The influence of Bultmann has become so blunted that European seminaries once known as “Bultmann centers”—Tübingen, Zürich, Marburg, Mainz—no longer fit this designation. This is all the more true in such “secondary strongholds” of Bultmannism as Heidelberg and Bonn. Even Marburg, where Bultmann now lives in retirement, is hardly a secure fortress of his views. Kümmel, since 1951 Bultmann’s successor at Marburg, is a vocal critic of his master. And Fuchs’s arrival in 1960 brought in a post-Bultmannian champion, one whose lectures are heard by two-thirds of Marburg’s 300 theological students. Colorful in personality and strongly polemic, Fuchs with his dark sayings, vivid illustrations, and prophetic note readily captures student interest. Walter Schmithals, another Bultmann disciple, also broadly retains his former teacher’s perspective at Marburg.
In Tübingen, Ernst Käsemann draws 500 of the 700 divinity students to the university’s largest lecture hall, a following two times as large as that which Barth enjoyed in his prime at Basel, with its enrollment of about 300. But this turnout represents as much an interest in Käsemann’s tart phrasing and mocking of other positions (“the pietists want proof in their pockets”) as it does an actual Bultmannian commitment. While Käsemann’s hostility to the Fuchs-Ebeling existential setting of the hermeneutical problem convinces quite a few, most students remain committed to the Fuchs-Ebeling perspective. In either case, the temper is Bultmannian. At Tübingen also is Hans Rückert, the repentant Nazi church historian, who is friendly to Bultmannism and respected by Bultmann scholars. Both Otto Michel in New Testament and Adolf Köberle in systematic theology give important representation ...1
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