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Re: [Sartre] Bultmann, Heidegger, and Gnosticism

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  • Jud Evans
    EDWARD MOORE: Perhaps we can go into this time. For now, I will simply say that it is important to note that myth for Bultmann does not mean a simple,
    Message 1 of 2 , May 31, 2001
      Perhaps we can go into this time. For now, I will simply say that it is
      important to note that "myth" for Bultmann does not mean a simple, primitive
      conception or account of the world and its phenomena. Like Paul Ricoeur
      (especially!) Bultmann recognized that myths are the primary symbols upon
      which a philosophy is later built, or always depends, in some way.
      "Demythologization," then, means for Bultmann the act of displaying,
      philosophically, the inner power and 'truth' of the myths -- without in any
      way discounting or abandoning them as mere children's tales. That said, I
      heartily recommend Bultmann's essay on "The Historicity of Man and Faith"
      (in _Existence and Faith_ 1960). It contains an excellent rebuttal to
      Heidegger that I'm sure you will find most interesting.

      I'm a bit skeptical. I've been trying to 'rebut' Heidegger for years and
      years, and the thoroughly duplicitous bastard has always got around behind
      me with a surprize attack from the rear, no pun intended. Rebutting
      Heidegger would be like rebutting Aristotle or Nietzsche or even Kant. It is
      hard to believe that Bultmann is really up to it. And EXISTENCE AND FAITH,
      as far as I can tell is out of print. Is "Historicity of Man and Faith" in
      one of the other antologies? Anyone?

      This polemic is engrossing to read, and the judiciousness, wisdom and sheer
      scholasticism is highly impressive. It is my opinion though that it doesn't
      matter how erudite and intellectually equipped one is in such dialectic, one
      of the participants is forced to acquiesce and adopt the linguistic and
      semantic 'book of rules' of the other purely in order that the discussion
      can proceed. It is my own experience that when disputing with religious
      people it is always the sceptic who must make the accommodation and adopt
      the jargon and the field of battle of contestation. In this sort of
      discourse that battlefield is always the bible - a digest that is notorious
      for its self contradictory equivocalness - to the adept bible student
      [Jehovah's Witnesses are particularly good at this] it is possible to find
      some passage in the bible which aptly 'proves' a point in a given
      discussion, whilst it may contradict completely another section of the holy
      book in its import, which is of course ignored and goes unregarded by both
      disputants. I have always found this to be very frustrating, and although my
      knowledge of the bible is better than most Christians, I find that a
      discourse with a Christian normally ends up as two people citing
      contradictory passages at each other and getting nowhere fast.

      As a subject of knowledge and of history and anthropological interest I find
      religion quite absorbing, but only as an onlooker, in the same way that one
      observes the social activity of bees or locusts or the behaviour of those
      bare-assed savages in Papua New Guinea somewhere, who worship bamboo
      airplanes in the jungle - the so-called Cargo Cults. From what I can see
      Christianity is nothing more than a Westernised more sophisticated variant
      of the cargo-cults, where instead of a payload of cheap radios and beads,
      the shipment is one of an intellectual opt-out from the chores of thinking
      for the self, a flight from reality, and the possibility of hitching or
      stowing-away on a return-flight to the eternal spiritual bliss of God's
      flying field of a heavenly bliss in never-never land. I must say though,
      that if Eisenman is correct and the "Saul" who invited Vespasian to destroy
      the Jews in Jerusalem was Paul himself it is quite chilling rather like a
      sort of Christian Adolf Eichman? I find the concept of Paul the quisling
      quite shuddery, and the thought that this proselytite monster went on to
      become Christianity's leading light and rather disturbing.
      I suppose his conversion on the road to Damascus lets him off the hook as
      far as some people are concerned, but the thought of receiving wine and
      bread [the body of Christ] from the same bloodied-by-proxy hands of a man
      who had conspired in the throat-slitting of his own folk is enough to give
      anyone the willies.
      Reminds me of Heidegger's complicity with the Nazis and his going back to
      his desk to continue writing about the higher realms of human cerebrations
      just after putting down the telephone after phoning the Gestapo and
      arranging for some poor Jew to be picked up and carted off to the ovens.

      Best wishes,

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