Bonhoeffer the Pacifist?
Reclaiming Bonhoeffer’s Witness
About the Book: Most of us think we know the moving story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life–a pacifist pastor turns anti-Hitler conspirator due to horrors encountered during World War II–but does the evidence really support this prevailing view? This pioneering work carefully examines the biographical and textual evidence and finds no support for the theory that Bonhoeffer abandoned his ethic of discipleship and was involved in plots to assassinate Hitler. In fact, Bonhoeffer consistently affirmed a strong stance of peacemaking from 1932 to the end of his life, and his commitment to peace was integrated with his theology as a whole.
“Nation, Siegrist, and Umbel challenge the widely-held assumption that after the beginning of World War II Bonhoeffer not only participated in the anti-Nazi conspiracy but set aside his earlier pacifism and adopted a more ‘rational’ and ‘realistic’ stance, which included participation in the plot to assassinate Hitler. The close readings of Bonhoeffer’s biography set in the larger story of the conspiracy and of the Ethics manuscript, in which the more realistic account is supposedly found, are of particular value. Regardless of whether you are persuaded by the authors concerning Bonhoeffer’s level of involvement in the attempt to kill Hitler, this volume will decisively reframe the way we read the thought and life of this most remarkable Christian.” – Barry Harvey, Baylor University
“This book offers a well-researched, well-thought-through argument that demands attention from anyone interested in the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It is a new look at his life and work that offers a critical lens on traditional interpretations of his devotion to the Sermon on the Mount in the face of real life crisis. These authors are to be applauded for this significant contribution.” – Reggie L. Williams, McCormick Theological Seminary
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