How can that which happened for our salvation once in the past become salutary for us? Catholic theology says with Bultmann: through the word of the proclamation. But, and this has been pointed out sufficiently, it sees the relation between the kerygma and what once happened differently than Bultmann. To this it will add: Not only in the word, but also in the sacrament does there result, according to the will of Christ, a making present of the past. Of course Bultmann also relegates the sacramental world to the
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realm of the mythical and mythological: “Non-spiritual things cannot be transmitters of the divine.”30 Such a thesis is again only possible because it does not take creation completely seriously, because it withdraws or alienates the world from God and does not acknowledge the affirmation of the creature consequent upon the becoming man of the Logos. In contrast to this the Catholic interpretation states firmly: In the form of a sign which joins the element and the word together the saving deed of Christ for us becomes present, concrete and living for us and for men of all times. Christ is the dispenser of the sacrament, and the dispensed is he himself and his saving grace; this is the work and the fruit of redemption. The sacramental presence of Jesus Christ lives from the incarnation of the Son of God. It received its real salvation-historical origin on Easter in the “I live” of the incarnate, crucified and transfigured Lord which happened then, which no longer can be called back or suspended by anything, which remains for all time and works throughout all history, which builds the bridge between the past and the present. The proclamation of the saving deed of Christ and the dispensing of the heavenly mysteries in the sacrament take place within the structure of the Church. Through its kerygmatic and sacramental-liturgical action it participates in the presence of Jesus Christ. It even participates specifically through its existence. The Church is the foundation and the work of Christ, but it is not detachable from him whose work it is. It is his body, his “mysterious body”; he is its head, the Spirit which vivifies it is the Spirit of the Lord. The Church, Barth Says31-and in this he agrees with the teaching of the Catholic Church-“is the proper earthly-historical existential form of Jesus Christ.” “The Church is a new mode and dimension of his divine existence, different from his earthly existence, different also from his mode of being at the right hand of the Father and nevertheless indissolubly bound up with it because it was and continues to be grounded therein. Its time is the time between the first and the second parousia of Jesus Christ, a transition towards time.”32 The Church also participates in the mystery of the being and action of Jesus Christ, in the transhistorical-historical, in the supernatural-natural, in the invisible-visible, in the hidden and revealed being and action, in the being and action which only faith sees: Credo ecclesiam. The reality and mystery of the Church cannot be better expressed than in the words of J. A. Möhler: “The Church is the Son of God constantly renewing himself among men, eternally making himself young, the persisting incarnation of himself.”33 Thus, in the Church, in the “presence of Christ among us” (Schlier), Christ is present for us. Consequently there is no other path to the living Christ than the path through and over the Church. In it, however, there is no false concentration on some “punctum mathematicum”; in it the whole Christ is present in the entire and all embracing dimension of his divine-human being and in the economy of his saving actions which embrace the past, present and future. 8. These considerations, and the principles contributed to them from the side of Catholic theology, lead to a further cycle of problems which have been brought into discussion by Bultmann: the cycle of problems of the myth. When in conclusion we turn again to this theme we do not wish thereby to add a new thesis to those already discussed, but we rather attempt to gain a sort of theological concentration of the whole. This is to say that we will not approach the problem of the myth in all its dimensions nor from all directions, but rather we will consider it only in its theologically relevant aspect. It is precisely at this point that the confrontation between Bultmann and Catholic theology takes its sharpest form. Bultmann repeatedly describes myth as he understands it: “That manner of presentation is mythological in which the unworldly, the divine appears as the worldly and the human, the beyond as the here.”34 This manner of presentation is rejected by Bultmann because it represents the relation between God, world and man in an improper form. The co-relation between God and the world-here Bultmann takes up again the original impulse of the Reformers, which was newly discovered and awakened in dialectical theology-characterized by the absolute opposition, by the unbridgeableness, the absolute cleft, the “infinite qualitative difference.” God is the “completely other,” the absolutely transcendent.

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To this faith in the absolute transcendence of God over against the world, Bultmann joins the faith in the absolute closedness of the world with its own unbreakable set of laws, which has been established by natural science. Indeed, he believes this thought functions only as a releasing factor; still, he holds on to it in an extraordinarily uncritical fashion, like a dogma. Bultmann, who is extraordinarily thorough in his critique of myth, takes a position toward modern science and philosophical self-understanding that is almost uncritical. Bultmann, who emphasizes time and again the limits and the dangers of myth, speaks little of the limits and dangers which come from modern science and the self-understanding of modern man. He must therefore tolerate Jaspers’ accusation of “science-superstition” and having his concept of science characterized as “average enlightenment of all times.”35 In addition Bultmann is justly criticized from many sides that his scientific world picture remains within the framework of the nineteenth century and has been made obsolete by the knowledge and research of contemporary science. Nevertheless we turn again to Bultmann’s interpretation. If the world is as Bultmann’s theological and scientific conception has it, then there can be in the world no trace of God of any sort, and nothing in the world can be a transparency of the divine, nowhere in the world can God’s working and action become manifest and demonstrable. Faith in God’s saving deed is grounded only on the word about it and stands as a constant “Nevertheless” against all outward appearances in the world and history. Demythologization therefore cannot radically enough dismantle all the worldly, human and here-and-now things attributed to God and his action, so as to create for faith, in its original form of the sola fides, a place before the verbum solum. Bultmann’s theology of demythologization is the consequent exposition and carrying out of the Reformation’s