Monday, January 30, 2012

Bonhoeffer biographies

Last week, I posted a quote from the Wikipedia entry on Dietrich Bonhoeffer that made my head swim and my heart swell as I was reading it. My renewed interest in Bonhoeffer came from his Letters and Papers from Prison that I had been browsing the night before just as I was ready to go to bed. It contains some very memorable and striking thoughts. This one I have found quite insightful:

As we were all lying in the floor yesterday[during a airstrike], someone muttered "O God, O God"--he is normally a frivolous sort of chap--but I couldn't bring myself to offer him any Christian encouragement or comfort. All I did was to glance at my watch and say: "It won't last any more than ten minutes now." There was nothing premeditated about it; it came quite automatically, though perhaps I had a feeling that it was wrong to force religion down his throat just then. Incidentally, Jesus himself did not try to convert the two thieves on the cross; one of them turned to him.

There are two biographies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that have caught my eye. This is the more recent one which seems to be on everyone's current reading list:

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

And this one which is written by Bonhoeffer's good friend and colleague, Eberhard Bethge, who is also the editor of the Letters and Papers from Prison.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography


  1. I just finished the biography by Eric Metaxas. It was fascintaing although I wasn't overly impressed with the author's writing style. Regardless, it left me very intrigued by several different issues that Bonhoeffer's life and ministry brought up. I didn't realize Bethge had written a biography on him too! I'll definitely be checking it out soon!

  2. P.S. I really wish you were closer so we could just go for coffee and chat about it! ;D


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