Modern Theology 23:3 July 2007 ISSN 0266-7177 (Print) ISSN 1468-0025 (Online

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EBERHARD BETHGE: INTERPRETER EXTRAORDINAIRE OF DIETRICH BONHOEFFER
JOHN W. de GRUCHY
Eberhard Bethge was undoubtedly Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “special friend” as Bonhoeffer himself called him.1 He was also the person Bonhoeffer appointed as the executor of his literary estate, a task that Bethge undertook with immense energy and commitment over more than forty years after the Second World War. But Bethge was far more than friend, and more than editor of Bonhoeffer’s works; he was also the major interpreter of his legacy, an interpreter extraordinaire. In this essay I will explore this role, already evident during Bonhoeffer’s life, and developed in a remarkable way after his death. Questions abound. Why was it that of all Bonhoeffer’s other friends (Franz Hildebrandt, for example) and his many students, Bethge became the internationally recognised chief interpreter? How did Bethge understand this role in terms of his commitment to Bonhoeffer as friend and literary executor? In what ways did Bethge undertake his task? How much was he influenced by post-war debates and issues in which he himself became involved? To what extent is the Bonhoeffer we know the Bonhoeffer we have received through Bethge’s experience and reflection? How did Bethge’s interpretation change over the years? In what ways has Bethge become the paradigmatic interpreter of Bonhoeffer, influencing the way in which others have interpreted him? And, does our knowledge of Bethge as interpreter of Bonhoeffer shed light on the task of theological interpretation as such?

John W. de Gruchy Dept. of Religious Studies, University of Cope Town, Rondebosch, 7700 South Africa
© 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

350 John W. de Gruchy Preparation for the Task Well before he first met Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eberhard Bethge, had embarked on his life-long vocation as a pastor and theologian. The son of a pastor in rural Sachsen-Anhalt, he made a vow to follow in his father’s footsteps at an early age and regarded himself as primarily a pastor to the end of his life.2 But he was not a particularly conscientious student, and had no ambitions to become a professor of theology. Nonetheless, in pursuit of his calling between 1929–1933 he studied at the universities of Königsberg, Berlin, Vienna, and Tübingen, and at Wittenberg seminary from where Martin Luther had launched the Protestant Reformation. It was there that Bethge took his first examinations as a theological candidate for the Magdeburg consistory of the Evangelical church of Saxony. But there, too, he took a fateful step that brought him under Bonhoeffer’s influence. After a brief involvement in the Young Reformation Movement, Bethge and several of his fellow students joined the Confessing Church following the Barmen Synod. Having informed the secretary of the Reich bishop of their actions, they were immediately expelled from the seminary, forfeiting their second theological examination necessary for ordination. Nevertheless, in October 1934, Bethge started his ministry as vicar in the confessing congregation at Lagendorf (Altmark), and the following April the Council of Brethren of the Confessing Church in Sachsen-Anhalt sent him to complete his training at the recently established Confessing Seminary at Finkenwalde directed by the youthful yet aristocratic theologian Bonhoeffer, just four years Bethge’s senior.

Formation at Finkenwalde Unlike those ordinands who knew Bonhoeffer from their student days in Berlin, Bethge and his companions had never heard of him.3 In company and comparison with them Bethge felt his “country boy” status acutely, and was initially treated by some of the “insiders” with condescension. But by virtue of his genial yet solid personality, the stand he had already taken in identifying with the Confessing Church at considerable cost along with his innate theological acumen, he soon stood out as one of the real “theologians” at the seminary according to his cousin and fellow ordinand Gerhard Vibrans.4 Undoubtedly this in itself brought Bethge and Bonhoeffer together, but their relationship was also nurtured on other levels, not least a mutual love of music, Dietrich playing the piano to accompany Eberhard’s singing. Bethge attended the majority of Bonhoeffer’s lectures and homilies during the five sessions he was a student at Finkenwalde, absorbing all that his friend could offer. Bonhoeffer soon recognised Bethge’s gifts and encouraged him to develop them in new directions that combined exegeti© 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

he was with Bonhoeffer in London. This led his intellect. he would seek and find a renewed innocence and sense of vocation.5 He was especially regarded as the resident expert in liturgy. the one in Sakrow the other in Berlin.” Bethge writes. when in prison.6 The later interpreter of Bonhoeffer was already within his first year at Finkenwalde becoming well practiced in that art. Bethge was put in charge of the seminary’s financial accounts. Bethge was not only responsible for the collective pastorates and related concerns. As one of the few to remain with the “House of Brethren” at Finkenwalde throughout its existence. He was present. Bonhoeffer would acknowledge that he had sometimes made life hard for Bethge. The relationship was by no means one-way. who became Bonhoeffer’s confessor in the “House of Brethren. well illustrates the intimate relationship that had developed between the two friends. but also in dealing with the leadership of the Confessing Church and Bonhoeffer’s © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . and Bethge began to visit the Bonhoeffer family home in Berlin. and the extent to which Bonhoeffer relied on Bethge and sought his advice on important matters. and became privy to discussions about the growing resistance. Bonhoeffer quickly sensed that Bethge had much to offer him. tristia. at the time of the Olympic Games in 1936. in private confession. church music. as in 1939 when he briefly went into exile in New York. Then. The situation was particularly bad for Bonhoeffer in early 1936. homilies and lectures. They were not occasioned by feelings of deprivation or desire. given responsibility for tutorials.”8 Some years later. became critical of the inability of the Confessing Church to resist Nazism and speak out on behalf of the Jews. Bethge knew so well!10 The correspondence and frequent telephone calls between Bethge and Bonhoeffer. and acting on behalf of Bonhoeffer during his frequent absences. Bethge’s steady personality stood in contrast to his own moodiness. he says. and the interpretation of hymns. as Bethge observed.Eberhard Bethge 351 cal.’ ”7 Only Bethge. In entering this circle. for example. with all its menacing consequences. to gain “an evil ascendancy over faith. He began to engage critically with the Lutheran doctrine of the “two kingdoms. when Bonhoeffer and Hans von Dohnanyi first discussed participation in the resistance. systematic and historical insight with pastoral commitment and political awareness. He also assumed Bonhoeffer’s mantle during his frequent periods of absence.9 referring specifically to his “tyrannical” nature that.” knew about these bouts of depression.11 The two friends now spent their holidays together. In March 1939. with Bonhoeffer.” and. meeting Bishop George Bell of Chichester and other key people in politics and the ecumenical movement. the “provincial boy” discovered an aristocratic cultural and intellectual life. mentored by Bonhoeffer himself. “There were days. but beset Bonhoeffer precisely when he realized how strongly others believed in the success of his path and placed great faith in his leadership. when Bonhoeffer “was overcome by what he later called his ‘accidie.

