A major example was Bultmann’s treatment of the resurrection of Jesus, which was accomplished without a historical investigation of any sort. He concludes at the very outset, “Is it not a mythical event pure and simple? Obviously it is not an event of past history.”^2
While the earliest disciples’ faith in the resurrection was a historical fact, it is not even important to know the cause of this belief.^3 Thus, the historicity of the resurrection was rejected a priori as a myth, without any attempt to investigate the facts. Even the importance of such historical research was rejected. Because the early church was said not to have been interested in recording history, legend was mixed into the Gospel accounts. The result was that Bultmann thought there was much uncertainty concerning historical aspects of Jesus’ life and teachings.^4
1 Bultmann, Jesus Christ and Mythology, pp. 16–21, 35–38.
2 Bultmann, “New Testament and Mythology,” p. 38. ^3 3 Ibid., p. 42. Bultmann expresses the same view in his Theology, vol. I, p. 45. ^4 4 Bultmann, “The Study of the Synoptic Gospels,” pp. 60–61, 64, 72.
From Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus – Ancient Evidence For The Life Of Christ (in print at Amazon)
In his earlier writings, Bultmann expressed this conclusion quite strongly, such as his belief that “we can know almost nothing concerning the life and personalty of Jesus.”^5 Still, there is no doubt that Bultmann accepted a number of historical facts concerning the life and message of Jesus, especially in his later writings.^6 Bultmann’s view will be presented in Chapter 7, where we will list a number of historical facts that are even accepted by historical skeptics.