What is it about?

In this article, I describe Rudolf Bultmann's approach to the task of biblical theology. I begin by investigating the important presuppositions that undergird Bultmann’s work as a biblical theologian. After exploring his key assumptions, I then examine Bultmann's work by using four major issues in the field of biblical theology as a grid through which to classify his unique approach to doing biblical theology.

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Why is it important?

Rudolf Bultmann is still considered to be one of the most significant figures in the history of biblical theology. And though the field of biblical theology has changed since his days, Bultmann's influence on the discipline continues to be felt. Because of his enormous influence, it remains worthwhile to understand Bultmann's work before evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of his theological and interpretive method.


I hope the article is helpful for those with an interest in New Testament theology and biblical theology. I reiterate that the article was not written to commend Bultmann's approach; indeed, I have significant reservations about a number of his ideas. Nevertheless, I do hope that the article fairly represents his work so that those interested might be able to make their own judgments regarding Bultmann's strengths and weaknesses as a biblical theologian.

Richard Blaylock
Western Seminary

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This page is a summary of: Encountering Bultmann as a Biblical Theologian, Horizons in Biblical Theology, July 2022, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/18712207-12341453.
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