He also soon discovered that much of what he had learned from Bonhoeffer at Finkenwalde about confessing the faith and standing firmly and openly for the truth had to be re-thought as they moved more deeply into the shadowy underworld of conspiracy. and caring for the scattered community of pastors who had trained at the seminary. At this time Bonhoeffer was already an undercover agent of the resistance working for the Abwehr. Bethge undoubtedly provided a sounding board for Bonhoeffer during the four weeks when. ensuring that he alone of all Bonhoeffer’s later interpreters would be the best prepared for that task. The closing of the illegal seminary at Sigurdshof. © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . but he was now taking initiatives and developing insights that were characteristically his own. A pattern had now been established that would continue. Each had already contributed to the relationship out of their variant personalities.12 But over and above this. by the Gestapo in March 1940 brought to an end the first five years of Bethge’s relationship with Bonhoeffer. he wrote Life Together. in the Leibholz home in Göttingen. prompting the Confessing Church leaders to appoint him as an “inspector of missions” for the Gossner Mission Society in Berlin.352 John W. These are but some examples of Bethge’s growing insider knowledge of the man he would later interpret to the world. the two friends continually discussed theological and church concerns. Confidant and Clarifier Bethge had little sense of what the conspiracy might eventually mean for Bonhoeffer or himself. Sounding Board. develop and deepen over the next five fateful years. de Gruchy own personal affairs. Most of his time and energy there was spent in enabling confessing congregations to continue their ministry.”14 he was in fact a participant-witness. using the insights and lessons learnt from his experience at Finkenwalde. Even though he often described himself later as “a marginal figure in the whole thing. But in the mix something remarkable had emerged that linked them together in a way that was to endure even beyond Bonhoeffer’s early death.13 That awareness grew over the ensuing months as they discussed events together. backgrounds and skills. The two major themes of his teaching and preaching were the need to confess Christ concretely within the life of the church and costly discipleship as the presupposition of mission whether at home or abroad. But the constant threat of conscription confronted Bethge with the same dilemmas Bonhoeffer had faced.15 Both themes he had learnt from Bonhoeffer. the successor to Finkenwalde. There were only five more years ahead of them when they left the collective pastorates. and as Bethge entered ever deeper into the family circle and that of the conspirators. but these would determine Bethge’s life in ways that he could not have anticipated.

I miss that now more than you think. Poland. Bethge. “who are nearest and dearest to me. This ability to keep on the same wavelength. Years later Albrecht Schönherr wrote of Bethge’s remarkable ability to “generate catalysing thoughts” in Bonhoeffer. was in the military training camp in Lissa. meeting when they could. was because “no one knows how much longer things © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . not always without friction. I may often have originated ideas. the two friends made every effort to keep in touch. They discussed books they were reading or music they enjoyed. “That’s the advantage.”20 Bonhoeffer was delighted that their separation had not in any way affected their relationship.23 But perhaps the chief reason why he wrote at such length and so frequently. on Christmas Day 1943. he told Bethge: “I wish I could talk it over with you everyday.”21 A few weeks later. together with Bonhoeffer’s parents and his fiancée Maria. And in a letter in January 1941 Bonhoeffer expressed his delight that Bethge could “write such intelligent and helpful letters in the midst of human difficulties.” adding that it hardly surprised him given the fact that Bethge had such special talents. much of the Bethge-Bonhoeffer correspondence focussed on more mundane and intimate matters so important for their friendship.”16 In short.” Bonhoeffer wrote.17 But he also helped to clarify Bonhoeffer’s thought. indeed. took years to cultivate. and church matters were of paramount importance. “is generally simple and clear. Bonhoeffer wrote: A few pregnant remarks are enough to touch on a wide range of questions and clear them up. political. and in complicated matters I am particularly grateful for that.19 During the first few months of Bonhoeffer’s imprisonment. and we must never lose it.” he wrote after the visit. but the clarification of them was completely on your side. so he told Bethge. but writing to each other regularly when they were separated.Eberhard Bethge 353 Throughout this period.” he wrote. In the first letter Bonhoeffer wrote to him from prison. the “four people. having been conscripted in July 1943.”18 The more famous letters written later to Bethge from prison were part of an ongoing conversation about theological issues that had been in process for some time in which Bethge played a role that anticipated his post-War vocation. “of having spent almost every day and having experienced almost every event and discussed every thought together for eight years. Although theological. Nonetheless he was able to visit Bonhoeffer in prison on 26 November 1943. “That which you have to say in these sorts of human questions. Bethge was the sounding board and confidant for Bonhoeffer’s ideas. he wrote: “I had become so used to talking everything over with you that the sudden and prolonged interruption meant a profound change and a great deprivation. to play to each other.”22 In a later letter.

he wrote: Can you tell me anything about the fact that all my feeling and thinking is now really concentrated on personal experience. It came very quickly. Some of it is echoed in the questions I have written above. though he himself would not do it “because you’re the only person with whom I venture to think aloud.25 After receiving Bonhoeffer’s groundbreaking letter. has been caught up in a degree of stagnation? My conscious missionary impulse. love for its cause. With this in mind. the theological reflections on Christianity in “a world come of age” that began with the letter of 30 April 1944 came as something of a surprise. Indicative of this is that prior to receiving Bonhoeffer’s programmatic letter of 30 April. That is always a great satisfaction to me. These questions and observations. Bethge made excerpts when he received them. struck him “afterwards in an electrifying way . .” commenting: © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . has given way to the attempt to understand things. But even though he had been privy to the development of Bonhoeffer’s post-Finkenwalde thinking.”26 During Bethge’s visit to Bonhoeffer in Tegel prison at the time of his son’s baptism. So digesting each in turn. he responded to Bonhoeffer’s thought in an ad hoc manner.29 To this request Bonhoeffer soon replied that he had no objection.”27 Their discussion also led Bonhoeffer to write: “I’ve again seen from our conversation recently that no one can interpret my thoughts better than you can. And since one day you will be called to write my biography!”24 In January 1944 Bethge was sent to the Italian front.354 John W. the two friends found time to discuss some of Bonhoeffer’s new theological ideas. Bethge wrote to tell him on his return to Italy. though put more naïvely and primitively.”28 But now Bethge began to feel that he could not keep Bonhoeffer’s new ideas to himself. I am delighted about the things which. But he was never quite sure of what was to come in the next letter. He was especially excited by what he read because his own thought was moving along a parallel track. people and circumstances and to grasp them in a “human” way. excite me very much.”30 But he did ask Bethge to keep his specifically “theological letters” just in case he might want to read them again later. an experience that undoubtedly influenced his reception of Bonhoeffer’s letters and his own response to them. in the hope of clarifying my thoughts. de Gruchy are likely to last. . So he asked for permission to share them with some of their former Finkenwaldian colleagues. as it were. In the last letter from prison that survived the war. which in earlier years was there perhaps more or less naïvely. I must say. he immediately responded: “I got your letter of 30 April today. and that excitement over church affairs. Bonhoeffer refers to these selections from his “very provisional thoughts.

