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Living Tradition, Oblates of Wisdom, P.O. Box 13230, St. Louis, MO 63157, USA
|No. 113||Roman Theological Forum | Article Index | Study Program||September 2004|
TOWARD A FULLER CATHOLIC RESPONSE TO THE DEMYTHOLOGIZING OF RUDOLF BULTMANN (Part 1)
1. In 1999 I reviewed the responses of eight Catholic theologians to the challenge made by Rudolf Bultmann with his program of "demythologizing the New Testament mythology," published in 1941. Soon after the Second World War short articles by Catholic writers began to appear and then longer studies, eight of which I reviewed in Living Tradition (numbers 80 to 83) with critical comments of my own. My conclusion was that the challenge demanded a fuller response, and I return to this argument now, because the challenge is still there and so is the opportunity to take a step forward in our understanding of the sacred text by analyzing the problems that Bultmann has raised and fitting the answers into an updated framework of neo-Patristic interpretation. In the preceding article (Living Tradition 112), I tried to point out the incidence of Modernism in the demythologizing of Bultmann, as a means of tying this program to an erroneous approach that was condemned by Pope Pius X in 1907, and, therefore, as a way to indicate to Catholics the dangers that lie in this system. The essential features of Modernism show up explicitly in Bultmann's program, and that should be enough to warn Catholics to be wary of it. Pope Pius X noted in his encyclical Pascendi that some Catholics had already adhered to this false doctrine, and that many others were in danger of falling into it due to a certain "poisoned atmosphere" that had invaded the Church. It is my belief that this poisoned atmosphere continues to surround Catholic believers, especially Catholic students and teachers, and that part of this poison comes from the invitation to "demythologize" the Gospels and all of the objects of Catholic faith. For instance, Bultmann did not, to the best of my knowledge, declare explicitly that all religious ideas arise from a preconceptual religious instinct that lies invisible in the subconscious of men, but he did maintain that all of the imagery in the Gospels and, in general, in the whole of the Bible was derived from the fictitious imagination of the sacred writers and of the traditions that they recorded, and that they surrounded their subjects with this imagery in order to accomplish the religious needs that they were feeling at the time. This view of Bultmann not only implicitly fits the Modernist idea of the religious instinct, but it also comes over into the background of many form-critical interpretations of the Gospels that Catholics read or hear about, and, in the absence of clear distinctions that would rule this background out, it tempts the Catholic to doubt the objective truth of one or another object of his faith. Thus, for this danger and for many similar challenges to Catholic faith, Catholics should have in mind an apologetic defense of the truths of their faith, including a defense of the historical truth of the Sacred Scriptures.
The Response of Leopold Malevez
2. The first of the eight responses to the demythologizing of Rudolf Bultmann1 that I reviewed in 1999 was that of Leopold Malevez in his book, The Christian Message and Myth.2 Early in his book Malevez makes the important point that Bultmann's program of demythologizing "has taken away my Lord," since the kerygma, or Christian message, as proposed by Bultmann, cannot replace the Christian mystery of the God-Man, which Bultmann relegates to the realm of the mythological in his denial of the Incarnation as an historical fact.3 Jesus, God and Man, is the prime object of Christian faith, but Bultmann, in his demythologizing, has eliminated, not only this object of faith, but every other object of Christian faith in maintaining that there are no longer any objects at all of Christian faith, since for him the only religious act remaining to modern man is the subjective experience of being and becoming one's own authentic self.4 Gone in his demythologizing is all belief in the objective existence of God and of the Most Holy Trinity, of Heaven and Hell, of life after death, of Redemption, of sanctifying and actual grace, of miracles and prophecies, and of every other object of traditional Christian faith. Malevez notes that the Christian message does need to have an existential impact upon the believer, but not according to the existentialism of Martin Heidegger, with its reduction of authentic human existence to the experience of one's own self, which Bultmann uses for this purpose.5 In fact, the Catholic understanding of faith in the message of Christ has its own great existential meaning and impact in that it places the believer in direct contact with the presence and the power of God, especially through prayer and virtuous acts. What Bultmann forgets, says Malevez, is that what he calls our "objective ideas" about God are the fruit of an intelligence in love with God.6 Malevez makes the observation that Bultmann's demythologizing act of faith is very much like a mythological act of faith,7 and I have developed this judgment at length in discussing the literary genre of Bultmann's theological writing.8 After Bultmann has negated the entire objective idea of God, the "act of God" in his existential encounter becomes purely fictitious.
