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Theologians Under Hitler: Gerhard Kittel, Paul Althaus and Emanuel Hirsch Hardcover – July 1, 1985


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (July 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300029268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300029260
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,294,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By William C. Hunt on March 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an in depth study of the work of three Protestant theologians who were supportive of the Nazi regime. The author contrasts them with Karl Barth, Rudolph Bultmann, Paul Tillich, and Dietrich Bonhoffer, all of whom opposed Hitler.
The introductory chapter entitled "The Crisis" is particularly valuable. It places the thought of all of these German theologians in the intellectual stream of Luther, the Enlightenment, German idealism, theories of history, and especially existentialism (Kierkegaard) and dialectical theology with its stress on the infinite distance between God and humans. This latter teaching creates a problem in conceptualizing how God's actions intersect with human history.
Ericksen highlights the irrational element in the prevailing intellectual cllimate of the time and documents the powerful influence of the concept of the German "Volk," especially in the theology of Hirsch.
Although the author agrees that in hindsight and on the basis of their actions we can distinguish between these three theologians and their counterparts who opposed Nazism, he is not certain that their theology alone accounts for for their welcoming of the Third Reich. It is just too similar to the theology of those who opposed Hitler. Nor is the author certain that this kind of theology could prevent a recurrance of the phenomenon of theologians supporting a totalitarian or dictatorial regime in some future time of crisis.
"The connecting link between the broader intellectual crisis of the twentieth century and the circumstances of modern theology is that both secular and religious intellectuals in this age must ultimately rely upon an existential leap of faith. This was the fate of Croce, Durkheim and Weber as well as Barth, Bultmann and Tillich.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David G. on April 28, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brilliantly conceived, any serious student of the Holocaust must have this work in his or her library. Ericksen's balanced approach uncovers the origins of thinking which led good men -- good scholars and well intentioned, and in this case all Protestant -- to make such horribly wrong decisions with all the attendant disastrous consequences. As we ask "why" and "how could they", Ericksen leads the reader to much of the bedrock. From the early "innocent" mistakes to the ever growing train of compromise and mistake, one gets inside the history of ideas and discontent which allowed Hitler a foothold. From start to finish, while scholarly and thorough, as a story of three men interest never wanes, up to the final analysis of who repented and when, who dissembled and self justified, and the most brilliant of the three who never changed his mind. Fascinating, troubling as it pertains to our own time, and very readable.
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Format: Paperback
For pastors and theologians, this book is a must when coming to grips with the "failure" of the church - and its leaders - during the Nazi reign of terror 1933-1945.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S Hedges on March 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first 78 pages of this book detail the anti-Semitism, and the pro-Nazi stance, of Gerhard Kittle. Though his name is not well known to most people, the writings and teachings of Gerhard Kittle were used by the editors and translators of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible to determine their understanding of the New Testament Greek words. As such this Nazi theologian has influenced the thinking of a large percentage of modern Christians.

This book also reviews the life and teachings of two other important German theologians from the twentieth century (Paul Althaus and Emanuel Hirsh).

This is a book that should be read by all people who teach Christianity or preach the Gospel so that they can be sure that they are not teaching Nazi theology.
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2 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kevin E. Ramsey on November 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm sure that it's an interesting book, but mine came with a bookmark from a Lutheran Seminary school, which lent me to reflect have way through that this would be more suitable for someone taking a course.

I found it very hard going...
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