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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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Paul S. Chung: Interpreting Dietrich Bonhoeffer in East Asian Perspective: Theologia Crucis, Minjung, and Buddhist Compassion


Paul S. Chung Interpreting Dietrich Bonhoeffer in East Asian Perspective: Theologia Crucis, Minjung, and Buddhist Compassion Introduction Bonhoeffer’s work and voice is heard in the theological movement in East Asia. In the recent publication Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Sino-Theology,1 we learn that Chinese scholars in Taiwan and Hong Kong have entered into a dialogue with Bonhoeffer in view of the stimulation Bonhoeffer’s theol- ogy in a Sino-theological perspective. A fitting example of the dialogue is a comparative reading of Bonhoeffer and Confucian ethics as such a reading prepares new terrain in contextualizing Bonhoeffer for a fruitful Christian– Confucian relationship.2 In South Korea, Bonhoeffer occupied a special place in minjung theol- ogy in the 1980s and continues to be an inspiring thinker for the second generation scholars of minjung theology, also referred to as Asian irregu- lar theology. This Asian irregular theology marks a socio-critical, herme- neutical renewal of minjung theology in a transcultural and postcolonial framework.3 Minjung theologians such as Ahn Byung-mu appreciated Bon- hoeffer’s theological legacy by radicalizing it in the midst of the human rights movement in the 1970s and 1980s in South Korea. According to Ahn Byung-mu (1922–1996), Bonhoeffer’s minjung experience in prison offered a hermeneutical filter for Bonhoeffer himself to sharpen his previous aca- demic theology. Finally, it also paved the way toward a discourse beyond 1 Clifford Green and Thomas Tseng (eds), Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Sino-Theology. Taiwan: Chung Yuan Christian University 2008. 2 Tang Sui-Keung, “An Ethical Case of ‘The Son Concealing the Misconduct...

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