fundamental principles in the area of knowledge. Against these theses Catholic theology affirms: The relationship between God and the world cannot be expressed with the concept of transcendence or of the “unworldly” alone. Probably there can be no greater disparity and contrast than between the created, creaturely existence of the world, that is, of human beings and all other things, and the uncreated, creative, absolute Being of God. But this same fact necessarily includes another truth, that there can be no greater nearness, community and immanence than between God the creator and the world and man as creature. For everything that is owes everything of what it is, existence and mode of being, to the creative Being of God, who formed it out of nothing by his word, who in every moment sustains it in its being and in its structure-otherwise it would fall back into nothingness. The world is not God, but it is God’s in absolute reliance and dependence. Thus the absolute world-transcendent, unworldly God is in and because of his transcendence at the same time the world-immanent God: God is above and in the world (Przywara). Where one of these elements is left out, an essential element in the reality of God as well as the reality of the world is left out. This original and fundamental relation between God and the world, which is grounded in the fact of the creation and receives its conceptual structure in the analogia entis, is not canceled out even by sin. From the truth and fact of creation the following is concluded: God is not only the “unworldly, beyond, completely other,” he is also, correctly understood, the worldly, the here and now, the one near to and trusted by the world and man, he is the Yes to the world. The world, which wholly and entirely and in every respect is God’s, which lives by and through God, is not closed within itself and shut off-it cannot in the realm of being be so-but rather is opened toward God and his work in it.36 It is just because of that, that miracles, for example, which Bultmann in view of the world structure fundamentally rejects, are possible and a sign that God, and his work, is near to the world and can so manifest himself that an intervention into the world willed by his sovereignty can become visible and effective. To contest this possibility means an autonomization of the world over against God in a theologically inadmissible manner, a rigidification in legalism and a withdrawal of his constant and essentially necessary sustaining power. The world as the creation and the work of God bears therefore the traces of God. It is in a thousandfold manner his transparency and his “identification card.” Because God has revealed himself in the world by creation, this world can reveal God.

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“The heavens tell the glory of God and the work of his hands show forth in the firmament” (Ps. 18:1, 2). This remains a true statement, one which nothing can eliminate. In a very special way man is an image and likeness of God, a “likeness of God that is not God.” To be sure, the brilliance of this vestige is lessened by the guilt of man, and the eyes of man are dimmed by sin. But they still have enough seeing power to perceive the sign of God in the world, to proceed from the visibility of the world to the invisibility of God. The religious experience of the world is a perception grounded in an authentic phenomenon. The deficiency in the perception of God arises from a deficiency in the power of perception and in the fulfillment of existence; it is “a forgetting of being” and, beyond this, the guilt of man (Rom. 1: 2 0 f.). From all this it is to be concluded that the starting point and the construction of the Bultmannian concept of myth, unworldliness, divine-human, beyond-here-and-now, are unusuable and untenable. They correspond neither to the relationship of God to the world nor the relationship of the world to God. A demythologization of this sort and according to this schema must therefore err in its intention and consequently in its statements about the actual, revealed, theological situation, as it is presented in creation. These considerations must be supplemented and deepened by a further one. We say that the characterizations of God as “unworldly” and as “beyond” are incomplete and insufficient because they overlook the fact and truth of the creation of the world by God. Even more than through the creation, God, through the becoming man, makes visible to all eyes the fact that, and how much, he became “worldly,” “human” and “here-and-now, how he entered space and time and became as one of us, as the brother of all of us and in all things was found as a man. Can and may it still be said in the face of the “verbum caro factum est” unrestrictedly subscribed to by Bultmann, that the “mythological speech,” which speaks of God in a worldly, here-and-now and human manner, is impossible and therefore must be interpreted? Can the worldly, here-and-now, and human in the speaking about God be eliminated-this is still clearer and more pressing in the incarnation than in the creation-without devaluating what is said and its context, because it is no longer a speaking about a God who had created the world and sustains it and who had taken on flesh in his Son? It is precisely the coupling rejected by Bultmann, unworldly-worldly, divine-human, beyondhere-and-now, that must be retained in theological talk of God. Without it one cannot speak of God, certainly not of the God of the biblical and above all the New Testament revelation. That means that one cannot speak of God other than mythologically, if one understands mythological as Bultmann does. However, Bultmann himself, with his conception, falls unhesitatingly into the following a priori: Either the saving- and Christ-event is not an “action” of God, or it is a mythical action and, indeed, in the sense in which it is rejected by Bultmann.37 God manifested himself in the world and before it incomparably more in the incarnation of Jesus Christ than in the creation. In Christ God has appeared bodily; “He dwelt among us and we have seen his glory.” This is guaranteed to us not only in the self-awareness of Jesus Christ, in his word alone, it is above all “shown” by his person, by his life, by his works and deeds, by the “miracles,” which are reserved to the sovereignty of God and which should give an answer to the question of man: Who is this one? It is especially in the gospel of St. John, which Bultmann favors, that the works of Jesus have the character of a sign and a transparency: They should reveal and present the glory of God appearing in Christ; they should point from the visible to the invisible. Christ demands-the New Testament attests to this time and again-faith in his person, in his mission and in his saving work, and he demands the “following” of himself. Nowhere is the Christian faith a mere “existential,” a mere human attitude in action; it is always a belief “in,” a belief in the person, in the word, and the work of Jesus Christ. It is from this, this “vis a vis,” which transcends the immanent possibilities, that it receives its life, content, and orientation.

