Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Gnostic Reading of John's Gospel (Bultmann)

Rudolf Bultmann's notion of the Gnostic Redeemer-myth has certainly not gone unchallenged. In fact, some scholars have outright taken it to task. See, for instance, the comments of O. Betz in "The Concept of the So-Called 'Divine Man' in Mark's Christology" (Studies in NT and Early Christian Literature, pp. 229-240. Edited by D. Aune)

Martin Hengel also has written extensively about the origins of Christology in his famed work The Son of God, The Origin of Christology and the History of Jewish-Hellenistic Religion (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1976); unfortunately, Hengel's depiction of the relationship between Judaism and Hellenism is also governed by certain presuppositions that seem to adversely affect Hengel's interpretation of the actual Sitz im Leben for first century Palestine. Cf. L. H. Feldman, "Hengel's Judaism and Hellenism in Retrospect." JBL 96 (1977): 371-382. At any rate, I think Bultmann too hastily draws parallels between John's Gospel and Gnosticism where they likely do not exist.


Anonymous said...

Hi Edgar,

Speaking of the fourth Gospel, have you ever considered doing a blog series on Jan A. Buhner's Der Gesandte Und Sein Weg Im 4? I've corresponded with the author and others in the hope that I might convince them that an English translation of this book is historically important, but so far no success.

Thankfully, John Ashton has translated some important sections of the book into English, including the entire chapter dealing with the EGO EIMI sayings in John, but that merely whets the appetite!

What do you think? I read your CV and noticed that you read German;-)


Edgar Foster said...

Hi Kaz,

Ashton has done some good work with the book--I love the chapter on the EGW EIMI sayings too. To be honest, I have not planned a series on Der Gesandte Und Sein Weg Im 4 although I won't totally discount it either.

The difficulty is many projects already in waiting that I need to finish (including editing for others). Furthermore, my career now is much different than it was years ago. Teaching numerous classes each semester, having a different research focus overall, and the kinds of classes I teach have all affected my research agenda.

I didn't plan things this way, and sometimes, I think about switching jobs (maybe becoming a praeceptor or lexicologist), but that would require additional training and more years of study. But, to answer your question, it's possible but not probable. :)

All the best,


Anonymous said...

Hi Edgar,

Well, I had to try;-) I can surely understand how work can cause us to shift focus, as this has been the story of my life! I'd learn German myself, if I could find the time, though I'd prefer to concentrate on biblical Greek and Italian (love operatic arias).