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On what’s so interesting about Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Summary

John Stackhouse sketches the extraordinary life of a fairly ordinary man.

Summary

John Stackhouse sketches the extraordinary life of a fairly ordinary man.

Transcript

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor and theologian. Lived in the middle of the 20th century. Spent most of his life in Germany, although he travelled a lot, lived briefly in Barcelona. And he’s interesting for two main reasons.

He left behind several smallish books that have been interesting to virtually every decade of readers since they were published in the 1940s (or later, depending on the translation). And also because of his life as an otherwise pretty ordinary bourgeois Berliner who happened to have a nice teaching job, who had to give all that up in order to be faithful to the Christian teaching of love for the neighbour – in this case, love for the Jews. And because of his willingness to pastor those who were involved in plots to assassinate Hitler. So Bonhoeffer becomes interesting to us, both because of what he taught and what he did, and in that sense continues to be interesting as symbol, as well as as a teacher.