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But this faith in Christ-and with this a further objection against Bultmann must be stated-is not without “evidence” and “the ability to produce evidence.” This faith knows not only who and what but also why it believes. To be sure, the real reason for belief is the authority of the revealing God himself. But this faith includes at the same time a plenitude of grounds of credibility, indeed requires them. These should not be a substitute for the authentic personal act of faith, but they should prepare and make ready for it, they should permit the revelation of God to come directly to man, they should justify the faith before reason, the conscience and the responsibility of man and thus make it into a genuine personal act. Theology has described this inner structure of the way of faith with the words of Augustine: nemo crederet, nisi videret esse credendum. Christ himself has set up this law. His life, his words and above all his deeds should prepare the way for faith: the faith in the mystery of his person and his mission. They should lead to an answer for the ever-recurring question of John and the disciples: “Are you he who is to come, or should we wait for another? “ (Mt. 11:1 ff.) No event bears the character of the divine evidence as much as the fact of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the Easter event. Bultmann’s demythologizing and existential interpretation has probably worked most shockingly and destructively on just this saving fact. It is no accident that the discussion therefore has concentrated precisely on this question and has produced this answer: The resurrection of Jesus is to be understood as the bodily resurrection from the dead in the sense of the hymn: “He who hung on the cross, In the grave lay, He rose on the third day.”38 The resurrection is not a supplement to the cross of Christ, but rather an independent, autonomous climax in the series of the great deeds of God to which witness is given. It is to be evaluated as an objective historical fact no less than the life and death of Jesus. The awakening of Jesus, the resurrection fact is the center of the apostolic kerygma which radiates over all, and the apostle is thus eminently qualified because he is “the witness to the resurrection.” The resurrection is the clear content and object of the Easter faith; it is also the overwhelming testimony for the person and the mission of Christ. The significance that Paul attributes to the Easter event for the fact of being able to give evidence for faith was expressed in the following classic statement: “If Christ has not risen, all your faith is a delusion; you are back in your sins. It follows, too, that those who have gone to their rest in Christ have been lost. If the hope we have learned to repose in Christ belongs to this world only, then we are unhappy beyond all other men” (I Cor. 15:17 ff.). Bultmann calls this argumentation of the apostle “fatal.”39 However it can be fatal only for that interpretation which Bultmann gives to the Easter event, for it stands in irreducible contradiction to it. It by no means follows from all of this that faith is nothing other than the pure and simple conclusion drawn from its credibility. The act of faith as a personal, free and responsible decision remains-aside from its grace-fullness-more than enough the initiative of the heart, the risk of the will, the giving of the entire person. The “credibilities” of faith have at no time or no place had the character of a requirement or of mathematical evidence; they allow the free decision of the person-indeed, they demand it. Otherwise belief and disbelief would be equally impossible. On the other hand, however, these credibilities prevent faith from being an inhuman, uncontrollable act that is justifiable before no tribunal. “The man who wishes to believe in God as his God must realize that he has nothing in his hand on which to base his faith. He is suspended in mid-air, and cannot demand a proof of the word which addresses him.”40 Certainly, no man can in this question of faith “demand” something, but that which God has granted a man in the way of “credibility,” “evidence’‘ and motives through the creation and above all in the incarnation of his son, through the life work and word of Christ, is never permitted to be dropped or struck from his hand in favor of the faith that is perhaps more heroically demanding but is not so willed by God nor thus witnessed to in the Scriptures. It is the very credibility of faith which guarantees the “humanness,” the existential completability of the act of faith and the attitude of faith upon which Bultmann places such a great value. But Bultmann’s conception of faith makes this impossible. The discussion of the problem of the myth and the mythological in general would make the

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discussion about Bultmann still more broad and more profound. We shall, nevertheless, not go into the matter any further because we have already turned our attention to Bultmann’s specific conception of myth and because the problem of myth has already been handled in a thorough-going manner.41 On this point only the following is stated in the form of theses: If-contrary to and in reversal of the definition of Bultmann-the myth characterizes the worldly and natural as divine and raises the worldly and natural events to a history of gods, then not a trace of myth is found in the New Testament. On the contrary, the biblical revelation, which perceives the work and action of God in the world, expressly rejects every form of such myths-and this not only in word (I Tit. 1:4; 4:7; II Tit. 4:4; II Peter 1:16), but also in deed. The fact of the creation itself presents a decisive demythologization. It expresses that the world is not full of gods or indeed a visible God, but rather God’s work is in all things.42 If the myth sees man as a natural being and human life and fate as connected with the powers of fate, this contradicts, as Bultmann himself has repeatedly emphasized,43 expressis verbis the message and the intention of the Bible. For the Bible sees man as a being living historically and making decisions and being responsible in history, and it praises the action of Christ for man as his liberation from the bonds of fate and the demonic forces: “Christ has liberated you unto freedom” (Gal. 5: 1). If the myth offers unhistorical ideas in the form of history, unreal history formed out of the idea, it stands in clear contradiction to biblical revelation. For it is concerned specifically with the historical and what has factually happened; it places the greatest value on the specification of time and the order of time and makes the specification of time a decisive form of designation, as Karl Barth so often emphasized: Revelation is history; it means a “happening which took place there and at that time” and not a spaceand-timeless, repeatable ever-again.44 Oscar Cullmann has convincingly demonstrated the same thing in his investigation “Christus und die Zeit.” The kerygma and faith of the New Testament do not wish to present themselves in the form of