Hamman, Rudolf Bultmann: A Biography
Hamman, Rudolf Bultmann: A Biography

This is a list of interesting things I learned while reading Chapter III. “Professor in Breslau and Giessen” from Konrad Hamman’s Rudolf Bultmann: a Biography:

– Bultmann was quite the romantic, wooing Helene Feldmann with much poetry! They were married on August 6th, 1917.

– Both Bultmann and his wife lost friends and family during WWI: “Helene’s brother Hanns and Bultmann’s youngest brother Arthur fell in the spring of 1917. And at the front, Bultmann’s boyhood friend Leonhard Frank had a fatal accident on July 8, 1917.” [1]

– “On September 8, 1916, Bultmann received the call to the associate professorship of New Testament in the Protestant theological faculty of the Silesian Friedrich-Wilhelms University at Breslau.” [2] There “[a]s an associate professor in Breslau, Bultmann had to present ‘New Testament Practica for Beginners’ on a regular basis, 38 and in addition to these, he twice offered ‘New Testament Theology’ and ‘Introduction to the New Testament.’ Also, he gave overview courses on the Gospel of John and the Pauline letters in the departmental exegetical seminar— In the case of the latter, twice on Galatians and once on Romans.” [3]

– Bultmann was often homesick for Marburg.

– While Bultmann was supportive of the War early (“Bultmann shared the collective enthusiasm that gripped the majority of Germans at the outbreak of the First World War in August of 1914.” and “In his wartime sermons, Bultmann at first showed himself fully convinced “that our cause is God’s cause.”) he changed his views. He was unable to serve because of hip trouble. [4]

– Bultmann was sympathetic of Lenin, but never became a Marxist.

– Bultmann’s The History of the Synoptic Tradition made him “…a leading voice in the then innovative field of study called form-criticism that found great favor among New Testament scholars following the First World War.” [5]

– “Bultmann does not reflect the Romantic notion that “the people”— in this case the earliest Christian community— comprises a sort of collective voice that gave birth to the gospel tradition. Rather, he envisions elements of the tradition as having been created by individual members of the early Christian community who were teachers, prophets, apostles, and scribes. Then, when the community passed on the tradition, this process was consummated according to the universal patterns for conveying popular sayings and narratives.” [6]

And, of course, there is much more, but that’s all for now.


[1] Kindle Locations 1958-1960

[2] Kindle Locations 1986-1987

[3] Kindle Locations 2023-2026

[4] Kindle Locations 2119-2120 and Kindle Locations 2131-2132

[5] Kindle Locations 2284-2285

[6] Kindle Locations 2357-2360