It also meant that he was well placed to interpret Bonhoeffer’s legacy in discussions about the reconstruction of the church. in turn. or was party to his thoughts as they developed in the underworld of the resistance. On the one hand. He was not only well prepared for his task. living in Germany meant that Bethge was close to the sources and the resources that made his work possible. Bonhoeffer feels that it all “sounds too clumsy. and how Bonhoeffer’s legacy would be received. Custodian and Interpreter Bethge’s post-war role as custodian of Bonhoeffer legacy may be considered in two interrelated respects. could fulfil such a role! Bethge destroyed all of Bonhoeffer’s September 1944 letters for security reasons. Bethge’s ability to straddle these cultural and theological divides profoundly influenced the way in which he would engage in Bonhoeffer interpretation.”34 So the second five years of the relationship began to reach its fateful climax. Firstly. and his legacy had increasing ecumenical significance both in understanding Christian faith and in the © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . the two friends had shared anxieties and joys even while they explored theological issues on the boundaries. much of the creative stimulation in Bonhoeffer interpretation came from circles beyond Germany.31 Indeed. archival organisation. the Holocaust and Jewish-Christian relations. theological interpretation soon became vital and inescapable as Bethge recognised the growing importance of the legacy not only in Germany but also in the Anglo-Saxon world. and biographical narration. but secondly. no one other than Bethge shared his personal life at such a deep level. it required historical reconstruction.Eberhard Bethge 355 You can imagine how pleased I am that you’re bothering about them. Marked by periods of enforced separation relieved by almost daily contact through correspondence and phone calls when possible.33 Bethge. It can’t be printed yet. wrote his last letter to his friend on 30 September 1944 in which he said: “I find your thoughts about the future bold and perhaps even comforting. How indispensable I would now find a matter-of-fact talk to clarify this whole problem.”32 Who else. While some of Bonhoeffer’s other colleagues and students had a good grasp of his theology prior to this period. The last thing he received and kept was Bonhoeffer’s “Outline for a Book. and found expression in his essays on ethics and his correspondence from prison. When that comes about. it will be one of the great days of my life. but also strategically placed to take it forward with maximum effect. On the other hand. I. and it will have to go through ‘the purifier’ later on. but Bethge.” which provided the framework Bethge used when he later interpreted Bonhoeffer’s prison theology.

to say the least. namely Widerstand und Ergebung. and he had left no comprehensive systematic theology. Many of the new generation of theologians had moved beyond Barth and were engaged with Rudolf Bultmann’s programme of demythologisation. Paul Tillich’s reinterpretation of Christian symbols. But that did not deter him from proceeding with the next volume of Bonhoeffer’s writings. For Bethge this was a priority as he. and the escalating debate about God in a secular age. youthful figure during the Kirchenkampf.37 But by now the issues were of wider theological interest extending beyond the Bonhoeffer circle of former students and friends. but who only knew his theology from earlier times. a significant step in the task of interpretation. Bonhoeffer. were keen to find out more about the Bonhoeffer they did not know. The papers from that occasion were published soon after as Die Mündige Welt the first volume in what became a series under the same title.356 John W. Emil Brunner. The First Wave of Interpretation Bethge’s first major step as custodian and interpreter of Bonhoeffer’s legacy came with his publication of the Ethik in 1949. former Finkenwaldians gathered together at Bethel to discuss Bonhoeffer’s “new” theology. Living in these two worlds did not detract from Bethge’s task. he was immediately elevated to the company of twentieth-century seminal theologians despite considerable opposition or caution on the part of those for whom Barth. © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . which included a poem he had published as early as 1946. Bethge’s choice of which letters to publish and how to introduce them was. it must be remembered. Bethge. of course. and ignore much of his earlier theology. These factors led more established German theologians to discount the radical elements in his prison writings. The result was. In August 1954. it must be recalled. began what became his life-long task at a time when theology was in a state of considerable post-war ferment in both Germany and the United States. with Bonhoeffer. As a result. and Bultmann remained pre-eminent. regarded the work as his most important. de Gruchy global struggle for justice and peace. The fact that scant attention was given to this first edition was. disappointing for him. some might say. in 1951. Yet former Bonhoeffer students and colleagues who had survived the war. but made it possible in ways that would not have otherwise been so. he was a controversial figure in the post-war German churches because of his role in the political resistance. largely through the efforts of Bethge. Bonhoeffer’s prison theology spoke directly to these concerns. had hitherto been a largely unknown.35 While collecting and editing the prison letters was his primary concern. as earth shattering as the publication of Barth’s commentary on Romans twenty years previously.36 The Bethel conference was followed a year later by a second conference at Weissensee in East Berlin.

