A Post-Bultmannian ‘New Quest’

The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, by Willi Marxsen (Fortress, 1970, 191 pp., paperback, $1.95), is reviewed by Daniel P. Fuller, dean of faculty and associate professor of hermeneutics, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.

Marxsen’s book on the resurrection of Jesus is a cogent and highly readable presentation of a post-Bultmannian understanding of the resurrection of Jesus. His intended audience is the layman and the Church at large, and to make the work marketable to the entire Christian world he omitted bibliography and footnotes. Also, he mentions none of the scholars prominent in the discussion of the relation between our faith today and the resurrection of Jesus in the past. Yet this New Testament professor at Münster is obviously quite at home in all the ramifications of this discussion. He presents his views of the resurrection in a way that earns the respect of scholars and yet is understandable to the layman.

With deep conviction Marxsen argues that evangelicalism in Germany (and he would add England and America) formulates its understanding of faith in the risen Jesus in ways so incoherent and at variance with the facts that such faith can continue only at the cost of being a superstition. How, he asks, can many, evangelicals forthrightly affirm that the bodily resurrection of Jesus is a historical event and yet assert that its reality cannot be known by the methods of historical investigation that teach us about all other past events? Marxsen believes it is absurd for evangelicals to say that they know, simply by faith, that Jesus rose, and then to affirm that such an event exists independently of faith, so much so that it is the basis for faith. Or if (as I would ...

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