Item description for Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer...
Overview Compiles the personal correspondence and legal papers of the German theologian imprisoned and executed for his part in a plot against Hitler
Publishers Description One of the great classics of prison literature, "Letters and Papers from Prison" effectively serves as the last will and testament of the Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a young German pastor who was executed by the Nazis in 1945 for his part in the "officers' plot" to assassinate Adolf Hitler. This expanded version of "Letters and Papers from Prison" shifts the emphasis of earlier editions of Bonhoeffer's theological reflections to the private sphere of his life. His letters appear in greater detail and show his daily concerns. Letters from Bonhoeffer's parents, siblings, and other relatives have also been added, in addition to previously inaccessible letters and legal papers referring to his trial. Acute and subtle, warm and perceptive, yet also profoundly moving, the documents collectively tell a very human story of loss, of courage, and of hope. Bonhoeffer's story seems as vitally relevant, as politically prophetic, and as theologically significant today, as it did yesterday.
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Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in Breslau in 1906. The son of a famous German psychiatrist, he studied in Berlin and New York City. He left the safety of America to return to Germany and continue his public repudiation of the Nazis, which led to his arrest in 1943. Linked to the group of conspirators whose attempted assassination of Hitler failed, he was hanged in April 1945.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in 1906 and died in 1945.
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A book of hope May 13, 2008
Reading his words, we are saddened in knowing he is soon to die a martyr at the young age of 39 by the Nazis. Bonhoeffer fought for biblical truth, and against appeasement. He writes his thoughts (at times very deep and philosophical) from prison, when he entered in 1943 until extradition to another prison over two years later, just before the Allies' liberation in 1945. In his letters to his parents amazingly he is not bitter, but thankful and in good spirits. He was always hopeful. He finds joy in even the smallest of things. Some of the letters we will discover are slightly coded to get through the "checkers". The preface sums it up better than I can: "page by page, these letters show us a picture of life in a prison cell, as it was experienced in all its aspects, with the intimate details of an individual life fused into a striking unity with the disastrous events that were going on in the world outside, a unity produced by an outstanding mind and a sensitive heart."
Much of Bonhoefffer's letters were written to his dear friend Eberhard Bethge. Bonhoeffer expounded with difficult theological questions for Bethge........I would like to hear his answers. Bethge as editor writes the foreword and preface, along with what Bonhoeffer experienced during his final days. The preface is a short biography and explains how the papers came to be.
The two years Bonhoeffer spent in his dreary jail cell he consumed an immense amount of literature; he discusses his favorites. He also gives us a hint of what jail life was like: the solitude, the allied bombings (air-raids), the cell attendants, and his fellow prisoners, whom he does not justify their pathetic cowardly actions; he believed prison was no excuse for poor behavior. Other subjects he touches on is liberalism within the church, and a world that is increasingly existing without God. He believed his thoughts were somewhat odd and his poems needed work, but they were far from it.
This is a book of hope for all who will believe. If Christ is a lie, think of the millions who then threw their lives away in martyr for Him.
Wish you well Scott
Insightful and moving letters that transcend human created myth. May 10, 2007
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Letters & Papers from Prison was a most edifying read, primarily because it stripped away the mystery and mythical aura that surrounded him, before and after his murder by the Nazis in 1945. The fact that his reputation is so universally well known is greatly due in part to his brother-in-law, the late Eberhard Bethge.
Having been raised in a very German household myself, I would hear occasional stories from my own father, who grew up in Germany at that time, about the German pastor who was a part of the plot to kill Hitler, the one who was the moral conscience who aided the conspirators while they tried to rid Germany of the diabolical dictator and his vile atrocities that were sweeping throughout the land, for nothing was sacrosanct.
Bonhoeffer, known throughout the Christian world for his books, The Cost of Discipleship and Ethics, among other treaties, pamphlets and sermons, was a great example in respects to how a man or woman can truly live an independent Christian life while working in the world and that heroism does not necessarily come from preaching the Gospel, but rather, living it or trying to. It also comes from incorporating nuances of those truths, big or small, into the daily activities of ones life and sharing that Christian goodness (in a healthy and practical manner) with people from all walks of life, irrelevant of class structure, education, ethnic background, et cetera.
In this book, Bonhoeffer's theological musings move from the act of suffering to the meaning of love, whether human, religious or even material, and the insights that he shares with some of his correspondents, especially Eberhard Bethge, is sometimes profoundly compelling, and one can endlessly cite the abundant source material to back that up. But while he was accepting his cross of suffering, knowing in a way that it was a gift, he had an agony for those whom he was separated from, specificially his fiance, Maria von Wedemeyer-Weller.
The overall profile of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as presented in this work, showcases an all too human man, sometimes short-tempered and impatient yet very religious, contemplative, moral, ethical and surprisingly creative. For an example of that, read his short fiction piece entitled: "Lance-Corporal Berg: A narrative" which is almost similarly reminiscent, style-wise, to that of the writer and author Erich Maria Remarque. His poems, however, were not that great, but it made him only more real.
Though I am Catholic and my interpretation of Scripture is slightly different, much of what Bonhoeffer wrote spoke volumes to me, especially in tackling the day-to-day challenges and experiences that life has to offer. I think he speaks to many people, and that is good, for what he has to say, by his life, writings, choices, down to his martyrdom can cross all ecumenical boundaries. And that is indeed a remarkable witness.
An Example of Faith Feb 6, 2007
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Letters and Papers from Prison" is the account of an extremely intelligent German theologian and pastor who was thrown into prison during WWII. The correspondence Bonhoeffer shared with his family members during the time he spent in prision (over a year and a half)reveals his character in a remarkably honest way. The love and concern he has for his family and his selflessness, even while sitting in prison, are a great testament to the Christian faith regardless of your theological position.
Journal of a Christian Oct 28, 2005
I bought the book looking to know more about Bonhoeffer's theology..and ended up learning more about my own. Though at times I didn't agree with his thoughts, I found myself agreeing with the man. These letters mix profound questions with small daily details of life. It is authentic and transparent in a way that typical straightforward "theology" books can't be. There is honest, articulate, and earnest faith in these unselfconscious and private thoughts.
Classic Story of Resistance Jun 20, 2005
I read this book several years ago at the behest of my Pastor when I was still a man of faith. And although I've essentially fallen out of that faith in the last few years, I still consider this one of the most inspiring true stories I have ever read. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German minister who openly spoke out against the Nazis-and allegedly even participated in the plot to kill Hitler-was imprisoned in 1943 and eventually hanged by the German government shortly before the end of the war. This is a collection of his correspondence with his family and friends during his two years of incarceration.
The strength of this book is that Bonhoeffer was not only a truly courageous man who refused to abandon his principles, but as a Christian, he actually practiced what he preached. This seems to be rare these days and I think the reason that so many people resent Christians and Christianity is that they see so many of them as hypocrites. They constantly talk about God and peace, and righteousness, yet they are so quick to drop a bomb or condemn those that disagree with them. Bonhoeffer represents a pure Christianity of love and justice. This is my take at least and others might disagree with my assessment. With that said, this was a man who truly believed in his God and accepted with dignity whatever fate that God had in store for him. His courage and joy in the face of such a harsh fate is evident in his writings. So, even though I don't share Bonhoeffer's religious beliefs or some of his "ethics," I don't hesitate to recommend this truly inspiring book to believers and non-believers alike. My only warning is that there is a lot of theological discussion and those with little or no knowledge of the religion might find these parts a bit over their head.