Deep into the Humanity of a Great Theologian
A Feature Review of
Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Hardback: Knopf, 2014
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Reviewed by Bob Cornwall
[This review originally appeared on the reviewer’s blog, and is reprinted here with his permission]
There are people who seem to transcend the confines of history. They are bigger than life, casting long shadows, and inviting multiples of interpretations. Dietrich Bonhoeffer can be counted as one of those figures. For a man who died at the age of thirty-nine, while spending the final two years of his life in prison, Bonhoeffer has left an immense legacy for later generations to mine and ponder. He has been the subject of numerous biographies and academic monographs. His collected works, which includes his books, letters, papers, sermons, and lectures, comes to sixteen volumes. He was a theological genius, but he was also a participant in one of the most challenging struggles the church has ever faced. While his early works were standard theological fare, his later works emerged during the German Church Struggle against the demonic (if I can use that word) presence of National Socialism. It is these later texts, both the ones that emerged from his underground seminary and then during the years of conspiracy and then imprisonment that have proven fruitful to later generations.