According to Rudolf Bultmann, God is the Totaliter Aliter (Wholly Other), there are no points of contact between us and him. God is, but we cannot know him objectively. God is hidden and thus neither God nor his actions are open to verification. This world is a closed system of cause and effect; we can never find God by empirical processes. There are no breaks in the links of causation; thus, there are no miracles. No event can ever be ascribed to God; all are natural causes. There is an infinite qualitative difference between God and the world, which makes it impossible for God to objectively act in the world. Paradoxically, the hidden God reaches down to finite humanity and reaches himself (via the kerygma). Miracles would be intrusions of God into the natural realm.
Rudolf Bultmann and the authentic self came out of response to Martin Heidegger. Heidegger thought that one must choose to become authentic–human nature is inauthentic. You’re split from your own self-hood, but the self calls the self back to itself and to wholeness and integration. Hence, there are two “me’s.” We can heed that call through philosophical analysis and become authentically whole. Bultmann says, ”No you can’t, because we are in sin.” Bultmann connects Heidegger’s view of human being with the biblical view of humanity and the human situation. Sin is not inauthenticity itself but the choice (entscheidung, decision) not to heed the call to freedom and selfhood. In contrast to Heidegger, the I of the human being, which has fallen into inauthentic they cannot get itself back no matter how hard it tries.
Definition: God’s gift, the call of the Gospel, whereby a person can come out of bondage and can now become an authentic self.
More about the term: This was predominately advocated and used by Rudolph Bultmann. Kerygma is the means by which one can come back to his or herself into authenticity out from the fallen self. It allows for the transition from seeking to establish a worldly security leading to the one’s desire to live totally unto God. The kerygma is given as a gift. It is the power to overcome inauthenticity, estrangement, and the ability to obey the Gospel call and to obey God.
After the first search for the historical Jesus ended in 1906 the next search, or better said, the period of no quest, began and lasted until 1953. At this point there was little optimism for finding the “historical Jesus.” Karl Barth (1886-1968) was the key figure during this time. He claimed that the Jesus of history has little to do with theology–the Christ of faith is more important. Barth ushered in Neo-Orthodoxy–an emphasis on sin, sovereignty, grace, and faith. This was a de-emphasis on what actually happened.
This led to form criticism: An analysis of the forms in which the narratives of the gospels come down to us. Not literary, but their pre-literary oral forms. The idea was that different kinds of stories have distinctive kinds of forms that effect how they should be interpreted: miracle stories, healing stories, apothegms, etc.