3. The Sacred Scriptures, read in a spirit of faith, constantly call upon the believer to open his mind to the understanding of divine revelation and to open his heart to the grace that is made available therein. The quality of human existence made possible by true faith is one which leads to a complete conversion of the mind of the believer, fills his heart with authentic love for God and for his fellow man, and elevates his whole life onto a higher plane, but always in accordance with the reality of the objects of that faith. Hence, the first Catholic response to demythologizing is to affirm over and over again in thought and in prayer the reality of the objects of faith, beginning with the abiding reality of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer.
4. But accompanying this personal response on the part of everyone is the need for some Catholic thinkers to learn and make available to others the solid arguments needed to refute and put away forever the philosophical existentialism of Martin Heidegger and the theological existentialism of Rudolf Bultmann. They must realize that Bultmann has taken away every possibility of Christian prayer and contemplation by collapsing the entire objectivity of the Christian faith into the emptiness of the knowing subject as such. And even as regards the anointing by the Holy Spirit of the soul and heart of the believer, Bultmann takes that away too where he says that his “biological man cannot see how a supernatural entity like the πνεũμα [Spirit] can penetrate within the close texture of the natural powers and set to work within him."9 To restore the objectivity of faith missing from the Bultmannian scenario, the first step is for the scholar to get down on his knees and pray fervently to the Holy Spirit to illuminate his mind and enkindle his will to know and to savor the truth that in demythologizing has been erased. The opponent of demythologizing must employ the gift of humility before the eyes of God and the realization that of himself he can do nothing against the pride and arrogance inherent in the temptation to imagine that "we now know" that the traditional God of the Hebrews and of the early Christians has never really existed.10
5. Malevez points out that, while Bultmann's reason for excluding any intervention of God in the world is that every philosophical consideration of an act of God is limited to the sphere of the existential encounter in faith, this reason is unfounded, because neither Heidegger nor Bultmann has disproved the essentialist ontology which they oppose. Malevez does not feel constrained to accept the nihilistic approach of Heidegger's Being and Time.11 In fact, it is essentialist ontology that disproves the existentialism of Heidegger and Bultmann. And so, I believe that what is needed for a full response to demythologizing is the use of contemporary Scholastic philosophy and theology, based upon the wisdom of the masters of old and updated to meet the problems of today. From Scholastic philosophy, and, in particular, from Thomistic philosophy, we know that there is a hierarchy of sciences, of which empirical science is just one. If "science" is defined merely to coincide with empirical science, there results a false concept of science and an impoverished idea of reality. Technical science, as distinguished from common sense, is "certified knowledge," and Bultmann, in his demythologizing, assumes that only the knowledge gained from empirical science is really certified, into which he might throw historical knowledge in a broader sense. But there are other areas and levels of technical science that also give certified knowledge. Not only is there true historical science, but, in the midst of the widespread confusion and misunderstanding in the field known today as "modern philosophy," there is still an area of true philosophical science, if one can manage to find it, and it resides in Scholastic philosophy. Again, there is still an area of theological science, and it resides today especially in Scholastic theology, and the knowledge presented in these latter two sciences is also objectively true and real. Hence, Catholic intellectuals who want to escape the dangers of Bultmannian demythologizing will do well to turn to Scholastic philosophy and theology and update it in their own minds to the best of their ability. A revival of Scholasticism – call it neo-Scholasticism - is needed, and workers in the field are now urgently being sought.