For it was becoming evident. with whom he had greater affinity. however. already had its foundations in Sanctorum Communio and his Habilitation Act and Being. was established.Eberhard Bethge 357 Bethge was the major. for all its radical newness. Bethge recognized the danger of linking these in such a way that Bonhoeffer’s life and martyrdom were misused in giving uncritical approval to his theology. In response to Müller. this was a very significant event in the second phase of Bonhoeffer interpretation. Ronald Gregor Smith. the only resource for these discussions. Bethge argued that he had failed to do justice to the continuity between Bonhoeffer’s earlier theology and that of the prison letters. He did not. such as the Roman Catholic scholar Ernst Feil. As it turned out. who saw connections between Bonhoeffer and Bultmann rather than Barth. who treated Bonhoeffer’s theology strictly on its intrinsic merits. for Bethge it was impossible to interpret Bonhoeffer’s theology without constant reference to his life and context. and in response to Godsey. the editor of his writings. Bethge’s reputation as the close confidant of Bonhoeffer. insisting that the revolution in his thought had to be seen in relation to his earlier life and writings. then teaching at Harvard University.43 Nonetheless. Bethge stressed more the discontinuities. and the key interpreter of his life and theology. So Bethge set about developing a coherent overview of Bonhoeffer’s life and theology. Fortunately through the intervention of Paul Lehmann. and in some respects. There was a further. Developing a Coherent Framework By the late nineteen-fifties. but who also recognized the importance of Bonhoeffer’s earlier theology. through Bethge’s work and that of others. He had no truck with attempts at creating a “Bonhoeffer cultus. Bethge was invited to be a visiting professor at Harvard in © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd .42 that Bonhoeffer’s later theology could only be understood as a development that.40 Another interpreter who helped shaped Bethge’s own approach was that of his Scottish friend. partly to clarify the issues and partly in preparation for the biography he knew he would have to write.39 They also contributed to the way in which Bethge constructed his own approach. critical issue in interpreting Bonhoeffer that emerged during the first wave.41 Smith was so determined to see Bonhoeffer’s dissertation Sanctorum Communio published in English that he translated it himself. namely the relationship between his theology and his historical context. produce the first comprehensive interpretation of Bonhoeffer’s theology. These came from the American scholar John Godsey and the German Hanfried Müller38 whose pioneering studies helped set the parameters for the debate about Bonhoeffer interpretation at the end of what Bethge described as “the first wave of interest in Bonhoeffer”. But as the minister of a London parish there was little time for him to pursue the tasks he had set himself.” and he had great respect for theologians.

in discerning the most appropriate phrase or word in Bonhoeffer’s varied writings to highlight key moments in his theological development. Bonhoeffer’s confidence in Bethge as the one who was most gifted to interpret and clarify his thoughts. notes. as well as letters both from and to Bonhoeffer. Anyone familiar with these lectures.48 was fully justified by the Chicago lectures. seminar presentations. to the history of National Socialism. and what he was now planning to do. in showing its relationship to contemporary debates. to the question of opposition to tyranny. The Bethges revisited the United States in January 1961 when Eberhard gave the Alden-Tuthill Lectures at Chicago Theological Seminary. exegetical studies. and led inexorably towards its finale in the prison writings and martyrdom. and to theology. de Gruchy 1957–1958. the forerunner of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Werke. he gave a lecture to the theological faculty on the editing and publishing of Bonhoeffer’s papers in which he set out what had been accomplished thus far. which. Although systematic in character. However much of Bonhoeffer’s theology was founded on key insights that informed his thought throughout its development. but also to gather together. from now on were frequently used and quoted by those intent on understanding Bonhoeffer’s theology in relation to his life and historical context. entitled “The Challenge of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life and Theology. ever more costly. This provided an opportunity to develop his interpretation of Bonhoeffer’s life and theology in a more structured and coherent way.46 This led eventually to the publication of Bonhoeffer’s collected writings (Gesammelte Schriften). but the way in which he dealt with his Christological question changed in shape and intensity as his life unfolded. conference papers.358 John W.47 At the same time he was gathering material for the monumental biography that would eventually be based on this archival recovery. ever more related to the reality of God and the world. or if he was studied in a piecemeal way. Bethge did not try to force Bonhoeffer’s thought into a system of his own devising.44 There. to the ecumenical movement. lectures. But the lectures also demonstrated Bethge’s consummate skill in giving structure and form to Bonhoeffer’s theology.” knows that they provide the framework within which Bethge interpreted Bonhoeffer. His overall aim was fivefold: to make a contribution to the history of the German church. today”? Christ was at the centre of Bonhoeffer’s theology. especially those previously neglected.45 Bethge was convinced that Bonhoeffer’s theology could not be properly understood if only some of his writings were available. edit and publish everything that could be recovered—sermons. Hence his commitment not only to edit and publish or republish all of Bonhoeffer’s books. the challenge of Bonhoeffer’s theology lay in its provisional character and his ongoing attempt to reflect on the probing question “Who is Jesus Christ. and in weaving together a complex life story and an intellectual journey in a narrative that is both compelling and © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . for us. In the process it became ever more concrete.

”52 He also appreciated the fact that Robinson himself had made it clear that he had not attempted to “give a balanced picture of Bonhoeffer’s theology as a whole.Eberhard Bethge 359 convincing.54 While he was never one to disparage the interpretations of others. was the “creative misuse” that was being made of Bonhoeffer in the wake of the “honest to God debate” by some North American “secular” and “death of God” theologians.” and that he had referred readers to the Alden-Tuthill lectures for such an introduction to Bonhoeffer’s theology.53 Yet.” Bethge appreciated what Robinson had attempted to do acknowledging that his book had “unleashed a new search for the specific nature of Bonhoeffer’s contribution beyond the continental borders of Europe. Robinson’s interpretation remained unbalanced. and showed the extent to which the German and Anglo-Saxon reception of the prison letters differed so markedly. The ensuing “honest to God debate” showed that Robinson had not only touched a raw nerve within the church establishment. pastors and seminarians. and was always open to learning from them. in the popular mind. and beyond denominational barriers as well.51 now. Robinson agreed with this view—was this not precisely what Bonhoeffer was hoping to achieve through his prison theology?50 Whether Robinson achieved what he had hoped or not. but also that he had gained the attention of many on the periphery of the church. Bethge now saw that his role in interpreting Bonhoeffer’s legacy was even more important than he had previously recognised. Bethge was far more sensitive than most of his colleagues © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . or the disjunction between German and Anglo-Saxon interpretations of the prison theology and its implications. and Bonhoeffer had said about God in a secular world had become newsworthy. among Roman Catholics. Some theological reviewers even regarded his book as a means of evangelism in a new key.49 Suddenly what Bultmann. not least because an Anglican bishop had attempted to popularise much of what they were about. for Bethge. Tillich. the name “Bonhoeffer” had become a household word. These would make Bethge’s contribution even more necessary and significant for understanding Bonhoeffer. he was a radical theologian who advocated a “religionless Christianity. Yet developments were on the horizon that would wrench that legacy out of the domain of theologians. As a German who had already spent some of the crucial early post-war period abroad. Whereas previously he had been known amongst some clergy and informed lay people through the publication of the Cost of Discipleship. was a major media event. and thrust it into a larger public domain. in the English-speaking world. But what bothered Bethge far more than Robinson’s eclectic treatment of Bonhoeffer. In the Public Domain The publication of John Robinson’s Honest to God in 1963.