history, rather they grow from and are grounded in that which actually happened. In a reversal of the mythical concept of Bultmann, one could say here that the “ideas” stem from the history which really took place, are grounded in it and live from it. Because, however, the saving deed of God goes beyond the ordinary historical and points to the trans-historical, without losing the quality of the historical-on the contrary, it intensifies it-it can and does happen that this transhistorical-historical appears in the clothing of mythical images and presentations. “The myth then is the clothing in which the genuine historical event, that is the un-mythical, is draped. Indeed, it can be, that the mythical clothing is consciously chosen, and thus the trans-historical, which is clothed in the mythical form, is presented as history, as a factum which really took place, over against the unhistorical myth.”45 “Myth is placed in the service of the historical to express to it the trans-historical.”46, “The Christian proclamation still wishes to state the trans-historical content of an historical reality by the use of mythical presentations.”47 The reality which embraces the historical as well as the trans-historical can be designated as salvation history. Geiselmann in his work, Jesus der Christus, has clearly shown how very much this law of the historical-transhistorical is expressed in this salvation history, and indeed in its total form and its entire course. If myth means a happening whose law is an ever-recurring repetition, then again it stands in sharpest contrast to biblical revelation and, as we already stated, to the time specification which is decisive for it, to which unrepeatability, unreversibility, uniqueness belongs, whose symbol is not the circle but rather the line of time and course of time. In addition to the uniqueness and unrepeatability, which belongs to all historical events, there is the qualified uniqueness given in Christ, which makes him the center of all history and salvation history, to which all lines run and from which all lines go out. The “one time” of the event that took place in and

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through Christ becomes the “once and for all times.” With this the following is connected: It is of the essence of myth to be unbound, to remain unarticulated, to have variations and to tolerate many “gods” in and alongside itself. The Christian revelation claims on the contrary the highest degree in binding power in the strongest sense; it demands an answer and a decision; it rejects every mixture and interchange; it refuses to become aligned in some whole superior to it and become the species of a greater genus; it represents a claim of absoluteness and exclusiveness for all men and for all time based on the person and the message and the mission of Jesus Christ.48 If, however, myth is viewed and understood in contrast to the logos (in the sense of abstract conceptual science) as thinking and speaking in images, parables and symbols, as viewing things naively, unscientifically, as poetic and condensed presentations and manners, of expression, then myth is a primitive phenomenon of man and of the human.49 A great experience, truth and wisdom can be contained and given in it. Myth is a form by which man meets reality and assimilates it. That means, however, that it has its perennial right alongside that of the logos of science; it is bound to no time and cannot be made obsolete by time, even the present; it is given to and remains with man as long as he remains. “Mythical thought,” Karl Jaspers believes, is not past “but rather belongs to us in every time; the mythological manner of speaking is fundamentally necessary and cannot be dispensed with.”50 That does not eliminate interpretation, but rather makes it a constant task. That of course in no way means-and all the investigations which deal with the problem of the myth or of “mythical knowledge” (Buess) make this very clear-that myth may or must be only existentially interpreted. Myth remains alongside the logos a legitimate form of expression of what is-and this is so great and so profound that it can be grasped neither by the logos nor by the myth alone, but opens one side of itself to each of these two forms of expression. Therefore, alongside of the logos the myth also has its right where it deals with the meeting of man with the world and with the word of God. And this pertains not only to the conceptualization of the logos, but also to the imagination of the myth. Both forms of statement and manners of expression, however, as soon as they are related to God and his reality, come under the law of analogy-their categories and statements have only analogous, not univocal, validity. With these presuppositions “myth is also worthy to stammer about the revelation; it belongs to the vox humana, in which the Verbum divinum in its humility permits itself to resound.”51.

Conclusion
As we look back over our path and review what we have gained by it, there still remains perhaps the question of whether or not the goal of Bultmann has been taken too seriously or whether the high point of the demythologization theology has already been passed, or, finally, whether the matter has not been settled in and by itself through the conclusions which have become visible in it and which cannot be accepted by the Christian faith if its name is to have meaning, content and justification. One could ask whether Catholic theology would not be allowed to dispense itself from the questions of Bultmann and whether it needs to spend any time on it because within its own allotted area it plays no role. To this it must be answered that the theology of Bultmann contains a posing of a question which has a Christian impulse and which springs from the questions of our time: How is it possible today to believe in Christ and in the word and the revelation of God? The confluence of these motives gives it its unmistakably great effect and significance. This motivation, this searching for their correct realization, which drew Karl Barth into an intense activity and the taking of a position, must also be a sign to Catholic theology that it must not become rigid in the mere mechanical repetition of what has been handed down.

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The heritage can be vitally protected only when it is always acquired anew, and when one does not shy away from the attempt to do this. Every theology has the commission to serve the Eternal, but it can do this only when the commission is fulfilled by answering the questions which are posed by its time and by the kairós which works within the time. The message of God in Christ does not have to fear this trial. For it has the imperishable power to accomplish this, but this power must be awakened and unfolded. And it is just this that is the task of theology, Protestant and Catholic theology, which is pledged to the Logos of the eternal and incarnate God and whose unity and connectedness, despite all the divisions in details, is grounded in and should be expressed in their emulation of each other in the knowledge and love of the truth.

