Bonhoeffer Buzz

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, SpyDietrich Bonhoeffer has been the subject of some interesting discussion recently. If you missed it, here’s a quick overview.

  1. It started with the publication of Eric Metaxas’s “groundbreaking biography” Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Amazon | WTS Books).
  2. Its publication has been largely met with rave reviews, awards, and lots of secular press.
  3. Bonhoeffer scholars Richard Weikart and Clifford Green called Metaxas’s reading of Bonhoeffer into question.
  4. Blogger Tim Challies highlighted these critiques in a recent post.
  5. Church historian Carl Trueman weighed in with some wise insight.

Update: Joe McGarry, a PhD candidate and Bonhoeffer scholar at the University of Aberdeen, reviews Bonhoeffer on the CBD Academic blog and echoes some of the same concerns of Weikart and Green.

Update 2: Nancy Lukens compares Metaxas’s and Schlingensiepen’s biographies of Bonhoeffer in “Agenda-Driven Biography: Two Very Different Tellings of the Life and Times of Dietrich Bonhoeffer” at Sojourner.

If you want to learn more, there are a host of videos about Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer:

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2 Responses to Bonhoeffer Buzz

  1. Simeon Bonnie Counterman January 19, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    I was just thinking about him last night!

  2. Layton Talbert January 19, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Thanks for this very helpful and accessible condensation. Observing all this from the sidelines has confirmed my own instincts and understanding of Bonhoeffer. Real life is usually a bit more complex than simplistic labels or acontextual slogans. I don’t think he can be accurately portrayed as the patron saint of secular theology, nor the demon some fundamentalists have made him out to be (largely, perhaps, because of the ill-founded claims of liberal theology), nor an evangelical hero. Whatever the reason in the divine mind, I still find his very “unnecessary” last-minute death (exactly 3 weeks before Hitler himself committed suicide and 4 weeks before Germany’s surrender) highly providential.

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