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Bonhoeffer and Interpretive Theory

Essays on Methods and Understanding


Edited By Peter Frick

How does the contemporary reader make sense of the life and writings of such an icon as Dietrich Bonhoeffer? The essays in this volume seek to address this question by carefully examining the social, cultural, religious and intellectual locations that inform the Sitz im Leben of a vast readership of Bonhoeffer. The focus of each of the essays is thus on the task of articulating and clarifying a hermeneutically self-conscious and responsible approach to interpreting and understanding Bonhoeffer. The authors come from widely divergent backgrounds, both geographically and intellectually, and therefore offer a wide spectrum of dialogue. Methods and approaches examined in the essays discuss themes such as gender, religion, race, ecology, politics, philosophy, literature among others.


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Lisa E. Dahill: “There’s Some Contradiction Here”: Gender and the Relation of Above and Below in Bonhoeffer


Lisa E. Dahill “There’s Some Contradiction Here”: Gender and the Relation of Above and Below in Bonhoeffer Introduction In a keynote address to the Seventh International Bonhoeffer Congress held in 1996 in Cape Town, South Africa, Korean theologian Chung Hyun Kyung gave a feminist twist on one of Bonhoeffer’s most cherished con- cepts: “Women for others” doesn’t give me any new theological imperative or inspiration. Why? Because that is what we women have been for the last five thousand years of patriarchal history. Remember our mothers’, grandmothers’, and great-grandmothers’ lives? They sacri- ficed their lives for others [...] Let’s add some adjectives to this term “Women for others.” Think about “Asian women for others.” What image comes up in your head? The images that come up in my head are Korean comfort women under Japanese militarism; Vietnamese, Filipino, and Thai prostitutes; migrant women workers from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh who are maids in First World countries; Asian picture brides in the catalogues widely circulated in Europe, North America, and Australia. Then let’s change the adjec- tive again. “Black women for others.” What images come up […]? I remember black slave women who were forced to give birth and then to put their babies up for sale. Black women cleaners, maids, and nannies who work for others.1 1 Chung Hyun Kyung, “Dear Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” in: John W. de Gruchy (ed) Bonhoeffer for a New Day: Theology in a Time of Transition. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerd- mans 1997, 14. She is responding...

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