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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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Victoria J. Barnett: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Relevance for a Post-Holocaust Christian Theology


Victoria J. Barnett Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Relevance for a Post-Holocaust Christian Theology1 Prologue In 2006, the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum co-sponsored a symposium on Dietrich Bonhoeffer with the Center for Christian-Jewish Studies at Boston College. The interdisciplinary symposium invited Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars to comment on Bonhoeffer from the standpoint of their respective faith traditions and academic disciplines. Several papers from that sympo- sium, including my own, were published in the online journal, Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations, and the editors of that journal have kindly agreed to the publication of my essay in this anthology.2 Most of what I have to say on the topic of “Reading Bonhoeffer from a Post-Holocaust Perspective” is laid out in the essay, which follows this introduction. The purpose of this brief introduction is to give a framework for the essay, note some of the newer research and literature in the field (including the important new translation of Bonhoeffer’s “The Church and the Jewish Question” in the English edition of the Bonhoeffer Works), and offer some methodological observations on the challenges of reading Bon- hoeffer in a post-Holocaust context. 1 Paper given at “The Centenary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Symposium”, Boston College, September 17, 2006. First publication in Studies in Christian-Jewish Rela- tions, Vol. 2, Issue 1, 53–67: The only changes made for the present volume is the Introduction and updated transla- tions and citations from the volumes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works English Edition...

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