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God Speaks to Us

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Biblical Hermeneutics


Edited By Ralf K. Wüstenberg and Jens Zimmermann

Bonhoeffer was convinced that God spoke to his people through the Bible. How did a theologian of his caliber, who was well acquainted with the historical-critical interpretation of the scriptures, justify such a claim, and how did he apply this conviction to his daily challenges as theologian, pastor and political dissident during the Nazi regime? This book presents the attempts by a group of international Bonhoeffer scholars to answer some of these questions. By approaching Bonhoeffer’s theology from a number of different hermeneutical angles, the contributions in this volume cast new light both on his more general hermeneutical framework and on specific theological and political issues concerning his reading of the Bible. The essays underline Bonhoeffer’s contemporary relevance for the current resurgence of theological interpretation and for postmodern discussions about the interpretive nature of truth.


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Introduction 7 1. Bonhoeffer's Hermeneutics in socio-cultural Context 15 Johannes Woyke Contemporary Biblical Hermeneutics and Bonhoeffer’s “Theological Exposition” of Scripture 17 Stephen Plant God’s Dangerous Gift: Bonhoeffer, Luther and Bach on the Role of Reason in Reading Scripture 37 Robert Steiner, Helen Hacksley Enticing Otherness in Barcelona – Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Retelling of the Gospel like “a fairy tale about a strange land” 55 Jens Zimmermann Finitum Capax Infiniti or The Presencing of Christ: A Response to Stephen Plant and Robert Steiner 85 2. Bonhoeffer's Biblical Hermeneutics 99 Edward van ’t Slot The Freedom of Scripture – Bonhoeffer’s Changing View of Biblical Canonicity 101 Karina Juhl Kande Biblical Metaphors in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Understanding of The Church 123 Marie Theres Igrec Bonhoeffer´s “theological interpretation” of the Biblical Narrative of the “Creation and Fall” of Man 141 Florian Schmitz “Only the believers obey, and only the obedient believe.” Notes on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Biblical Hermeneutics with Reference to Discipleship 169 3. Interpreting Bonhoeffer's Hermeneutics 187 Paul R. Hinlicky Verbum Externum – Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Bethel Confession 189 Nicola J Wilkes Confession of Sin as the Mirror Image of the Fall 217 Anne Reichold Bonhoeffer’s Worldly Hermeneutics: Language and Life as Spheres of “in-between” 229 Index 243 Appendix 245 Contributors 248 Editors of International Bonhoeffer Interpretations 251

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