Monday, August 6, 2012
Luedemann, Conzelman and the Resurrection.
With that in mind, I was interested to see this interview with Gerd Luedemann. He is a New Testament scholar in Germany and is well-known for his public statements that the resurrection never happened. In a an interview with Frederik Mulder at Resurrection Hope, Luedemann talks about how he gave up belief in the resurrection. But he also "outs" Conzelman as a doubter as well. Here is part of the interview.
Mulder: So tell us what happened between 1994 and 1999. In your 1994 book you put forward the view that Jesus' body decomposed in a tomb and that Peter and Paul experienced hallucinations of the risen Jesus. In the same work you maintained that one can remain a Christian despite this. You based this insight on your appreciation for the Marburg systematics theologian Wilhelm Herrmann [picture left] who separated faith and history from each other [Herrmann was Rudolf Bultmann and Karl Barth's dogmatics professor]. And then in 1999 in your "Letter to Jesus", you famously said you cannot be a Christian any longer. So please tell us more about your five year existential experience of being a Christian [between 1994 and 1999], and how it eventually panned out.
Luedemann: Well, in 1994 the quotation from Herrmann was from a book in which he says that we can live with the little we really believe and not with the much that we have to believe ... I had these ideas. I was however never able to make a system of it, because I did not believe it.
Mulder: So why did you say it then? Why did you say "yes" for Christianity in 1994 despite your historical findings?
Luedemann: Look, I was a professor in Theology. There had to be a synthesis.
Mulder: So you pretended?
Luedemann: No. You end up with that [synthesis]. The only thing I enjoyed in that book was the things I said about DF Strauss that the tomb is full. And I learnt that from Conzelman. I visited him a lot.
Mulder: Did Conzelman say that in public?
Luedemann: In private.
Mulder: So Conzelman in private said the tomb was not empty, but in his academic and public work he would not say that?
Luedemann: Or he was undecided. You see, I had a good relationship with Conzelman. He died in 1989. He was sick for three years. I went to him once a week, and asked him all sorts of questions. He talked to me about Martin Hengel from Tuebigen. He would say to Hengel: "The grave is full!".
Mulder: Conzelman would say that to Hengel?
Luedemann: He would say that to him. And I immediately said he is right about that.
Mulder: So when did you lose your faith?
Luedemann: I probably never had faith.
You can read the full interview here.