Footnotes
John Macquarrie, The Scope of Demythologizing (New York: Harper and Row, 1960), p. 206. John Macquarrie, An Existentialist Theology (New York: Harper and Row, 1965), p. 186. 3 E.g., Macquarrie, Existentialist Theology, p. 71. 4 Ibid., p. 126. 5 Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1949, 6th edition), p. 179. 6 Rudolf Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament (London: SCM Press, 1952), p. 228. 7 Ibid., p. 266. 8 P. Joseh Cahill, “Rudolf Bultmann and Post-Bultmann Tendencies,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly XXVI, 2 (1964), pp. 153-178. 9 E.g., Raymond E. Brown, “After Bultmann, What? An introduction to the Post-Bultinannians,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly, XXVI, (1964), pp. 1-30. 1 Cf. E. Troeltsch, Die Absolutheit des Christentums und die Religionsgeschichte. A. Harnack, Das Wesen des Christentums. 2 Preface to second edition, p. xii. Der Römerbrief (Epistle to the Romans) of Barth will hereafter be quoted according to the second edition (1922). The conception of the dialectal theology of Barth is expressed here at its sharpest. 3 Ibid., p. 27. 4 Ibid., p. 261. 5 Ibid., p. 86. 6 Ibid., p. 76. 7 Ibid., p. 212. 8 Ibid., p. 210. 9 Ibid., p. 76. 10 Ibid., p. 263. 11 Karl Barth, Darstellung und Deutung seiner Theologie, 77 ff.; Hermann Volk, “Die Christologie bei Karl Barth und Emil Brunner,” Das Konzil von Chalkedon, Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. by A. Grillmeier and H. Bacht, vol. III, p. 615. 12 Glauben und Verstehen I, pp. 1 ff. 13 Ibid p. 2. 14 Ibid. 15 Ibid., pp. 2-3. 16 Ibid., p. 4. 17 Ibid., p. 11. 18 Ibid., p. 18. 19 Ibid., p. 19. 20 Ibid.
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Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 25. Glauben und Verstehen I, pp. 114ff. 23 Ibid., p. 116. 24 Von Balthasar, pp. 203 ff. 25 Cf. von Balthasar for documentation. 26 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 265. As an impressive document of this cf. Bultmann’s works, Jesus and Theology of the New Testament. For a presentation of the theology of Bultmann from this point of view cf. Heinrich Ott, Geschichte und Heilsgeschichte in der Theologie Rudolf Bultmanns. 27 “This last point raises the question whether and how existence can be described. If Dasein’s existence [human existence] is always his own, then is it not futile to attempt an analysis of the being of Dasein which would be true for every Dasein? To answer this question, we must note the distinction which is made between what are termed ‘existentiell’ (existenziell) and ‘existential’ (existenzial) possibilities. The concrete practical possibilities of the individual Dasein are his existentiell possibilities. But there are horizons to Dasein’s possibilities-limits within which every individual existence must fall. These wide possibilities are called existential, and their investigation is the subject of the existential analytic of Dasein. What we have, then, is not an attempt to describe universal properties of Dasein-which would be impossible, since Dasein is not an object, but exists-but an attempt to show the horizons of possibility within which the concrete possibilities of every individual Dasein must fall. Used as a noun, the term ‘existential’ (Existenzial) denotes one of the broad fundamental possibilities of Dasein’s being, in analogy to the term category which denotes one of the basic formal characters of an object. The systematic description of all the fundamental possible ways of being of Dasein is called the existentiality (Existenzialität) of existence.” John Macquarrie, An Existentialist Theology (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), p. 34. [Translator] 28 Karl Barth, p. 210. 29 Kerygma und Mythos II, 85 ff., 111, 81 ff. 30 Ibid. I, 48. 31 Cf. Glauben und Verstehen II, pp. 79ff. 32 Kerygma und Mythos II, pp. 207. 33 Bultmann. Ein Versuch ihn zu verstehen, p. 46. 34 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 294. 35 Ibid., p. xxvii. 36 Ibid., p. xxviii. 37 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 37. 38 Ibid., p. 36. 39 Römerbrief, p. 104. 40 Ibid., p. 37. 41 Church Dogmatics I, 1, pp. x f. 42 Römerbrief, p. 37. 43 Cf. the presentation by H. U. v. Balthasar, pp. 148 ff.; H. Volk, pp. 693 ff. 44 Römerbrief, p. 146. 45 Ibid., p. 88. 46 Ibid., p. 89. 47 Ibid. 48 Ibid., p. 143. For a revision by Barth of this view see H. U. v. Balthasar, pp. 148ff. 49 Kerygma und Mythos II, p. 207. 50 Ibid. 51 Ibid. 52 Cf. J. Ternus, “Chalkedon und die protestantische Theologie,” in: Chalkedon III, pp. 577 ff. 53 Glauben und Verstehen II, pp. 117 ff. 54 Ibid., p. 119. 55 Ibid., p. 120
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Ibid. Ibid. 58 Ibid. 1 Kerygma und Mythos I, pp. 15 ff. 2 Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart IV, pp. 1020ff. 3 The most recent discussion about Bultmann, which was started by Jaspers, does not contradict this, not only because it developed so late, but also because it treats other problems (Kerygma und Mythos III, pp. 9 ff.). Concerning Jaspers see my article: “Existenz und Transzendenz. Gott und Mensch in der Philosophic von Karl Jaspers,” in: Der Mensch vor Gott (Festschrift Steinbüchel); and “Karl Jaspers und das Christentum,” Theologische Quartalschrift (1952), pp. 257 ff. 4 Kerygma und Mythos II, pp. 85 ff.; III, pp. 81 ff. 5 Glauben und Verstehen I, pp. 268 f. 6 Ibid., p. 273; Theologie des Neuen Testaments, p. 410. 7 Jesus , p. 26. 8 Das Urchristentum in Rahmen der antiken Religionen, p. 78. 9 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 265. 10 Jesus, p. 11. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid., p. 13. 13 Glauben und Verstehen, II, p. 246. 14 Ibid., p. 258. 15 Ibid. 16 Ibid., p. 259; Theologie des Neuen Testaments, pp. 35 ff., 43. For a criticism see R. Schnackenburg, “Der Abstand der christologischen Aussagen des Neuen Testaments vom Chalkedonischen Bekenntnis nach der Deutung Rudolph Bultmanns,” in: Chalkedon, Geschichte und Gegenwart III, pp. 675 ff. 17 E. Steinbach, Mythus und Geschichte, pp. 68 ff. and 32; G. Bornkamm, Mythus und Evangelium (Theologische Existenz heute, Neue Folge 26), p. 18; H. Ott, pp. 166 ff. 18 Cf. the Christological statements of Barth in the Church Dogmatics, most especially of course in vol. IV, 1, “The Doctrine of Reconciliation.” However, since for Barth Christology is not just one tract alongside others, but rather the principle and center of the entire theology (H. Volk), it is emphatically manifested and expressed in the doctrine of the word of God, in the doctrine of God, and in the doctrine of creation. For an illustration of the inner structure and development see H. U. von Balthasar, pp. 124 ff.; H. Volk, pp. 618 ff. “There can no longer exist a justified doubt that the Christology of Barth is genuine in its acknowledgment of Chalcedon. The agreement here in content and form is convincing” (p. 638). 19 Glauben und Verstehen I, pp. 188 ff. 20 Ibid., pp. 146, 292. 21 Ibid., p. 46. 22 Kerygma und Mythos II, p. 26. 23 Theologie des Neuen Testaments, p. 297. 24 This procedure, according to Bultmann, is already clearly recognizable in the New Testament in Paul and especially in the Gospel according to St. John. Cf. “Die Eschatologie des Johannesevangeliums,” in: Glauben und Verstehen I, pp. 134ff., as well as Bultmann’s Johanneskommentar und Theologie des N.T., pp. 383 ff. 25 Römerbrief, pp. 484ff. 26 Church Dogmatics II, 1, p. 716. 27 Bultmann. Ein Versuch ihn zu verstehen, p. 17. 28 Steinbach, pp. 14 ff. 29 Ibid., p. 20. 30 Kerygma und Mythos II, p. 192. 31 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 30.