even if inadvertently. Although he was in possession of his friends’ papers and certainly knew the family history. In his careful methodical fashion. Thus.360 John W. including books by Otto Dibelius. as the custodian of Bonhoeffer’s papers. this was imperative. by today’s standards. he was also checking stories. Bethge would receive hundreds of letters from younger colleagues and students seeking answers to the larger questions about resistance and complicity. But.55 In many respects. Bethge began several years of intensive correspondence with Bishop Bell. There are few truly personal glimpses of Bonhoeffer the man. although Bethge later decried the Bonhoeffer “mythology” that developed in some circles. became embodied in the biography in which he so masterfully integrated the development of Bonhoeffer’s theology in the unfolding of Bonhoeffer’s life in a way that spoke to both the German and the Anglo-Saxon world. Visser ‘t Hooft. Given the controversies about the resistance in Germany. Yet. the sheer scope of the biography placed Bonhoeffer in the centre of his times. the biography is remarkably reticent. Bethge recognised that his task could not be confined to archival retrieval or theological © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . his friend and confidant. of course. and Hans Bernd Gisevius’ account of his role in the resistance. Bonhoeffer’s fellow conspirator Josef Müller. especially to the Holocaust. Bethge’s interpretation was shaped by the debates that Bonhoeffer’s legacy had sparked off. and others to close the gaps in his own knowledge and clarify the open questions. And such detailed attention to the development of his thought at each stage of his life in its various historical moments continued throughout the volume. Bishop Würm of Württemberg. Thus a major section of the biography focused upon Bonhoeffer’s theological training. down to the details of the seminars and lectures he attended and the papers he had written. A number of early memoirs had already appeared. at least in the nineteen-sixties. In the decades that followed. And how these. but his papers also show how he wove their concerns into new essays and reviews. Not only did he answer many of them at length. and most particularly with the publication of his correspondence with Maria von Wedemeyer. and the diversity of early interpretations of Bonhoeffer’s work both within Germany and the Anglo-Saxon world. placed Bonhoeffer in the foreground of the German church struggle and the resistance in a way that he had not been during the actual history. Bethge was better placed than any other to undertake this task even if his closeness to his subject precluded a degree of critical distance. and the questions and interpretations of others.56 As custodian and interpreter of Bonhoeffer’s legacy. But the biography certainly. de Gruchy back in Germany—including former students of Bonhoeffer—to the critical questions people were raising about the Nazi era and the response of the churches. the different factions in the German church. in turn. These would emerge only much later with the complete publication of his letters and other writings.

”57 “These different interests. engaging in the ongoing church and political struggles that followed the end of the war. he readily accepted the invitation to visit the © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . as Bonhoeffer would have expected.Eberhard Bethge 361 interpretation. Bethge’s exposure to other cultures and contexts. giving different shape to our critique and our tentative answers. Bethge referred to the “wholly different contextual interests” in the study of Bonhoeffer that brought the participants from around the world together. “will define our questions . provides a good example of the way in which he went about interpreting Bonhoeffer in a context different to his own. The plight of black South Africans under apartheid was a salutary reminder of the plight of the Jews in the Third Reich. Yet he could do no other both out of his personal pastoral concern and on the basis of his understanding of what faithfulness to Bonhoeffer’s legacy and its interpretation actually meant in practice. enabled him to gain fresh perspectives on Bonhoeffer’s legacy. sociological-psychological. related to each other and demanded his attention. and thus to interpret Bonhoeffer not simply in terms of what he did say and do. . Bethge moved in British ecumenical circles. biographical and historical. To be true to the legacy also meant. At the Second International Bonhoeffer Congress in 1976 in Geneva. resistance. Indeed. It was there that he came to know about the growing ecumenical opposition to apartheid especially after the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960. ethicalpolitical. Thus. were. Bethge and Apartheid South Africa As a pastor in London from 1953 to 1961. and solidarity with the victims of totalitarian power. The completion of the biography set Bethge free to engage more actively in this task. and the way in which this influenced his interpretation of Bonhoeffer’s legacy. II. . interests that were not only varied in terms of context but also in terms of discipline: “systematic-theological. and the controversial World Council of Churches’ Programme to Combat Racism on the other. on the one hand.” he went on to say. the debate at that time in Germany on the Holocaust.”58 His visit to South Africa in 1973. and the Cottesloe Consultation the following year convened by member churches of the World Council of Churches in South Africa to address the issues. but in terms of what faithfulness to his legacy now demanded even if this meant going beyond him. It was one that brought back to mind the many discussions and debates that he had had with Bonhoeffer around the themes of confession. and his innate ability to see things differently. military conscription. Bethge could easily have decided that his ongoing responsibility as editor and archivist of Bonhoeffer’s legacy demanded his full attention and therefore that he should refrain from becoming involved. for Bethge. Going beyond Bonhoeffer Like Bonhoeffer.

than in Germany. what could and should Germans learn from the church struggle in South Africa. in 1982. perhaps even the Germany of the Kirchenkampf? We may recall that in 1959 Bethge had noted the danger of regarding “thinking of the theology of the church struggle as only an interlude. Nowhere was this more important than in Germany itself as it tried to come to terms with its own past and especially the Holocaust.362 John W. and the Kairos Document? Was Bonhoeffer’s testimony better understood in South Africa. and to recognise the prophetic voice that came from those who spoke from below. he was introduced to the heated debates on the Programme to Combat Racism that were then.60 But he was ambivalent about whether or not the Confessing Church model in Nazi Germany was appropriate for the South African context. the Belhar Confession. Bethge reminded his audiences that Bonhoeffer’s legacy was to remember rightly the past in which he struggled to witness to the true meaning of Jesus Christ. and “black theology” and the 1986 Kairos Document.61 When Bethge came to South Africa the question was what could South Africans learn from the German Kirchenkampf and from the legacy of Bonhoeffer? But over the years the question had become for him. dividing the churches. but there were too many variables to equate it with the German context.”62 His South African experience had confirmed his conviction to the contrary and provided grist for the mill in his interpreting Bonhoeffer against prevailing opinion in much of the German church. The German experience certainly resonated with the thinking of those engaged in the church struggle against apartheid. Bethge sensed that Bonhoeffer provided a bridge between confession and resistance. In addressing the German situation back home he constantly spoke of the need to connect confession and resistance. as in Germany. both expressions of liberation theology. In his lectures given around the country. But his audiences immediately sensed a correspondence between Bonhoeffer’s theology and witness within the Kirchenkampf and their own experience. from the perspective of oppression and suffering. between “confessing theology” as expressed in The Message to the People of South Africa in 1968.59 From the outset of his visit he was made acutely aware of both the plight of black people and of the church struggle against apartheid. the Belhar Confession. and later. Bethge himself was in turn surprised at the extent to which it was so. Though anticipating that this might be the case. In addressing the South African situation. Nevertheless. from the testimony of black theologians. © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . and of the discussion about the need for a confessing church in South Africa that would directly address the political situation. de Gruchy country in 1973 and see things for himself. or overtly trying to make Bonhoeffer relevant. later to be published as Bonhoeffer: Exile & Martyr. Bethge avoided speaking directly to the South African situation. Staying not far from the headquarters of the anti-apartheid South African Council of Churches and the Christian Institute.