6. An element of belief that Bultmann does not seem to have rejected as mythological is the fall of man into sin, and he sees this according to the Lutheran doctrine of the total corruption of the human intellect and will. He says: "It is only because man is a fallen being, only because he knows he is not what he really ought to be, that he can be aware of his plight." (Even the philosophers agree that) "man's authentic nature has to be apprehended by a deliberate resolve. [...] Why then has the fall destroyed this actual possibility? The answer is that in his present plight every impulse of man is the impulse of a fallen being."12 Malevez does not accept the idea of the total corruption of the mind and will of man, and he advances that it is the interior action and grace of the Holy Spirit that gives light to the intellect and strength to the will in order to enable a man to be converted and move toward holiness. The exercise of free will is a reality of human life, and this fact disproves the idea that human action is limited to the closed functioning of material forces.13 In my estimation, many Protestants today are open to the idea that Luther's doctrine of the total corruption of the human mind and will is not true, and Catholics in fraternal dialogue with them should help them to know of the interior action of the Holy Spirit and the possibility of having sanctifying grace in their souls. And, as far as ecumenical dialogue goes, hitherto the discussion has been almost exclusively between liberal Catholics and liberal non-Catholics. The time may have arrived to begin a fruitful combined effort of traditional Catholics with fervent non-Catholic Christians to defend the historical truth of the Scriptures.
The Response of Heinrich Fries
7. The response of Heinrich Fries to the demythologizing of Rudolf Bultmann takes the form of a list of short arguments against the main features of the program.14 On the positive side, he avers that Catholic theologians cannot be grateful enough for the impetus that Bultmann has given to theology by his emphasis upon its existential character.15 One of Fries' objections is that Bultmann makes man's pre-understanding the measure of all understanding, so that Bultmann's "act of God" in the existential encounter is actually only an act of man, since it limits man's understanding of God to man's pre-understanding of himself, and it cuts the size of God down to the size of man, thus turning theology into anthropology.16 In my opinion Bultmann has contributed almost nothing to the understanding of the Christian message except to have posed a challenging set of problems whose correct solution could effect in some areas a development of Catholic theology, not in existentialist terms, but on the basis of Catholic theological tradition. If understanding is defined as "the knowledge of something true in relation to another truth," then all understanding does involve the pre-knowledge of something else. If all pre-knowledge were to be limited to what man can know by the light of his natural reason alone, as in the Rationalism of Bultmann's program, then no understanding of the supernatural would be possible. But pre-knowledge of the supernatural is possible from divine revelation, and so, for instance, a man can understand something about the objects of faith and even about himself in the light of truths revealed by God, and we call this kind of pre-understanding the light of faith. This function of pre-understanding can be illustrated in the moderate realism of Scholastic philosophy. In contemporary non-Scholastic philosophy and theology we often hear mention of the "subject-object link-up," usually with emphasis upon the subject of an "I-thou" relationship, while Bultmann suppresses it entirely in his demythologizing act of faith and of "authentic existence." What is missing in both cases in this common subject-object paradigm is the medium of the mind. Actually, what one is always dealing with in every act of understanding is a) the knowing subject, b) the remote object that is being understood, and c) the mental framework intermediate between the subject and the remote object being understood. Understanding comes from seeing the remote object in the light of the intervening proximate object, which is, therefore, the pre-understanding referred to by Bultmann in his own way. Hence, in responding to the demythologizing of Bultmann, attention needs to be paid to the mental framework of understanding, in which the right philosophy provides many of the middle terms, and the right philosophy is the moderate realism of Scholastic philosophy, but some further development of Scholastic philosophy would be very useful in the area of theory of knowledge, seeing that some of the precise middle terms for a complete response to Bultmann's use of "pre-understanding" still need to be refined, as I have suggested at length where I treated the problem of the origin of intellectual knowledge.17
8. Fries sees the program of demythologizing as an attempt to carry the Reformation principle of "justification by faith alone" even into the sphere of knowledge, by forgetting that man is still made in the image and likeness of God and by emptying the act of faith of its real relationship to the real God.18 We have noted elsewhere Bultmann's play on the word "reality" and his negation of the reality of God.19 This position traces back to another Reformation principle, the radical separation of faith and reason and the consequent setting up of an alternate world of religious belief, which Bultmann conceives of as "non-world." The rebuttal of this idea of the total separation of faith and reason amounts to a demonstration, as Fries points out, that Christian faith has sufficient grounds of credibility in human reason and does not need to flee from Historie into an existentialist Geschichte,20 that is, from the real world into some kind of aesthetic dream-world, where the dreamer may imagine and believe anything he pleases during his times of recreation. We know that the true religion is much more than that and we need to prove it more decisively.
