Bonhoeffer: Martyr of Faith - A BUDDING INTELLECTUAL

This image, from the German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv), depicts Dietrich Bonhoeffer with students in the spring of 1932. The photo, by an unnamed photographer, was taken on March 21, 1932. This was the year before Hitler officially assumed power in Bonhoeffer’s country. Online via Bundesarchiv and Wikimedia Commons. Credit:  Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R0211-316 / CC-BY-SA 3.0


Following in the footsteps of his parents, Bonhoeffer attended the best academic institutions in Germany. He received a doctorate, with honors, from the University of Berlin in 1927. During his time as a student, he devoured the writings of Karl Barth.

A man of many talents, Bonhoeffer pastored a Lutheran church for a short time in the late 1920s. Following a year of post-graduate study at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, he became a lecturer in systematic theology at the University of Berlin.

As an educated German theologian, living during the rise of Hitler, Bonhoeffer began to question the ethics of both his country and his church. On radio broadcasts he spoke out against the increasing influence of the Nazis and their anti-Semitism before Hitler assumed power. In intellectual circles he spoke against the complacency of Christians who thought Jews were cursed for killing Christ.

Banned by the government from instructing students at the University of Berlin, Bonhoeffer formed a kind of underground seminary. For two years he continued to teach his students as he traveled from village to village. Believing the German church was not taking a sufficient stand against Nazism, he co-founded the Confessing Church. It became a center of German Protestant resistance to the growing power of the Third Reich.

But mere intellectual pursuits and theories did not satisfy Bonhoeffer. Although a pacifist, he decided to actively resist the perverse effects Adolf Hitler and his regime wrought on the laws and lives of the German people.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: Jul 10, 2019

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"A BUDDING INTELLECTUAL " AwesomeStories.com. Feb 01, 2007. Oct 22, 2019.
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