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Letters and Papers from Prison Paperback – July 1, 1997
Everything We Keep: A Novel
On the day of her wedding, she buried her fiancé—and unearthed shocking secrets. Learn More
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What is bothering me incessantly is the question what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us today. The time when people could be told everything by means of words, whether theological or pious, is over, and so is the time of inwardness and conscience--and that means the time of religion in general. We are moving towards a completely religionless time; people as they are now simply cannot be religious any more. Even those who honestly describe themselves as "religious" do not in the least act up to it, and so they presumably mean something quite different by "religious."The pleasures of Letters and Papers from Prison, however are not all so profound. Occasionally, Bonhoeffer's letters burst into song--sometimes with actual musical notations, other times with unforgettable phrases. Looking forward to seeing his best friend, Bonhoeffer writes, "To meet again is a God." --Michael Joseph Gross
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Bonhoeffer was in his late 30s when he was arrested. He was a Lutheran theologian, who had publicly questioned the rise of fascism and anti-Semitism in Germany and was systematically silenced by Hitler's government, unable finally to publish any of his writings or to preach in any pulpit. Along with other members of his family, Bonhoeffer secretly participated in an effort led by officers of Army Intelligence to undermine the war effort. Attempting to build a case against him, the Gestapo kept him a prisoner, awaiting trial. Incriminating evidence did not emerge until after the July 1944 attempt on Hitler's life. And at this point the letters stop, as Bonhoeffer was transported to another prison and eventually to a series of concentration camps.
The letters in this volume describe in detail the routines of prison life. And they offer a glimpse of life lived by ordinary civilians during months of aerial bombardments, as the fabric of daily life slowly crumbles. They also reveal the thoughts and emotions of a man whose faith in God and trust in survival are put to the severest test. While he is remembered by those who knew him in his last months as a fiercely brave, courageous, and selfless man, we see in the letters his inner turmoil, his fear, loneliness, and sense of isolation in a world his theology never imagined.
Included in the collection are polite and cheerful love letters to the young Maria von Wedemeyer, to whom he has proposed marriage.Read more ›
Folly and Bonhoeffer were on a collision course.
During his long imprisonment by the Nazi regime, Bonhoeffer corresponded with members of his family. Many of these letters were collected, and later published, by Eberhard Bethge, Bonhoeffer's niece's husband. The letters between Bonhoeffer and Bethge, his intellectual and spiritual confidant, are the most insightful in terms of revealing the intellectual Bonhoeffer. Although his life hangs in the balance, Bonhoeffer only occasionally speaks of his own welfare, and then apologetically and only in passing. With Bethge, and to a lesser extent with his father and others, he prefers directing his thoughts to a great breadth of interests -- art, history, music, philosophy, physics, psychology, sociology, theology. With all correspondents, Bonhoeffer expresses constant concern for their welfare, as well as for the welfare of his fellow prisoners and even his Nazi guards.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Poignant and painful to read, especially since we know the "end of the story." Still, given the current political climate in America, reading everything by Bonhoeffer and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Diane Singer
These Letters, from one of the most ethical individuals of the 20th century, should be read by every person who would aspire after goodness.Published 3 months ago by maryanne wolf
Woe be to the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture....
I will raise unto David a righteous branch and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute... Read more
Anyone interested in Bonhoeffer needs to read this. Thank youPublished 9 months ago by Chester Naka
after reading other works of his I know his theology now I know the man and more of his theology. a man of impeccable ethicsPublished 11 months ago by AMA
Humble and servant leader book - letters written in prison WWII GermanyPublished 12 months ago by A W Wings