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Bonhoeffer and Bultmann: Toward an Apocalyptic Rapprochement



In the 1950s and 1960s, the relation between Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Rudolf Bultmann was a topic of much dispute, with Gerhard Krause declaring the apparent opposition between them ‘resolved’ in 1964. Recent apocalyptic theology has reopened the divide between them by claiming Bonhoeffer as an apocalyptic thinker over against Bultmann. This article disputes that reading by arguing that the very conditions under which Bonhoeffer is rightly understood as apocalyptic open up the door for a new interpretation of Bultmann. The question of their relationship reveals the ambiguity surrounding the notion of apocalyptic. There is a pressing need for greater clarity regarding this notion as well as greater charity in relation to Bultmann.