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|An approach to religious imagery advocated in the mid-twentieth century by
Rudolf Bultmann (1953), who was concerned that the Christian Bible was
written in a way that obscured rather than revealed Christianity to modern
people. He believed that existentialism described the universal in the
human condition, and that translating biblical imagery into existential
terms would more effectively communicate the biblical message. Although
biblical literalists objected to the very ideas of myth and
interpretation, others granted the need for a demythologizing hermeneutic
but disagreed with Bultmann over exactly what required demythologizing and
what did not.
The comprehension of any text where there is a cultural chasm between author and reader will involve some inevitable hermeneutics, or "translation," from one myth system into another. Demythologizing assumes that the reader's perspective is less mythical than the author's. It reflects the empiricist and rationalist nature of modern culture.
—Anthony J. Blasi
R. Bultmann, "The New Testament and Mythology," in Kerygma and Myth , vol. 1, ed. H. W. Bartsch (London: SPCK, 1953 ): 1-44.
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