9. Another point made by Fries is that the Catholic Church correctly recognizes a multiple level of meaning in the text of the Sacred Scriptures, and a deeper spiritual meaning behind the direct literal meaning of the words.21 And from this understanding come the theological concepts of the supernatural and sanctifying grace, which elevates a human person to a present and future participation in the divine nature. This Catholic concept of supernatural grace contains what is lacking in Bultmann's demythologized notions of grace, redemption, and salvation.22 Of course, Bultmann's rejection of the deeper spiritual sense of the Sacred Scriptures follows a general Protestant aversion to recognizing the spiritual senses, and also reflects the classical Lutheran denial of the reality of sanctifying grace. Catholic historical critics, following the lead of their liberal Protestant mentors, for a long time tended to look for only one meaning, what they saw as the meaning, of any given biblical text, and that was the literal meaning, except that they would manage to find a "fuller sense" (sensus plenior) in places where a deeper meaning had been officially proclaimed by the Church, but more recently they have begun to consider that a text can have more than one meaning.23 Actually, the literal sense of many texts of Sacred Scripture cannot be fully understood unless there is some perception of the spiritual senses that lie behind them, and this is why a full response to the program of demythologizing cannot be given without a prior return to the traditional Catholic approach to Sacred Scripture, the method of the Four Senses, which is recommended by the Catechism of the Catholic Church as the proper way to interpret the Bible.24 This approach in an updated way is being pursued by neo-Patristic scholars.
10. A final point made by Fries is that biblical revelation does not present unhistorical ideas in the guise of history, and that the kerygma and faith of the New Testament are grounded in what factually happened.25 This is true, but here we come to the question of the historicity of the events reported in the Bible, and particularly in the four Gospels. Now, Bultmann is heavily armed in this area. He published his scathing attack on the historicity of the Synoptic Gospels in 1921, and an even more scathing attack on the historicity of the Gospel according to John in 1943. To my knowledge no effective general answer on an organized critical level to these attacks has ever been published by any one of the Catholic form critics who use his method, nor has any one of them advanced an alternative form-critical method that would effectively and explicitly distance itself from the Rationalism that underlies his conclusions. Hence, a complete answer to Bultmann's program of demythologizing urgently requires also a technical refutation of the arguments he presented in these two books to demonstrate the form-critical conclusions upon which this program is based.
