Original Research

Combining Ricoeur and Bultmann on myth and demythologising

Gert Malan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 3 | a3216 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i3.3216 | © 2016 Gert Malan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 October 2015 | Published: 08 July 2016

About the author(s)

Gert Malan, Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


A previous article investigated Ricoeur’s stance on myth and demythologising. The intersection of Ricoeur and Bultmann’s work in this field was noted and a future comparison was envisaged with a view to a possible merger. This study is a follow-up and proposes a way in which Ricoeur and Bultmann’s views on myth and demythologisation can be merged in order to gain a broader approach to the understanding of myth and the concept of demythologising. As Ricoeur’s understanding of myth was influenced by literary criticism, Bultmann’s definition of myth is viewed through the lens of literary criticism, before turning to a comparison with Ricoeur’s views. A comparison of their ideas on demythologisation follows. Sociology of knowledge forms the last lens through which a possible merger of their approaches is contemplated.

Keywords: myth; demythologisation; Ricoeur; Bultmann; simbolic universe


myth; demythologisation; Ricoeur; Bultmann; simbolic universe


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