Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
The son of a psychiatrist teaching at Berlin University, Dietrich Bonhoeffer decided early to study theology. He served as pastor, lecturer, and theology professor in Spain, America, and England as well as Germany. Bonhoeffer became an outspoken critic of the Nazi government and an active member of the resistance movement. In 1943, he was arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo and two years later was hanged. His other important works include Schöpfung und Fall (1933; Creation and Fall, 1959), Nachfolge (1937; The Cost of Discipleship, 1948), Gemeinsames Leben (1939; Life Together, 1954), and Ethik (1943; Ethics, 1955).
Letters and Papers from Prison is not specifically focused on the Holocaust, and the book is not intended to present a systematic set of ideas; rather, it posits questions and suggestive answers, or suggestive lines along which one may look for answers. As Bonhoeffer himself says, “I am led on more by an instinctive feeling for the questions which are bound to crop up rather than by any conclusions I have reached already.” However, one gets the feeling when reading this material that there was a book brewing in his mind. Just as one may think of Bonhoeffer’s previous work as a book on the theme of Christ as Lord of the Church, one could think of Letters and Papers from Prison as a work dealing with the theme of Christ as Lord of the world—for...
(The entire section is 857 words.)
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