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Ibid., p. 36. Cf. Glauben und Verstehen II, pp. 79ff. 34 Kerygma und Mythos II, p. 191. 35 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 297. 36 Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 33. 37 Ibid., p. 28. 38 Ibid., pp. 29. 39 Ibid., pp. 34 f. 40 Ibid., p. 37. 41 Ibid., p. 38. 42 Ibid., P. 39. 43 Ibid., p. 40. 44 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 207 45 Cf. Bultmann’s commentary on John 8:28 and 12:32. 46 Glauben und Verstehen I, pp. 207 f.; Kerygma und Mythos I, pp. 44 ff. 47 This distinction between geschichtlich and historisch is one of the personal expressions of Bultmann which, for a grasp of his theological aims, it is absolutely necessary to understand. Heinrich Ott has taken it as a starting point for his important investigation Geschichte und Heilsgeschichte in der Theologie Rudolf Bultmanns. 48 Glauben und Verstehen II, p. 71; 95 ff. 49 Ibid., p. 71. 50 Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 29. 51 Glauben und Verstehen II, p. 74. 52 Ibid., I, p. 221. 53 Ibid., p. 224. 54 Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 34. 55 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 259. 56 Ibid., p. 258. 57 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 46. 58 Das Urchristentum in Rahmen der antiken Religionen, p. 233. For an existential interpretation of the fundamental biblical concepts see Bultmann’s Theologie des Neuen Testaments, and his contributions in the Theologischen Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament, edited by G. Kittel, as well as his commentary on the Gospel of St. John. 59 Kerygma und Mythos II, p. 202. 60 Ibid., p. 200. 61 Glauben und Verstehen II, p. 156; Johannesevangelium, p. 112. 62 Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 29; Il, p. 203. 63 Ibid. II, p. 204. 64 Glauben und Verstehen II, p. 152. 65 Ibid., p. 154 . 66 Ibid. I. 234. 67 Ibid., p. 240; II, pp. 133 ff. 68 Ibid. I, p. 230. 69 Ibid., pp. 229ff. 70 Ibid., p. 235. 71 Ibid., p. 239. 72 Ibid., p. 240. 73 Ibid., p. 238.
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Ibid., p. 243. Ibid., p. 242. 76 Ibid., p. 243. 77 II, 2, pp. 509-783 and especially in volume III, 4. 78 III, 4, p. 16. 79 Ibid., p. 17. 80 Ibid. 81 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 296. 82 Ibid., pp. 297 f. 83 Ibid. II, p. 121. 84 Cf. the detailed and convincing presentation of von Balthasar on pp. 124ff., which Hermann Volk, op. cit., corroborates. 85 Hermann V olk, p. 639. 86 Church Dogmatics II, 2, pp. 223 f. 87 Ibid., p. 136. 1 Cf. R. Prenter in Kerygma und Mythos II, p. 80. 2 Cf. the important essay, “Das Problem der Hermeneutik,” in Glauben und Verstehen II, pp. 211 ff. 3 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 155. 4 Ibid. II, p. 230. 5 Ibid., p. 193. 6 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 120. 7 Ibid., p. 119. 8 Ibid. II, p. 221. 9 Ibid., p. 231. 10 Ibid. I, p. 119 11 Ibid. II, p. 227. 12 Kerygma und Mythos II, pp. 191ff. 13 Ibid., p. 193. 14 Ibid. I, p. 33. 15 Ibid. 16 Glauben und Verstehen I, p. 305. 17 Ibid., p. 308. 18 Ibid., p. 311. 19 Ibid. 20 Ibid., p. 312. 21 Cf. “Die Bedeutung des Alten Testaments für den christlichen Glauben,” in Glauben und Verstehen I, pp. 313 ff. 22 Kerygma und Mythos II, p. 207. 23 Cf. Hardich-Sachs in Zeitschrift für Arbeit und Besinnung IV, (1950), p. 436. 24 Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 22. 25 Ibid. II, p. 180. 26 Ibid., p. 180. Hartlich-Sachs, p. 346. 27 Kerygma und Mythus I, p. 15. 28 Cf. the concentrated exposition in Kerygma und Mythos I, pp. 15 ff.; pp. 27 ff.; for the concepts see: Theology of the New Testament. 29 Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 22. 30 Ibid. II, p. 183.