Bethge went beyond him on the basis of his own experience. his historical study and theological reflection. and the goal of his life. What did it mean to “confess Christ” here and now. but also with Jewish scholars who forced him to reread German church history—and Bonhoeffer’s own writings—more critically. or in dialogue with Jews in the light of the Shoah. This led him to embark on an intensive study of the issues and a campaign to get his own church of the Rhineland to reconsider its attitude towards Jews and Judaism.64 © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . against militarism in Asia. Bethge not only recognised the need to honestly reconsider what Bonhoeffer had said and done with regard to the Jews. While not entirely satisfactory from Bethge’s perspective. the measure. Bethge came into conversation not only with Christians working on the Holocaust. Bethge repeatedly wrestled with the existential question: “Who is Christ for me?” In a postscript to Am gegeben Ort. Only in this way was it possible to begin to remember rightly. and to do so in a way that corresponded to reality? Whether this had to do with confessing Christ in a secular world. he confessed. tackling head-on the question whether Bonhoeffer had failed to confront the issues directly. a subject that was particularly perplexing and difficult for Bethge. it signalled the fact that Bethge had now come into his own as a theologian. There was also the need to overcome a theological legacy that had both encouraged anti-Judaism and prevented engagement in political resistance. but also moved beyond him into unfamiliar territory. Although he continued to refer to Bonhoeffer’s writings and wrestle with their post-Holocaust implications. in one of the few places where Bethge ever wrote of his own personal commitment.Eberhard Bethge 363 Bethge and the Holocaust Debate During the last decades of his life Bethge became particularly burdened by memories of the Holocaust. Jesus of Nazareth. It also led him into conversation with many Jews and Holocaust survivors. remained the basis. But as a result of his tireless work. Nothing challenged him more in retrieving Bonhoeffer’s legacy and in thinking about his own faith in Christ and his membership of the church. In entering this emotionally charged and controversial arena. This required a new way of living as a Christian and a German in ongoing dialogue with the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.63 It was a painful process. But it also required rethinking classical Christology. but always on the basis of what he had learnt from Bonhoeffer. against apartheid. and one that brought him into conflict with his church. and to participation in seminars and conferences on the Holocaust and JewishChristian relations. There was an urgent need for the German church to deal with its past failure and guilt and to engage with Jews in a dialogue that would begin to heal the wounds. his church in the Rhineland approved a statement in 1980 on the relationship of Christians and Jews. he addressed the question. but which eventually led him beyond Bonhoeffer.

Bethge was “publicly known as the interpreter of the theology and life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.65 He was not just the custodian of the Bonhoeffer legacy. relatively unknown except within his circle of friends. the Rhineland Synod Resolution on Renewal of Christian-Jewish Relations. papers. but also of a theologian in his own right.68 Moreover. But Bethge towered above all others in his retrieving the legacy and shaping the way in which it has been received. against forgetting. Bethge never understood his role as an innovator.364 John W. As Christian Gremmels would later say at his funeral: “His voice was loud and clear in the theological debates of these past decades—against racism. have become so well known around the world if it were not for Bethge’s labour of friendship? And would Bonhoeffer’s theology have been received and interpreted in the way that it has been if Bethge had not provided the direction that he did? Bethge would have been the first to say that Bonhoeffer’s witness to Christ and the truth was not dependent upon him or anyone else. in doing so he inevitably left his own distinct impression upon it. though virtually all have acknowledged their indebtedness to him. Bethge’s voice will continue to be heard on these themes. against apartheid. Whenever future generations refer to theology in the second half of the twentieth century. Not all of these have agreed with Bethge’s interpretation. While he did not approve of all. Bethge did not create the legacy.”67 But where did the contribution of the one begin and of the other end? Can we unravel the strands that have been woven by their respective lives? Would Bonhoeffer. The integrity of Bonhoeffer’s testimony as one of the twentieth-century Christian martyrs stands firm irrespective of the representation of his friend. he interpreted it. the unwritten seventh thesis of the Barmen Declaration. Can an interpreter do otherwise without reducing the legacy to something static? Bethge’s is not the only interpretation of Bonhoeffer’s life and work. He sought above all else to pass on Bonhoeffer’s legacy to future generations in a way that would have its own integrity and so allow Bonhoeffer to continue to speak to them. colleagues and the emerging ecumenical movement.” wrote Heinz Eduard Tödt. Yet. no Bonhoeffer? “Before everything else. No Bethge. He was ever and always the faithful custodian and interpreter of Bonhoeffer’s legacy even when he went beyond him. There have been other biographies and a very large number of dissertations. de Gruchy In sum: Bethge’s ability as a theologian faithful to Bonhoeffer yet going beyond him can be judged from his many lectures published in four volumes of his collected papers between 1967 and 1991. a young pastor.”66 III. he did not believe Bonhoeffer’s thought should be placed in a straightjacket. and books written about his theology. theology after the Holocaust. No one better knew the mind of © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd .

