Eta Linnemann (October 19, 1926 in Osnabrück – 9 May 2009 in Leer (Ostfriesland)) was a German Protestant theologian. In her last years, she broke completely with the theology of her teacher Rudolf Bultmann.
Eta Linnemann studied Protestant theology in Marburg, Tübingen and Göttingen from October 1948 to July 1953. In August 1953 she presented at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen for the First State Examination, and in August 1957, the Second State Examination. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover commissioned Linnemann to write interpretations of biblical texts for religious education. From this work arose her dissertation on the parables of Jesus - Gleichnisse Jesu, Einführung und Auslegung - with which she was promoted to a doctor of theology summa cum laude in July 1961 at the Church University Berlin-Zehlendorf. Between 1961 and 1966 she taught at the seminar for church service in Berlin-Zehlendorf, in 1967 she was appointed as Visiting Professor at Braunschweig University of Technology. In February 1970, Eta Linnemann worked in Marburg with Rudolf Bultmann and Ernst Fuchs on studies on the Passion story. On 10 August 1971, she was awarded an honorary professorship of New Testament at the Theological Faculty of the Philipps-University Marburg. The following year, the Braunschweig University of Technology appointed her to the chair of theology and methodology of religious education. Linnemann was a member of the international society Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas.
Linnemann caused a stir in 1978 when, due to a conversion experience in November 1977 according to her own statement, she renounced the historical-critical method, and asked readers to destroy her previous publications. From 1983, at the age of 60, she departed Germany for Indonesia to train pastors at the Theological University of the Indonesian Mission community in Batu. In her book "What is credible - the Bible or the Bible criticism" Linnemann claimed in 2007, citing an unnamed ear witness, that Rudolf Bultmann on his death bed had recanted his critical views. A real proof of that assertion, however, so far (as of 2009) remains only an echo in Bultmann's research.
Eta Linnemann lived her last years in the Loga district of Leer.
Linnemann rejected Markan priority and favored the Independence View of the synoptic gospels. One of Linnemann's views to find support among conservative English speaking scholarship, notably F. David Farnell, was her rejection of a Q (source) for the synoptic Gospels in favour of an explanation following the Jewish requirement of Deuteronomy 19:15 that "on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed".
- Bibel oder Bibelkritik? (The Bible or biblical criticism?), Nuremberg 2007
- Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology? Reflections of a Bultmannian Turned Evangelical, (translated by Robert W Yarbrough), Grand Rapids 2001, Kregel Publications, ISBN 978-0-8254-3095-4
- Gibt es ein synoptisches Problem? (Is there a synoptic problem?), Nuremberg 1999, 4 revised edition. 3rd edition translated into English.
- Wissenschaft oder Meinung? (Science or opinion?), Nuremberg 1999, 2 extended edition
- Bibelkritik auf dem Prüfstand. (Biblical criticism to the test), Nuremberg 1998, 1 Edition
- Studien zur Passionsgeschichte. (Studies on the Passion story), Göttingen, 1970
- Gleichnisse Jesu - Einführung und Auslegung. (The Parables of Jesus - introduction and interpretation), Göttingen 1964, 3rd enlarged edition
- Eta Linnemann. Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology? — Reflections of a Bultmannian turned Evangelical. Trans. Robert W. Yarbrough. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990. 20pp.
- Robert L. Thomas Three views on the origins of the Synoptic Gospels, 2002 p. 255, and p. 322 "Farnell 's third axiom notes, quoting Linnemann, that the reason for four independent Gospels stems from the legal principle of Deuteronomy 19:15b: "[O]n the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.""
- Literature of and about Eta Linnemann in the catalog of the German National Library
- Eta Linnemann: Original oder Fälschung. Historisch-kritische Theologie im Licht der Bibel, Bielefeld 1999 (Original or fake. Historical-critical theology in the light of the Bible, in German, PDF file, 531 kB)
- Robert W. Yarbrough: Eta Linnemann - Friend or Foe of Scholarship, The Master's Seminary Journal 8 (1997), p. 163-189 (English, PDF file, 182 kB)
- Much of this article was translated from German Wikipedia.