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Ibid. I, p. 23. Ibid. II, p. 184. 33 Ibid, I, p. 23. 34 Ibid. II, p. 205. 35 “Die Eschatologie des Johannesevangeliums,” in Glauben und Verstehen I, pp. 134 ff.; Kommentar zum Johannesevangelium. 36 Kerygma und Mythos I, pp. 117 ff. 37 Cf. E. Fuchs, “Das entmythologisierte Glaubensärgernis,” in: Evangelische Theologie (1952), pp. 389ff. 38 Kerygma und Mythos II, p. 188. 39 Ibid. I, p. 19. 40 Ibid., pp. 20 f. 41 Ibid., p. 25. 42 Ibid. 43 Ibid. II, p. 187. 44 Ibid., p. 207. 45 Ibid., pp. 199 ff. 1 III, 2, pp. 443 ff. 2 Ibid., p. 440. 3 Ibid., p. 443. 4 Ibid., p. 445. 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid., p. 447. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid., p. 446. 10 Ibid. 11 Kerygma und Mythos II, pp. 113 ff. 12 Glauben und Verstehen II, pp. 233 ff. 13 Kerygma und Mythos, II, pp. 113 ff. 14 Theologische Studien, Heft 34 (1952). 15 Bultmann. Ein Versuch, p. 4. 16 Kerygma und Mythos I, 15 ff. 17 Bultmann. Ein Versuch, p. 2. 18 Ibid., p. 5. 19 Ibid., p. 6. 20 Barth says nothing further about how the understanding of the What in contrast to the How of the translation is to be emphasized more clearly and to. be accomplished-not an easy problem and one that has not been entirely and satisfactorily settled by Barth. Can one, it may be objected, undertake the How of the translation at all or accomplish it at all if one has not already grasped the What? To understand and to translate are two different things and tasks; on the other hand they are most intimately connected with one another. It is perhaps possible to understand something without-in the second placealso being able to translate it. But it is impossible to translate the meaning, the significance and the substance in more than a literal manner without understanding or without having understood. And the value and validity of the translation increases with the degree of understanding. Thus the How of translation is indissolubly bound up with the What of understanding. If that is true in general, it is especially so of the sort and manner of translation that Bultmann describes, translation as interpretation, as hermeneutic. This, of course, does not mean that Bultmann, for example, follows these theoretically clear and clarified principles or has lived up to them. We will speak of this later, however. We are here concerned only with the so-called quaestio iuris, not with the quaestio facti, which must be distinguished from it. Thus it is well to ask further, is Bultmann not interested specifically in the What of the message, in the interpretation and explanation of
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the matter itself? Nevertheless Barth declares that he “cannot be satisfied with the assertion of a simple identity of these two goals.” Ibid, p. 8. 21 Ibid., p. 17. 22 Ibid., p. 19. 23 Ibid., pp. 19-20. 24 Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 45. 25 Ibid., p. 23. 26 Ibid., p. 13. 27 Ibid.,p. 14 28 Church Dogmatics IV, 1, p. 389. 29 Ibid., p. 415. 30 Bultmann. Ein Versuch, p. 154. 31 Church Dogmatics IV, 1, p. 742. 32 Ibid., p. 744. 33 Ibid. 34 Ibid., p. 228. 35 Ibid., p. 741. 36 Bultmann. Ein Versuch, p. 18. 37 Church Dogmatics IV, 1, pp. 227-228. 38 Bultmann. Ein Versuch, pp. 17 ff. 39 Ibid., p. 19. 40 Ibid., p. 20. 41 Ibid., p. 21. 42 Ibid., p. 22. 43 Ibid., p. 23. 44 Church Dogmatics IV, 1, pp. 299ff. 45 Ibid., p. 309. 46 Ibid., p. 312. 47 Ibid., p.339. 48 Ibid., p. 341. 49 Bultmann. Ein Versuch, p. 35. 50 Ibid., p. 36. 51 Ibid., pp. 30-31. 52 Ibid., p. 31. 53 Ibid., p. 34. 54 Ibid., p. 37. 55 Ibid., p. 38. 56 Ibid., pp. 44 f. 57 Kerygma und Mythos II, p. 192. 58 Ibid., p. 40. 59 Church Dogmatics IV, 1, pp. 223-4. 60 Bultmann. Ein Versuch, p. 48. 61 Ibid., p. 49. 62 Ibid., pp. 49-50. 63 Church Dogmatics I, 2, pp. 727ff. 64 Ibid. I, 1, pp. 377 f.

