By Paul Ricoeur
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Additional resources for Essays on Biblical Interpretation
What Bultmann says about the impossibility of an interpretation without presuppositions seems convincing to me. " In order to avail himself of Heidegger ‘s "existentials" he has taken a short cut, without having made the long detour of the question of being without which these existentials — being in-the-world, fallenness, care, being-toward-death, and so on — are nothing more than abstractions of lived experience, of a formalized existenziell. It must not be forgotten that in Heidegger the existential description does not concern man but the place — the Da-sein — of the question of being.
At the first level this myth had no specifically Christian aspects. This is still true at the second level. Thus Bultmann’s entire undertaking is pursued on the assumption that the kerygma itself wants to be demythologized. It is no longer modern man, educated by science, who calls the shots. It is no longer the philosopher and his existential interpretation applied to the universe of myths. It is the kerygmatic core of the original preaching which not only requires but initiates and sets in motion the process of demythologization.
One is that prophecy remains bound to the literary genre of the oracle, which itself is one tributary of those archaic techniques that sought to tap the secrets of the divine, such as divination, omens, dreams, casting dice, astrology, etc. It is true that for the great prophets of Israel symbolic visions are subordinated to the eruption of the Word, which may appear without any accompanying vision. But it also remains true that the explicit form of double speaking tends to link the notion of revelation to that of inspiration conceived as one voice behind another.