The story of these theses stretches back a long way. I grew up in an evangelical pastor’s house and was also confronted

Glacier Morteratsch, Pontresina, Upper Engadine 2011
Glacier Morteratsch, Pontresina, Upper Engadine 2011

with the GDR’s atheist ideology, with the result that as a schoolboy I was already interested in the historical basis of Biblical stories. My father studied chemistry during the war, and theology afterwards; instead of the pictures of saints one might expect, his study was hung with photos of Einstein and other Nobel award winners who represent scientific progress during the 20th century.


My father’s careful scientific approach to theology influenced me more than his basically Pietist religious faith. When I studied theology in Leipzig and East Berlin from 1968 to 1973, Bultmann’s demythologising approach felt like a liberation from narrow Pietist religious practice. Jesus’ miracles were seen then as the relics of an ancient classical world view; the resurrection was a mythological formulation that needed to be translated in terms of existential philosophy for modern people.


However, I then wanted to philosophically analyse the divine itself, which brought me into conflict with the church, so I only completed my degree in the scientific aspects of theology.

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