The Response of René Marlé
11. René Marlé, in an article published in 1956, gave a rather indulgent appraisal of Rudolf Bultmann's program of "demythologizing the New Testament." Marlé found the program to be basically constructive and drawn up from the viewpoint of a resolute believer, while the demythologizing is intended only to clear the way for a rigorous "theology of paradox," even though the "idols" of New Testament mythology marked out for destruction do seem artificial and contrived.26 But he does find it defective to accuse the Apostolic witness to the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus of being "mythological" and thus to deprive it of all of its objective reality and intrinsic meaning.27 And he doubts whether the New Testament world-view presented by Bultmann coincides with what these ancients thought.28 As I have said above, it is my opinion that the demythologizing of Rudolf Bultmann is totally destructive of all of the objective reality of faith and has no redeeming feature, because his project aims at a purely imaginary goal, namely, to validate the now collapsed "fiction" of the biblical narratives by immersing it in the supposed authenticity of one's own subjective being. There is no true paradox here. Marlé opines that there may be a world of realities not accessible to conceptual thought that are expressed in religion through the imaged and symbolic language of what Bultmann calls myth and we call mystery.29 Now, there may be a world of realities not accessible to human conceptual thought, but the mysteries of the New Testament are contained in a narrative of real events. Certainly, those with mystical insight see realities that Bultmann could not even suspect of being there, but these realities have no relation to myth. The language of the New Testament is adapted to the expression of metaphors and allegories that pertain to the mysteries of the accounts, but these spiritual senses are based on the historical reality of the literal sense. The world-view of the New Testament is revealed and is based on the world-view of Genesis. The imagery in the world-view of Sacred Scripture conveys realities that go beyond the ability of human minds to confine them. The fact that these mysteries often go beyond human ability fully to comprehend them is no excuse for calling them myths. The challenge is to find the right framework in which to understand them as completely as possible, and that is the framework of the Four Senses of Sacred Scripture begun by the Fathers of the Church.
12. Bultmann has pointed out the superficiality of those who object to his conclusions but ignore the fact that the conclusions logically follow from the premises that he uses and that all of the elements of his program depend upon one another. In an article published in English in 1961 Marlé speaks of "the fatal outcome to which Bultmann's premises would normally lead," and he points out that, when Catholic theologians object to the weakness or hollowness of his conclusions, it is only to bring out the fundamental weaknesses of his premises.30 Yet Marlé also seems to admit that he cannot distinguish with any degree of success which are Bultmann's premises and which are his conclusions.31 Actually, whoever denies the premises of an argument has to deny the conclusions, and the conclusions of Bultmann's reasonings are outrageous, and many of his conclusions are premises for further conclusions. Thus, his turning to the existentialism of Martin Heidegger was a resort to save something Christian from a New Testament message whose historical truth he seemed to have totally wiped out in his earlier exegesis, as laid out in his History of the Synoptic Tradition. And Catholic Scripture scholars who have been attracted to Bultmann's exegetical method have provided little in the way of refutation of the errors of method contained in this book.
13. As the years went by, one would have hoped that Marlé's opposition to Bultmann's theology would have strengthened and solidified. However, in another analysis published in 1967,32 while he still maintains that Bultmann's conceptual instruments are too rigid to support a true theology, Marlé goes so far as to declare himself a moderate follower of this "intrepid theologian," who recognizes in his program of demythologizing a justified concern, but also who rejects the radicalism with which Bultmann has defined it and put it into operation,33 even though Bultmann's proposals do contain an incentive to theologians of every persuasion to renew their own contact with the foundations of the faith that they profess.34 Marlé feels that the current revival of interest in sacramental symbolism, among other things, reflects an anxiety to recover realities that have been lost sight of over the last few centuries. Hence, he says, the rediscovery of images, symbols, and "myths" with the re-evaluation of the imagination is an important aspect of the modern movement, since revelation will always be communicated to us in the world of images.35 On the contrary, I maintain that there are no myths in the New Testament. Certainly, the Holy Spirit uses imagery and parable to convey deeper truths, but these have no relation to mythology. What is truly unfortunate is that during the past several centuries Catholic exegetes have largely lost sight of the allegorical significance of much of the imagery in the Bible, thus leaving the door open to false interpretations like that of Bultmann. The answer is to forget about the "modern" movement and return to the solid approach of the medieval exegetes and the Fathers of the Church. In the restoration of the method of the Four Senses of Sacred Scripture, a clear distinction will be kept in mind between the literal and spiritual senses, with the result that the truth of the literal sense will become more apparent, and the deeper meanings of the spiritual senses will come into view. Bultmann's program does not represent a justified concern; it merely awakens a justified concern to refute his erroneous approach to the interpretation of the New Testament and, in the process, to discover additional meanings in the sacred text.
