Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rudolf Bultmann - a poem

Ben Myers of Faith and Theology has already made an amateur attempt at writing poetry about Rudolf Bultmann. But what is clearly needed is a bit more class. Admittedly some of the poetry thus far on Chrisendom hasn’t necessarily been altogether too inspiring (I can’t help it if I find poetry a bit poncie). But such is the pained genius of a literary artist such as myself. Some days you’re hot, others days you’re not. Which leads me to my poem:

Rudolf Bultmann

Though some conservatives may without a thought Bultmann dismiss,
That’s surely gotta be taking the piss.

They focus on one matter so exclusively, that the whole project is misread,
As so Dr Jim West is not alone in wanting such folk dead.

They think Bultmann is self evidently a theological road accident,
And this when they haven’t a clue what on earth he really meant.

But some may say that Bultmann’s critics had a point,
That some of his theology was truly a little out of joint

But to claim this one must understand,
His thinking was far from merely liberal, shallow and bland

You see, in an age of electricity and light switches,
Those stories of angels and demons left him in stitches,

And so he pursued a course of demythologising,
But his results were for some unpleasantly surprising,

None can doubt the sheer brilliance of theological and exegetical vision,
Even if some may be forgiven for detecting and unhealthy fission,

As plotted into a theological Lutheranism,
His historians ‘works of the law’ could give today’s historiographicians a spasism

And so was this giant from Marburg City,
Whose theological results were sometimes astonishingly pretty.

Even if some of his ideas have been shown to be off track,
He still set the agenda; he was certainly no slack

But when all is said and done of course,
He could have done with a bit of Tom Wright to lead him away from the dark side of the force.

Chris Tilling, March 2007