Lutheran or Lutherish? Framing Bonhoeffer's reception of Luther

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In his new book, Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther, Michael DeJonge provides a rich and compelling reading of Bonhoeffer’s theology. His central claim is that ‘Bonhoeffer’s thinking was Lutheran and should be interpreted as such’.1 He develops this claim through a series of careful and nuanced engagements with Bonhoeffer’s texts. At times DeJonge shows how Bonhoeffer was drawing upon Luther and other Lutheran thinkers for his theology. Elsewhere he indicates how Bonhoeffer’s theological positions align with Lutheran ones. In Bonhoeffer’s Reception, DeJonge focuses especially upon the Lutheran character of Bonhoeffer’s Christology (Chapters 1-2), and on how Lutheran two-kingdoms theology frames and informs much of Bonhoeffer’s political thinking and action (Chapters 4-7).Throughout this book DeJonge also establishes the Lutheran provenance of Bonhoeffer’s thinking through a series of critical engagements with other scholars who have written on Bonhoeffer, including Stanley Hauerwas, Mark Nation, John de Gruchy, Larry Rasmussen and Clifford Green. DeJonge argues that a neglect of Bonhoeffer’s Lutheranism by these scholars has often led to distorted readings of his theology: ‘Interpretations that forget about Luther’s importance for Bonhoeffer tend toward mis-interpretation’.2 Through these critical engagements DeJonge thus makes an important intervention into ongoing scholarly work and debates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-359
Number of pages8
JournalModern Theology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 02 Apr 2019


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