Review of Metaphysics 22 (3):574-575 (1969)

This is a remarkably crisp and lucid comparison between Bultmann and Jaspers organized around the former's concept of Christian faith and the latter's notion of philosophical faith. Many of the issues arise from an actual dialogue between the two men over a period of years. Long's book develops some of the two men's difficulties with and misunderstandings of each other. The two men display similarities in their rejection of positivism and system-building and in their recognition of risk and commitment in man's coming to know himself and his relation to the transcendent. But they also have important differences, the most significant and representative of which concerns whether or not to accept any one tradition as being central, authoritative, or exclusively helpful in the quest for self-understanding. For Jaspers, who rejects the centrality of Jesus, every tradition, whether authoritative or kerygmatic, is relative and ambiguous with no particular claim on man. In accepting one particular manifestation of truth as definitive, says Jaspers, theology has turned what is by nature incomprehensible into an object of understanding. Long traces these similarities and differences through chapters on revelation, language, science, and reason. Long's thorough grasp of the issues and the clarity and simplicity of his presentation place the usefulness and importance of this book beyond the topic of Bultmann and Jaspers. With a meta-critical perspective, Long opens up the border between Philosophy and Theology on the Existentialist front in perhaps a more promising way than similar attempts to open it up on the front of linguistic analysis.--S. O. H.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph196922346
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