Rudolf Bultmann, Poet

I thought that I would depart from the beaten path for this installment pertaining to April’s Book ‘O the Month, and present you not with some weighty prose by or about Bultmann. Perhaps my dear readers, I thought, would find a snippet of his poetry both refreshing and engaging.

This was motivated, in part, by the recent appearance of Rudolf Bultmann's zombie on Twitter. When you think about it, it is rather ironic that a guy interested in demythologizing would come back as a mythological creature...but I digress. In any case, after some witty repartee, I decided to discern just how far ol' Rudy's mental capacities had been diminished by his state of advanced (albeit, reanimated) decomposition. Here is what ensued:

To this very simple test, I received the following reply:

In the midst of my deep and overwhelming disappointment in Rudy's cognitive condition, I composed the following literary masterpiece:

But then, hope appeared on the horizon! An interested third party weighed in and moved things in the right direction:

So allow me, dear readers, to enlighten you - and remind poor old Rudy - as to this episode in Bultmann's life.

The context is the recent publication of Bultmann’s book entitled, Primitive Christianity in Its Contemporary Setting. As Hammann tells the story, Bultmann was staying with his cousin (Fritz Bultmann) in Ganderkese when this book came out in 1949, and upon leaving he wrote the following poem in his cousin's guestbook. In Hammann’s judgment, this poem “expresses the concept of existence that Bultmann regarded as distinctive of earliest Christianity.”

Konrad Hammann, Rudolf Bultmann, 394.
We are born on time’s relentless stream,
Our present passes ever on.
And so is all but a fading dream?
And we, with it, forlorn?

Take heart, for in this flow of time
Our freedom from ourselves we win,
And in what comes we e’er shall find
Ourselves renewed again, again.

Thus says the Word, and if you’re open
And ready for what may come or be,
In faith and love you may find hope,
And find in time eternity.



Chris Tilling said…
Dammit, I searched my copy of Hammann's biography too!
I knew I'd have you with this one. ;-)

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