This is a concise guide to one of the most remarkable martyrs and theologians of the twentieth century. There is little doubt that the nature of Bonhoeffer's unfinished final theological ruminations have made him a thinker whose influence has grown as theologians and pastors have tried to make sense of Bonhoeffer's vision. In writing a guide for the perplexed, the best way to approach his thought is to use the 'perplexing' themes of the prison letters as guides for engaging Bonhoeffer's larger theological project. In this guide, Lawrence uses five key themes from the prison letters as ways into the movements of Bonhoeffer's theology. In doing so, he engages specifically with the difficult concepts in the Bonhoefferian corpus, using these to address the larger field of Bonhoeffer's theology. This approach aims at the readers who would be approaching Bonhoeffer for the first time as those who are struggling with his thought. Many would be familiar with the content of the prison letters, but would have failed to grasp the context of those letters in which their difficulty is best alleviated.
Continuum's "Guides for the Perplexed" are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging - or indeed downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.
There is little doubt that the nature of Bonhoeffer's unfinished final theological ruminations have made him a thinker whose influence has grown as theologians and pastors have tried to make sense of Bonhoeffer's vision. This is a guide to one of the most remarkable martyr and theologian of the twentieth century.
1. Approaching Bonhoeffer: The Challenges and Opportunities; 2. Beginning at the End: The Perplexing Nature of the Prison Letters; 3. Christocentric Lordship: The Centrality of Christ; 4. Arcane Discipline: Ecclesiology in Bonhoeffer's Theological Development; 5. As If God Were Not Given: The Weakness of God in Bonhoeffer's Thought; 6. World Come of Age: Bonhoeffer's Understanding of Human History; 7. Religionless Christianity: Bonhoeffer's Vision.
"'Lawrence gives us a fresh, engaging and wonderfully clear introduction that illuminates the distinctive capacity of Bonhoeffer's theology to serve the present age.'-Stephen Plant, University of Durham, UK"
Joel Lawrence is Instructor of Systematic Theology at Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He wrote his doctoral thesis, Death Together: Thanatology and Sanctification in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, under the supervision of Stephen Plant at Cambridge University