Bonhoeffer did not survive the war and. But the fact is. de Gruchy. Even before Bonhoeffer’s death. And.70 Looking back to the 1960s. pastor and theologian. deeply influenced by Bonhoeffer’s theology. see John W. recognising Bethge’s skills as pre-eminently suited to the task. Bethge.Eberhard Bethge 365 Bonhoeffer. and especially his extraordinary role as Bonhoeffer’s confidant during the last ten years of his life. 2005). Bethge was himself a remarkable person. but another is undoubtedly the result of Bethge’s remarkable. NOTES 1 For a comprehensive study of the relationship between Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Eberhard Bethge. he was never slavishly so. Bultmann. Bethge had difficulty in imagining Bonhoeffer amongst us today as a seventy year old man. But he certainly would understand us if we honestly struggled for that for which he also cared. and who did so much to further his legacy. But his personality was also different. these words carry considerable weight. perhaps. though only a few years younger than Bonhoeffer. those years of theological ferment when the name of Bonhoeffer came to the forefront of debate alongside the giants of twentieth-century Protestant theology. As much as he was a protégé of Bonhoeffer’s. and interpreter of his legacy for virtually the rest of the twentieth century. One reason for this is undoubtedly Bonhoeffer’s stature as a theologian and the witness of his life.69 Coming from Schönherr. Daring. he was never uncritical where criticism was warranted. it remained the case during the years in which he fulfilled his commitment to Bonhoeffer’s memory. Devoted as he was to Bonhoeffer. As such he had the hindsight of life-long experience necessary for mature reflection on Bonhoeffer’s friendship and legacy—and on life more generally. and he probably would have continued to do so if Bonhoeffer had lived. Tillich. it is striking how Bonhoeffer’s legacy has endured and even waxed stronger whilst that of some others has waned. What if. as Schönherr said on the occasion of Bethge’s ninetieth birthday. he could not agree with us or we with him—that I could imagine. At age sixty-seven. lived much longer (1909–2000). This had been the case during the years of their friendship. in none other had Bonhoeffer placed his confidence to the same degree. © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . and therefore inevitably influencing and shaping the way in which the legacy would be heard and received. tireless and devoted labour on behalf of his friend. those teaching theology would know little about Bonhoeffer if it were not for Bethge’s life’s work. who knew Bonhoeffer before Bethge. more outgoing. more ebullient. as he told his audience in Geneva in 1976. Barth. more embracing. Bethge made an important contribution to the development of Bonhoeffer’s thought. Trusting Spirit: Bonhoeffer’s Friend Eberhard Bethge (London: SCM Press. of course.

Bonhoeffer. 23 August 1944. Eberhard Bethge. 1989). pp. pp. 467–468. 16 December 1943. Bonhoeffer. Ibid. p. 177–178. In Zitz Gab es Kein Juden: Erinnerungen Aus Meinen Ersten Vierzig Jahren (München: Chr. Bonhoeffer. 392. 4. Bonhoeffer. Keith W. 1985: Tape recording (no. Bonhoeffer’s letter from Ettal on 27. Eberhard Bethge and Elfriede Vibrans (Gütersloh: Chr. Or see Bethge’s letter to Bonhoeffer of 14. Bonhoeffer. 145. Eberhard Bethge interviewed by Keith Clements. Letters and Papers from Prison. 1995). 1971). Ibid. Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer to Bethge 5. Bethge. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works. p. Villiprott. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Werke. 91. Bonhoeffer. p. 316. pp. Bonhoeffer. Kaiser Verlag. Vol. Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography (Minneapolis. vol. Letters and Papers from Prison. pp. pp. ed. p.40. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer. pp. Kaiser/Gütersloher. 506. Germany. 2006). Letters and Papers from Prison. 398–399.” Bonhoeffer. 130. 339.. p. p. p. Letters and Papers from Prison. Letters and Papers from Prison. 49. Bonhoeffer. 178. “Auf dem Wege zur Freiheit. 1955). Letters and Papers from Prison. Bethge.6.. What Freedom? The Persistent Challenge of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Bristol. 209. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. 1990). de Gruchy 2 3 4 Eberhard Bethge. 152. p. pp. Illegale Theologen-Ausbildung Finkenwalde 1935–1937. Mark S. 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . 120–121. (London: Collins. Bethge to Bonhoeffer 30 September 1944. no. in which he discussed the relationship between the “ultimate and the penultimate. 188–222. p. p. 16 (Minneapolis. 398. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Werke. Illegale Theologen-Ausbildung Finkenwalde 1935–1937. Bonhoeffer. pp. 320.6. 393. 14 (Gütersloh: Chr. p. Letters and Papers from Prison (London: SCM Press. Letters and Papers from Prison. Kaiser Verlag. vol. Die Müdige Welt: Dem Andenken Dietrich Bonhoeffers. “Eberhard Bethge Als Theologe und Zeitgeschichtsforseher. p.” in So ist Est Gewesen: Briefe Im Kirchenkampf 1933–1942 von Gerhard Vibrans Aus Seinem Familien-und Freundeskreis und von Dietrich Bonhoeffer. 370–371. UK: Bristol Baptist College. Bonhoeffer. 8 July 1944. ftn. Letters and Papers from Prison. 283.11. 853–892. 1 February 1944.” later translated as “Stations on the Road to Freedom. Conspiracy and Imprisonment: 1940–1945. Conspiracy and Imprisonment: 1940–1945. Letters and Papers from Prison.2. p. 2000). Letters and Papers from Prison. Heinz Eduard Tödt. 183–185. 15 (München: Chr. 202. Letter to Bethge 28. 1996). ed. See the letters of Bethge to Bonhoeffer of 12. Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” Bonhoeffer. 833. edited by Gerhard Andersen. MN: Fortress Press.39 and 23. Letters and Papers from Prison. 129. pp. p.11. p. edited by Eberhard Bethge (Munich: Chr. 1967).” Evangelische Theologie.6. 160. Bonhoeffer. 437. Clements. 1. p. Ronald Gregor Smith. p. vol. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. 5 (1989). Bonhoeffer. Conspiracy and Imprisonment: 1940–1945. 46. Letters and Papers from Prison. 129. 1998). See. Ibid.41 when he commented on Bonhoeffer’s thoughts on suicide. p. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer. Eberhard Bethge. Illegale Theologenausbildung: Sammelvikariate 1937–1940.366 John W. Letters and Papers from Prison. p. 148. 3 June 1944. for example. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. p. 346. 195–198. Brocker. p. Friendship and Resistance: Essays on Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Geneva: World Council of Churches. Letters and Papers from Prison. Bethge to Bonhoeffer from Sakrow. p. p. p. see Bethge. Letters and Papers from Prison. 144. p. Dorothea Andersen.43. 2) in the possession of the author. Kaiser Verlag. Bethge. 131.44.39. Friendship and Resistance. 1995). “So ist es Gewesen. Bonhoeffer. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. MN: Fortress Press. A selection of these essays was included in English translation in World Come of Age: A Symposium on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. 16. Kaiser/Gütersloher Verlagshaus.

