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:
@rudolf_bultmann So, Rudy, let's see if this is really you: what informal location did you write the following lines:— W. Travis McMaken (@WTravisMcMaken) April 10, 2013
@rudolf_bultmann "Take heart, for in this flow of time / Our freedom from ourselves we win"— W. Travis McMaken (@WTravisMcMaken) April 10, 2013
To this very simple test, I received the following reply:
@wtravismcmaken My brain isn't what it used to be - about 10% is now green goo. So I cannot remember. You of little faith— Rudolf Bultmann (@Rudolf_Bultmann) April 10, 2013
In the midst of my deep and overwhelming disappointment in Rudy's cognitive condition, I composed the following literary masterpiece:
@rudolf_bultmann Lame-sauce.— W. Travis McMaken (@WTravisMcMaken) April 11, 2013
But then, hope appeared on the horizon! An interested third party weighed in and moved things in the right direction:
@wtravismcmaken I'm no Bultmann, but I'm pretty sure this was a poem composed by Bultmann which he wrote in a guestbook, maybe edinburgh— Todd Brewer (@ToddHBrew) April 11, 2013
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.