14. Marlé is being uncritical himself where he says that modern criticism has made us more demanding and that the only way in which we can establish contact with the world of the Apostles is in terms of the exigencies that we have as twentieth-century men, since it would be an empty illusion to try to recover a naivety that is forever lost. Marlé says that to this extent he agrees with Bultmann, but he disagrees with Bultmann's narrow concept of existence and favors instead theological work based upon history.36 On the contrary, since Bultmann not only presupposes the Lutheran doctrine of the total corruption of the intellect and will of man, but also excludes all of the objects of Catholic faith, a Catholic theologian cannot reasonably be a "moderate follower" of his. Furthermore, the contact of twentieth- or twenty-first-century men with the world of the Apostles has not been lost, because Bultmann's notion of modern man is totally mistaken. The naivety involved here does not involve an acceptance of the world of the Apostles, but rather the acceptance of the conclusions of Bultmann and many others of his historical-critical followers that the events regarding Jesus that are recorded in the New Testament are unhistorical and mythological. Rather, they are historically real events. Hence, the needed theological work based on history must aim at refuting the form-criticism of Bultmann et al. and securing the historical truth of the Gospel events. This work includes the development of an adequate theory of history and its application to the problems presented by historical criticism.
The Response of Joseph Cahill
15. Joseph Cahill, like René Marlé, feels that Bultmann has the merit of trying to make biblical revelation relevant to modern man, and he welcomes Bultmann's attempt to bridge the gaps between what he calls the rich, modern interpretation of Sacred Scripture, speculative theology, and concrete "existential" man. Cahill thus shows a lack of understanding for what Bultmann has done to the concept of modern man and also a certain fascination for Bultmann's method of form-criticism, which leads him to underestimate the devastating effects of Bultmann's form-critical conclusions in The History of the Synoptic Tradition. Cahill rejects Bultmann's denial of the objective existence of God, but he sees in the Bultmannian doctrine of pre-understanding "very definite echoes" of the natural desire for God expressed in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine of Hippo.37 I think that a closer look at the program of demythologizing would have shown that Bultmann's "modern man" embraces only those contemporary men who believe in secular humanism and have no openness to divine revelation or to any influence of divine grace in their lives. Bultmann's interpretation of the New Testament has no richness, either objective or subjective. His view of the Christian message is the view of a Modernist whose subjective pride of modern place obstructs any clear view or hearing of what that message is saying to him and of how it seeks to elevate his concrete existence here and now. In fact, Bultmann's method of form-criticism shuts out the whole moral impact of the Gospel message, which can take its effect only in a mind and heart that seeks it in an attitude of humility and prayer.
16. Cahill avers that, for Bultmann, the only Christ is the Christ for us, so that Christian faith becomes centered on a value judgment, and the Person of the Jesus of history has no intrinsic and permanent relation to the experiential grasp of divine revelation.38 Cahill notes Bultmann's admission that his "existential encounter" cannot defend itself against the charge of illusion and could, therefore, easily be a mere personality projection, while "the validity and necessity of the strictly historical method for a reconstruction of certain past outer events which the believer apprehends with a new magnitude and dimension as revelation cannot be minimized or distinguished out of existence." In sum, he adds, the possibility of faith is made available because God has intervened in history, and "no amount of subjective a priori speculation or postulation can substitute for or replace critical investigation of the divine events as well as enlightened examination of the later understanding of the divine events manifested in the theological sources."39 To my mind there is no doubt that the "outer events" of divine revelation cannot be minimized or distinguished out of existence, but the problem here is that Bultmann did not begin to make his existential distinctions until after he had already, in his estimation, destroyed the historicity of those events through the use of his historical-critical method. And it is to the discredit of Catholic historical critics that they have never laid to rest the enormous concatenation of fallacies and unfactual statements enshrined in Bultmann's classic historical-critical work, The History of the Synoptic Tradition. The "strictly historical method" that Catholics need is not the form-criticism instituted by Rudolf Bultmann and now followed by most Catholic biblical scholars. Rather, it is the method of the Fathers of the Church and of Catholic exegetical tradition, updated to meet the challenges posed by historical criticism. The sooner that the majority of Catholic scholars turn to this needed task, the more quickly will the Rationalism and the Modernism inherent in the exegesis of Bultmann cease to threaten Catholic faith and Catholic biblical studies.