. 2 (1959). the theological closeness between Bonhoeffer and Barth is minimized more than it is overstated. This is made clear in Ronald Gregor Smith. Ibid.Eberhard Bethge 367 37 38 39 40 Die Mündige Welt II. The Honest to God Debate. The Theology of Ronald Gregor Smith (Leiden: E. Bonhoeffer: Exile & Martyr. The full text. published by Fortress Press in Minneapolis (1996-). Kaiser Verlag. 16. Bonhoeffer. The Church Struggle in South Africa: 25th Anniversary Edition (London: SCM. (London: HarperCollins. ftn. Eberhard Bethge.” Union Seminary Quarterly Review. Brill. Robinson and David L. p. “Bonhoeffer in South Africa: An Exploratory Essay. ed. Bonhoeffer: Exile & Martyr. see Clifford Green. London. 4 in the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works in English. 52. 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . John A. no. ed. Bonhoeffer: Theology of Sociality (Grand Rapids. Honest to God (Philadelphia. 2001. 891. 183. Vol. Robinson. pp. 1994). B.” Andover Newton Quarterly. See Eberhard Bethge.. 1960).J. 320. Author’s translation. See. p. 1955). no. 1986). 1948. 1956). Bethge. Love Letters from Cell 92: the correspondence between Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria von Wedemeyer. was published by Fortress Press in 2000. with Andreas Pangritz. The invitation was from the South African Council of Churches following a visit by the author to the Bethge’s in 1971. 7. 1963). John A. Eberhard Bethge. In his opening remarks at an event to celebrate Bonhoeffer’s seventieth birthday held at the headquarters of the World Council of Churches. edited by Ruth-Alice von Bismarck and Ulrich Kabitz. pp. T. Though it could be argued. See John W. revised and edited by Victoria J. (London: Collins. T. At the time the author was Director of Studies and Communications at the SACC. PA: Fortress Press. 29. “The Editing and Publishing of the Bonhoeffer Papers. p. pp. p. Bonhoeffer: Exile & Martyr. Verlag. Barnett. 1. Ibid. Dietrich Bonhoeffer.44. 1985). pp. First published in English in an abridged edition by SCM Press. “Bonhoeffer and This-Worldly Transcendence. de Gruchy. 24. 1–24. for example.” p. Von der Kirche Zur Welt (Hamberg-Bergstedt: Herbert Reich Evang. 1999). pp. translated by John Brownjohn. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria von Wedemeyer. de Gruchy. 7–8. Eerdmans Publishing Company. The Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (London: SCM Press. Notably Clifford Green. 1976). Kaiser Verlag. p. 23. 70. p. 17. The new critical edition. p. Eerdmans Publishing Company. John Godsey.” Andreas Pangritz. 2000). p. MI: Wm. The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works in English. The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Werke in 16 volumes published by Chr. edited and translated by John W. de Gruchy with Steve de Gruchy. Bonhoeffer’s letter of 5.” in Bethge. MI: Wm. Bethge’s monumental biography of Bonhoeffer was first published in English in an abridged version in 1970.6. Hanfried Müller. 26–42. B. Vol. Eberhard Bethge. See John W. Author’s translation. p. Kaiser Verlag in Munich (1986–1999). GenfЈ 76: Ein Bonhoeffer-Symposion. 17. 274. is nearing completion. Karl Barth in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Grand Rapids. Letters and Papers from Prison. postscript by Eberhard Bethge. Edwards (London: SCM Press). Ernst Feil. that “in the way in which Eberhard Bethge presents it in his superb Bonhoeffer biography. p. PA: Westminster Press. 151–152. 2004). 36. 3–4 (1974). 1975).” See Keith Clements. Bethge. Eberhard Bethge (Munich: Chr. 1943–45. edited by Hans Pfeifer. “Paul Lehmann’s Initiative. GenfЈ 76: Ein Bonhoeffer-Symposion. p. (München: Chr. 101–222. entitled Discipleship is vol. The Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Philadelphia. Bethge. “The Editing and Publishing of the Bonhoeffer Papers.

On 9 July 1998. 289. pp. “Eulogy for Eberhard Bethge. 148. 1979). a statue of Dietrich Bonhoeffer was unveiled over the portal of the West Door of Westminster Abbey in London. (Spring-Summer.” Union Seminary Quarterly Review. de Gruchy 63 64 65 See Eberhard Bethge. 3–4. Eberhard Bethge. p. Albrecht Schönherr. p. 2000. Introduction to Wie eine Flaschenpost: Ökumenische Briefe und Beiträge Für Eberhard Bethge. Kaiser Verlag. 254–265.” Delivered at the Memorial Service. p. published in International Bonhoeffer Society Newsletter: English Language Section. no.” in Christen Im Widerstand: Die Diskussion Um das Südafrikanische KAIROS Dokument. 11 September 1999. March 25. Kaiser Verlag). 1980–1990 (Munich: Chr. no. ed. Am Gegebenen Ort: Aüfsatze und Reden 1970–1979 (München: Chr. Vol. Kaiser Verlag. 1991). Christian Gremmels. Translated by Nancy Lukens. “Ein gutter Freund: Rede zu Eberhard Bethges 90. Rudolf Hinz und Frank Kürschner-Pelkmann (Stuttgart: Verlag Dieste in Übersee. Am Gegebenen Ort (Munich: Chr. ed. Ohnmacht und Mündigkeit: Beiträge Zur Zeitgeschichte und Theologie Nach Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Munich: Chr. along with statues of nine other representative Christian martyrs of the twentieth-century. Kaiser Verlag. no. 14. 32. 60. Eberhard Bethge. Kaiser. 1977). Bethge Eberhard. “The Holocaust and Christian Anti-Semitism: Perspectives of a Christian Survivor. 11–12. p. GenfЈ 76: Ein Bonhoeffer-Symposion. Erstes Gebot und Zeitgeschichte: Aüfsatze und Reden. “Wer ist Jesus von Nazaret für mich?” in Eberhard Bethge. Eberhard Bethge. 16. 73 (June. Heinz Eduard Tödt (Munich: Chr. pp. 10. 2000). 1987). published in Bonhoeffer Rundbrief. p. 66 67 68 69 70 © 2007 The Author Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . Eisenach. “Die Erfahrungen Vom Widerspruch Zwischen <Staatstheologie—Kirchentheologie—Prophetischer Theologie> in Unserer Gegenärtigen Situation. Berburtstag”. 1973).368 John W. October 1999. Bethge. 1969).