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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
May 30, 2003

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in 1906 into an intellectual and aristocratic German family. In his lifetime, he authored several books which have been treasured by lay readers and scholars ever since, among them The Cost of Discipleship and an unfinished volume, Ethics. He was executed in a Nazi prison in Berlin, three weeks before the fall of the Third Reich, for his participation in a failed conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. But his Letters and Papers from Prison were collected and published posthumously and are a classic work of narrative or "first person" theology — theology as discerned and articulated in the thick of human experience.

This summer, Journey Films releases a new documentary on the life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Krista Tippett speaks with producer Martin Doblmeier about the legacy of this unusual theologian; and about how his 21st century thought and faith have been influenced by Bonhoeffer's experience in Hitler's Germany.


Bonhoeffer director Martin Doblemeier is the president and founder of Journey Films. Combining his dual interests in religion and journalism, he has traveled to more than 40 countries to film documentaries on religious figures and spiritual communities. His films include A Time to Build, about changes in religion in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union, and Grounds for Peace, about the problems in Northern Ireland.

Related Links
The official Bonhoeffer site, offers information about the film, screening dates, and more.

Journey Films, the production company behind Bonhoeffer, includes information on its other films, and the producers behind them.

The International Bonhoeffer Society. Offers an abundance of information about the theologian, including lists of works by and about Bonhoeffer, Web links, and news.

The United States Memorial Holocaust Museum presents a narrative account of Bonhoeffer's life.

Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace, a PBS documentary, aired in 2001. The site offers a biography, a timeline, lots of Web links, and a transcript of the program.

Recommended Reading
By Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Cost of Discipleship (Peter Smith Pub, 1983)

Ethics (Touchstone Books, 1995)

Letters and Papers from Prison (MacMillan, 1981)

Life Together: A Discussion of Christian Fellowship (Harper & Row, 1954)

By Eberhard Bethge

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography (Fortress Press, 2000)

By Larry Rasmussen with Renate Bethge

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: His Significance for North Americans (Fortress Press, 1990)

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• "Bridge of Light for Viola and Orchestra" by Keith Jarrett; , from Fiddlewood, ECM SL006

• "Palestrina: Kyrie, from Missa Papae Marcelli" The Choir of New College, Oxford, Erato 3140

• "Intermezzi, op. 117, no. 1 and Intermezzio, op 118, no. 2", from Johannes Brahms: Piano Pieces Op. 116-119. Helene Grimaud, piano, Erato 14350

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