17. In projecting the need of a fuller response to the demythologizing of Rudolf Bultmann, I have stressed the need of clear apologetic arguments to counter the invitation to Modernism implied in the Bultmannian concept of "modern man" with a greater recourse to prayer and to affirming over and over the supernatural objects of Catholic faith, above all the divinity of Jesus. I have mentioned the need of a return to the method and insights of Catholic exegetical tradition with all of the answers that it can provide, and of an effort to develop that tradition with the use of contemporary historical methods properly defined and refined. In my reviews of 1999 I tried to point out how each of the four Catholic theologians mentioned above in this article in some ways played into the hands of Bultmann by conceding things that they were in no position to concede, and which did not deserve to be conceded, and I think that they made these mistakes because they had not sufficiently thought out the debate that they were in and did not come to the discussion sufficiently prepared for the defense of their own side. In the continuation of this article, I shall present the responses of the other four theologians reviewed in the series of the year 1999, to see how much they contributed to the challenge of a fuller response to the program of "demythologizing" by which Rudolf Bultmann gained world-wide fame and notoriety.
To be continued
1. For the essay which touched off the "demythologizing debate" see Rudolf Bultmann, "Neues Testament und Mythologie," in Offenbarung und Heilsgeschehen: Beiträge zur evangelischen Theologie, VII/2 (Munich, 1941); reprinted in H.W. Bartsch, ed., Kerygma und Mythos (Hamburg, 1948 [henceforth referred to as KuM]); Engl. trans., H.W. Bartsch, ed., Kerygma and Myth: A Theological Debate, vol. I (London: SPCK, 1962 [henceforth referred to as KaM]). For a brief summary of the demythologizing debate, especially among Protestant theologians, with the relevant bibliography, see J.F. McCarthy, The Science of Historical Theology (2d printing, Rockford: TAN, 1991), pp. 1-5. For a brief presentation of the meaning and goal of the program of demythologizing, see McCarthy, ibid., pp. 5-14.
2. L. Malevez, Le message chrétien et le mythe. La théologie de Rudolf Bultmann (Brussels-Bruges-Paris, 1954 [henceforth referred to as MCM]); Engl. trans., The Christian Message and Myth: The Theology of Rudolf Bultmann (London: SCM Press, 1958 [henceforth referred to as CMM]). For a fuller understanding of this discussion, it is recommendable to read my reviews of this and the other seven responses at the following places: for Leopold Malevez and Heinrich Fries, in Living Tradition 80 (March 1999); for Réné Marlé and Joseph Cahill, in Living Tradition 81 (May 1999); for Xavier Léon-Dufour and John McKenzie, in Living Tradition 82 (July 1999); and for Anton Vögtle and Ugo Lattanzi, in Living Tradition 83 (September 1999).
3. Cf. Malevez MCM, p. 121; CMM, pp. 123-124.
4. See Living Tradition 112 (July 2004), paragraph 10.
5. Cf. Malevez, MCM, pp. 118-119; CMM, pp. 120-121.
6. Cf. Malevez, MCM, pp. 153-156; CMM, pp. 155-158.
7. Cf. Malevez,.MCM, pp. 153-156; CMM, pp. 155-158.
8. J.F. McCarthy, "A Tentative Characterization of the Genre of Bultmann’s Theological Writing," in The Science of Historical Theology, pp. 143-164.
