Rudolf Bultmann, Gospel of John, and Exegesis

R. bultmannI cracked open Bultmann’s famous commentary on John this evening to see what he had to say in regards to John’s Prologue (1.1-18). I was impressed with his eye for detail, his understanding of the literary character of the Prologue, and his desire to get at  the meaning of what the evangelist said. We see Bultmann’s Formgeschichte is full effect, evidenced by his exegesis on the text of 1.1-18. But what struck me was a statement he makes after a brief analysis of the structure of the Prologue, conceding that behind the Prologue is a “source document to which the Evangelist has added his own comments” (Bultmann, 16). Bultmann confesses:

It goes without saying that the exegesis must expound the complete text, the critical analysis is the servant of this exposition.

Did you hear that? Although a card-carrying form critic, Bultmann cares about the final form of the text.


One thought on “Rudolf Bultmann, Gospel of John, and Exegesis

  1. Bultmann is an absolutely fabulous exegete – when he works on a text, the text says what it says and means what it means – his own views pretty much don’t colour his exegesis (for the most part).

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