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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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Joel Burnell: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Polish Opposition (1968–1989)


Joel Burnell Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Polish Opposition (1968–1989) Introduction 1921 Polish Noble Prize winner Maria Skłodowska-Curie, at a Paris meet- ing of the International Committee of Intellectual Cooperation, told the following joke: During a literary competition on the subject of elephants an Eng- lishman submitted his paper: “My experience hunting elephants in South Africa.” A Frenchman wrote an essay on the theme of “The sexual and erotic life of the elephant.” The title of the Pole’s compo- sition was “The elephant and Polish national independence.”1 During Poland’s long struggle for freedom everything was related to regain- ing national independence. Poles retained their hospitality and love of a good party, but when it came to poetry and politics the pen was treated as seriously as the sword, as illustrated by the reception of Aleksander Fredro, who wrote mainly romantic comedies. Though he brought comic relief to those mourning their lost freedom and loved ones, Fredro’s works were considered to be unpatriotic and frivolous, as measured by the standard set by the great romantic poets of his day,2 in whose works the “Polish cause” was seldom out of sight. Over the years the Poles’ romantic spirit waxed and waned, but the Polish cause remained on top of their agenda. The decisive stage in their struggle to regain independence took place between 1968 and 1989, as dis- 1 Inazo Nitobe, Tozai Aifurete (West Meets East), Tokyo: Jitsugyo no Nihonsha, Showa, 1928, 928, at http://pl.łoń_a...

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