9. Bultmann, in KaM, vol. I, p. 6
10. Cf. "The real skandalon of faith in God vis-à-vis modern technology can become clear only when we have abandoned the false view of God which that technology has exploded" (Bultmann, in KaM, vol. I, p. 120.
11. Cf. Malevez, MCM, pp. 139-145; CMM, 142-147.
12. Bultmann, in KaM, vol. I, p. 29.
13. Cf. Malevez, MCM, pp. 149-152; CMM, pp. 151-153.
14. H. Fries, Bultmann-Barth und die katholische Theologie (Stuttgart, 1955 [henceforth referred to as BBKT]); Engl. trans., Bultmann-Barth and Catholic Theology (Pittsburgh: Duquesne Univ. Press, 1967 [henceforth referred to as BBCT]). See my review in Living Tradition 80 (March 1999).
15. Fries, BBKT, pp. 137-138; BBCT, pp. 149-150.
16. Fries, BBKT, pp. 129-139; BBCT, pp. 141-150.
17. See McCarthy, The Science of Historical Theology, pp. 15-34.
18. Fries, BBKT, p. 141, 158-160; BBCT, pp. 152-153, 168-170.
19. See Living Tradition 112 (July 2004), paragraph 7.
20. Cf. Fries, BBKT, pp. 133-135; BBCT, pp. 145-147.
21. Cf. Fries, BBKT, p. 144; BBCT, p. 155.
22. Cf. Fries, BBKT, pp. 149-150; BBCT, pp. 160-161.
23. "In reaction to this multiplicity of senses, historical-critical exegesis adopted, more or less overtly, the thesis of the one single meaning: a text cannot have at the same time more than one meaning. All the effort of historical-critical exegesis goes into defining "the" precise sense of this or that biblical text seen within the circumstances in which it was produced. But this thesis has now run aground on the conclusions of theories of language and of philosophical hermeneutics, both of which affirm that written texts are open to a plurality of meaning" (The [reconstituted] Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1993), p.78.
24. Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 115-119.
25. Fries, BBKT, pp. 167-170 ; BBCT, pp. 176-179.
26. R. Marlé, Bultmann et l'interprétation du Nouveau Testament (Paris, 1956 [henceforth referred to as MBI]) pp. 174-175. See my review of Marlé’s interventions in Living Tradition 81 (May 1999).
27. Marlé, MBI, pp. 171-172.
28. Marlé, MBI, pp. 62-63.
29. Marlé, MBI, pp. 66-69; 180-181.
30. Cf. R. Marlé, "Demythologizing Assessed," in The Heythrop Journal (1961), pp. 45-46.
31. Cf. Marlé, MBI, p. 176, note 5.
32. R. Marlé, Bultmann et la foi chrétienne (Paris, 1967 [henceforth referred to as MBFC]); Engl. trans., Bultmann and Christian Faith (Westminster, Md.: Newman Press, 1968 [henceforth referred to as MBCF]).
33. Marlé, MBFC, p. 77; MBCF, p. 51.
34. Marlé, MBFC, pp. 154-155; MBCF, p. 106.
35. Marlé, MBFC, pp. 84-85; MBCF, pp. 55-56.
36. Marlé, MBFC, pp. 85-87; MBCF, pp. 56-57.
37. P. J. Cahill, "(Notes concerning John Macquarrie's) The Scope of Demythologizing," in Theological Studies, 23 (1962), pp. 79-92 [henceforth referred to as JCSD]), pp. 86-90 and p. 80, note 4. See my review of Cahill’s intervention in Living Tradition 81 (May 1999).
38. Cahill, JCSD, p. 84.
39. Cahill, JCSD, pp. 82-84.