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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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Robert R. Vosloo: Interpreting Bonhoeffer in South Africa? The Search for a Historical and Methodological Responsible Hermeneutic


Robert R. Vosloo Interpreting Bonhoeffer in South Africa? The Search for a Historical and Methodological Responsible Hermeneutic Introduction On the back cover of the recently published Letters and Papers from Prison in the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works English Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu remarks that “Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison has inspired many of us in South Africa and across the world.”1 It is indeed the case that alongside the wider impact of Bonhoeffer’s writings and life, he also served as inspiration for many South Africans, especially as they grappled with the question how to respond theologically to the realities of apartheid South Africa. After the transition to democracy, this engagement with Bonhoeffer continued in a different key amidst the challenges of liv- ing in post-1994 South Africa. Although one should not overestimate the impact of Bonhoeffer on South African ecclesial, theological and public discourse, one can nevertheless speak of significant strands of Bonhoeffer reception in South Africa. In conjunction with questions pertaining to the historical and theo- logical reception of Bonhoeffer in South Africa, one can and must ask what an adequate interpretation of Bonhoeffer entails today for those who are embedded socially and historically within the South African context. In the invitation to contribute to this book on “Bonhoeffer and Method” the editor noted that the reading of Bonhoeffer differs vastly depending on where a person is situated intellectually, culturally, economically, geograph- ically and so on. This obvious but often neglected insight reminds us that the...

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