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Cf. Ibid. I, 2, pp. 465 ff. Bultmann. Ein Versuch, p. 53. 67 Ibid., p. 52. 68 Ibid., p. 52. 69 Ibid., p. 56. 70 Ibid., p. 54. 71 Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 26. 1 The most important contribution is still the investigation by J. R. Geiselmann, Jesus, der Christus (1951) , which, in decisive sections, especially in the presentation of the primitive Christian kerygma of Jesus the Christ, presupposes and has as a discussion partner the theology of demythologization. An additional work that should be mentioned is that of L. Malevez, Le Message chrétien et le mythe. La theologie de Rudolf Bultmann (1954). Signs of an intensive involvement with Bultmann and to some extent with Karl Barth are the essays of J. Ternus, H. Volk and R. Schnackenburg in the work edited by A. Grillmeier and H. Bacht, Das Konzil von Chalkedon (Geschichte und Gegenwart, Band III. Chalkedon heute, 1954). Other contributions appear in periodicals. Many are also collected in the series edited by H. W. Bartsch: Theologische Forschung. Band IX: Kerygma und Mythos V. Die Diskussion der katholischen Theologie. 2 Cf. B. Welte, Die Wesensstruktur der Theologie als Wissenschaft, pp. 15 ff. 3 Der gegenwärtige Stand der Entymythologierungsdebatte, pp. 53 ff. 4 Ibid., p. 77. 5 Cf. J. Schniewind, Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 106 f. 6 Ott, pp. 110 ff.; pp. 130 ff. 7 Cf. E. Kindler, Ein Wort lutherischer Theologie zur Entmythologisierung; E. Brunner, Das Ewige als Zukunft und Gegenwart; Oscar Cullmann, Christus und die Zeit. Günther Bornkamm, Rudolf Bultmann, Friedrich Karl Schumann, Die christliche Hoffnung und das Problem der Entmythologisierung.
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Cf. my investigation “Die Kirche als Anwalt des Menschen.” Church Dogmatics IV, 1, pp. 212. 10 Ibid. 11 Walter Klaas, Der moderne Mensch in der Theologie Rudolf Bultmanns, p. 32. 12 Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 23. 13 Tridentinum, Sess. IV, Denzinger Nr. 786. 14 Cf. K. H. Schelkle, “Auslegung als Symbolerständnis,” Theologische Quartalschrift (1952 ), pp. 129 ff.; de Lubac, Der geistige Sinn der Schrift. 15 Allein. Recht und Gefahr einer polemischen Formel, p. 18. 16 Church Dogmatics I, 2, pp. 652 ff. 17 Fritz Buri, “Entmythologisierung oder Entkerygmatisierung der Theologie?” in Kerygma und Mythos II, pp. 85 ff.; III, p. 81; also his book Theologie der Existenz. Wilhelm Kamlah, Christentum und Geschichtlichkeit. 18 Kerygma und Mythos II, p. 99. 19 Ibid., I, pp. 77 ff. 20 Ibid., p. 84. 21 Ibid., p. 85. 22 Ibid., p. 86. 23 Ibid. 24 Cf. H. Ott, p. 96. 25 “Der gegenwärtige Stand der Entmythologisierungsdebatte,” p. 78. 26. Wort und Wahrheit, (1959), p. 904. 26 Wort und Wahrheit, (1959), p. 904.
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Ibid., p. 79. Ibid. 29 IV, 1, pp. 289 ff. 30 Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 19; II, p. 182; Theologie des Neuen Testaments, p 132 ff. 31 Church Dogmatics IV, 1, pp. 660 ff. 32 Ibid., pp. 725 ff. 33 Symbolik 5, a., p. 337. 34 Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 22. 35 Schweizerische Theologische Umschau (1953), p. 77. 36 Cf. Karl Adam, Theologische Quartalschrift, (1952), p. 392. 37 Cf. F. K. Schumann, Kerygma und Mythos I, p. 195. 38 Cf. J. Schniewind, Ibid, p. 98. 39 Ibid., p. 45. 40 Ibid., II, p. 207. 41 Cf. among others Hartlich-Sachs, Die Entstehung des Mythusbegriffs; E. Buess, Die Geschichte des mythischen Erkennens; J. Bernhart, Bibel und Mythus. 42 Barth expressly emphasizes the fundamental difference between the biblical story of creation and the extra-biblical myth of creation (Church Dogmatics III, 1, pp. 92 ff.). He sees in the “myth of creation” a contradictio in adjecto and therefore-vice versa-no myth in the report of creation in the Bible, but, on the contrary, a polemic against it. G. Söhngen, “Zum Begriff des Mythus,” in Christliche Existenz und Erziehung. Ehrengabe für Johann Peter Steffes, p. 93. 43 Cf. Glauben und Verstehen II, 110 ff. 44 Church Dogmatics I, 1, pp. 373 ff. 45 J. R. Geiselmann, Jesus der Christus, p. 11. 46 Ibid., pp. 167, 176f. 47 Fritz Hofmann, “Theologrie der Entmythologisierung-Ausweg oder Irrweg?” in Theologie und Glaube (1953), p. 342. E. Buess states the same thing: Bultmann “does not recognize willingly enough what the biblical kerygma means when it phrases its statements in clear contradiction to those we are wont to designate as mythical, when it vigorously distinguishes between its miracles and the miracles which the myths report, when it strongly places its Kyrios over against the Kyrioi which are the subject of myth’ (Geschichte des mythischen Erkennens, pp. 24ff.). Cf. also Oscar Simmel, “Mythus und Neues Testament”, in Stimmen der Zeit (1952), pp. 33 ff. 48 From all of these bases W. Stählin comes to the view (Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament IV, p. 769-803) that within the New Testament myth has no place because it is radically rejected there-it stands in radical opposition to the logos of the N.T. He formulates it thus: “One either stands on the side of myth or of the New Testament truth” (p. 793). “The decisive rejection of myth belongs to those distinctions which are peculiar to the New Testament” (p. 800). 49 Josef Bernhart, Bibel und Mythus, p. 15. 50 Schweizerische Theologische Umschau (1953), p. 82. 51 Bernhart, p. 63. Cf. also F. Mussner, “Bultmanns Programm einer Entmythologisierung des Neuen Testaments,” Trierer Theologische Zeitschrift (1953), p. 17: “In so far as the mythological manner of speaking is present at all in the New Testament, it is only one of the forms in which the Word of God became incarnate in the Scriptures.”
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