Authentic Faith: Bonhoeffer's Theological Ethics in Context

Authentic Faith: Bonhoeffer's Theological Ethics in Context

Authentic Faith: Bonhoeffer's Theological Ethics in Context

Authentic Faith: Bonhoeffer's Theological Ethics in Context

Synopsis

One of the twentieth century's best theological ethicists, Heinz Eduard Tödt personally experienced the struggle of Nazi Germany that so shaped Bonhoeffer. Tödt said that the further he went, the closer he got to Bonhoeffer. In Authentic Faith he clarifies major dimensions of Bonhoeffer's ethics with precision and enables us to enter personally into the political, ecclesiastical, and family context in which Bonhoeffer wrote.

Tödt first discusses Bonhoeffer's theology and ethics formed during his own tumultuous time and then focuses on how they can inform and influence contemporary history. Tödt especially concerns himself with the present tasks in theology and in the church, clearing a path for understanding our lives through theology's eyes and drawing us toward the ethical wisdom we need to navigate the ideological struggles of our own time.

Authentic Faith shows an understanding of Bonhoeffer's spirit that makes this book a must for the shelves of any Bonhoeffer scholar and all students of social and theological ethics.

Excerpt

Heinz Eduard Tödt was chair of the editorial board of the new critical edition of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s works in German and highly respected internationally for his Bonhoeffer scholarship. He was professor of theology and ethics at the University of Heidelberg, and lived through and personally experienced the times of Adolf Hitler’s rule of Germany, the Holocaust, and World War ii. He interprets Bonhoeffer in his context of struggle as no one else can now do.

I went to study under Heinz Eduard Tödt at the University of Heidelberg in 1981–82 because I believed he was the best theological ethicist in Germany, and what I learned from him solidly confirmed that judgment. Tödt’s publications have an analytical sharpness, an ethical incisiveness, and a genuine truthfulness that is rare even among the best. His study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer is the climax of his career.

He unearths major dimensions of Bonhoeffer’s ethics, and enables us to enter personally into the political, ecclesiastical, and family context in which Bonhoeffer wrote. As I read, I find myself drawn deeply into analysis of my own ethics, tested by Tödt’s careful and incisive digging into Bonhoeffer’s ethics and his context in ways that no one who did not participate in those struggles could duplicate. Tödt’s own personal wrestle with guilt and forgiveness, and for an ethic that can guide us with the wisdom we deeply need in our own time of manipulation of faith for ideological ends, draws me into the struggle with deep personal identification. If you are . . .

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