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Bonhoeffer and the Biosciences

An Initial Exploration


Ralf K. Wüstenberg, Stefan Heuser and Esther Hornung

The hermeneutics of human life is one of the most challenging issues in the fields of bioscience and of ethics today. Recent breakthroughs in bio science challenge the prevalent metaphors and paradigms which define human life in the human and natural sciences, that influence our understanding of «diseases», «illness», «therapy», «aging», «dying», and, consequently, also shape medical practice. In the essays collected in this book, scientists, ethicists, philosophers and theologians bring Bonhoeffer’s ethics and his theological anthropology into dialogue with bioscience and explore current bioethical and anthropological issues. All articles were first presented as lectures at the Third International Bonhoeffer Colloquium at Freie Universität Berlin, 2009. Bonhoeffer’s Ethics, as presented in this book, helps to articulate a semantics of human life which stimulates a debate between science and ethics, and which assists in finding fresh ways for understanding human life and the related tasks of scientific research and medical practice.
Contents: Stefan Heuser: Bonhoeffer and Bioscience. Dialogues on the Hermeneutics of Human Life – Christoph Rehmann-Sutter: Human Embryos at the IVF-stem Cell Interface. Towards a Hermeneutic Approach to Bioethics – David Clough: Interpreting Human Life by Looking the other Way: Bonhoeffer on Human Beings and other Animals – Robert Song: Bonhoeffer and the Biotechnological Imagination – Bernd Wannenwetsch: Loving the Limit: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Hermeneutics of Human Creatureliness and its Challenge for an Ethics of Medical Care – Michael P. DeJonge: Respecting Rights and Fulfilling Duties: Bonhoeffer’s Formed Life in Bioethical Perspective – Sigrid Graumann: Biomedicine and our Understanding of Disability – Heinrich Bedford-Strohm: Biotechnology and Public Theology. A Dialogue with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Hans G. Ulrich: Understanding the Conditio Humana. New Hermeneutical, Theoretical and Practical Perspectives in the Field of Genome-Research – Hans G. Ulrich: Bonhoeffer’s Work - Challenging the Ethical Approach in the Field of Bioethics for a Critical Hermeneutics of Life. Shared Insights from a Multiple Dialogue.