Oscar Cullmann (25 February 1902,
Strasbourg – 16 January 1999,
Chamonix) was a Christian theologian in the Lutheran tradition. He is
best known for his work in the ecumenical movement and was partly
responsible for the establishment of dialogue between the Lutheran and
Roman Catholic traditions. Because of his intense ecumenical work,
Karl Barth joked with him that his
tombstone would bear the inscription "advisor to three popes."
He was invited to be an observer at the Second Vatican Council.
Cullmann was born in
Strasbourg (then in Germany) and studied
classical philology and theology at the seminary there. In 1926, he
accepted an assistant professorship, a position previously held by
In 1930, he was awarded a full professorship of New Testament. From
1936, he also taught the history of the early church. In 1938, he
began teaching both subjects at
Basel Reformed Seminary. In 1948
Cullmann accepted a position teaching theology in Paris at the
Sorbonne while he continued at Basel. He retired from both in 1972.
He was elected a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of
Arts and Sciences in 1960.
Cullmann's studies on
Christian eschatology and
Christology drove him
to propose a third position over against the popular positions of C.
H. Dodd and Albert Schweitzer, known as "redemptive history" or
"inaugurated eschatology". He wrote that Jesus Christ was the midpoint
of sacred history, which informs general history and runs linearly
from creation to consummation. He stressed the objective reality of
sacred history against the existentialist interpretation of Rudolf
Bultmann, a fellow German theologian. Cullmann suggested the analogy
of D-Day and VE-Day to illustrate the relationship between Jesus'
death and resurrection on the one hand, and his parousia on the
Upon his death at 96, the
World Council of Churches
World Council of Churches issued a special
tribute to Cullmann to honour his ecumenical work.
Among Cullmann's important works are:
Baptism in the New Testament
Christ and Time
Peter: Disciple, Apostle and Martyr
Christology of the New Testament
Early Christian Worship
Salvation in History
The Immortality of the Soul or the Resurrection of the Body: The
Witness of the
New Testament (available online)
^ a b Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.
New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, article Cullmann, Oscar
^ "O. Cullmann (1902 - 1999)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and
Sciences. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
^ C. Marvin Pate, The End of the Age Has Come: The
Theology of Paul,
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Oscar Cullmann
Publications by and about
Oscar Cullmann in the catalogue Helveticat
of the Swiss National Library
ISNI: 0000 0001 2321 5694
BNF: cb11898283j (data)