Voices in the Night: The Prison Poems of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Zondervan, 1999 - Poetry - 128 pages
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In the face of the horrors of the Nazi regime, the spirit of Deitrich Bonhoeffer burned its brightest. From his cell in Flossenburg Prison, where he awaited execution for conspiring to assassinate Adolf Hitler, this beloved pastor, theologian, writer, and voice of Christian conscience wrote ten powerful poems, charged with the white-hot emotions and disarming candor of a man who lived and ultimately died by the truth. Voices in the Night is an all-new translation of Bonhoeffer's prison poems. Here are the reflections of one of Christianity's most influential and convicting modern writers, complete with biographical information and a clear, illuminating commentary on each poem. These magnificent writings, written for friends, and for his fiancée Maria von Wedemeyer, reveal Bonhoeffer at his most intimate. Filled with contrasting images -- with forlorn grays and stark black-and-whites set against life's most vivid colors -- Voices in the Night ranges, psalm-like, over the broad spectrum of human experience.

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Contents

A Personal Note
9
Introduction
15
Commentary
38
Commentary
47
Commentary
54
Commentary
68
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Born in 1906 in Breslau, Germany, now part of Poland, Dietrich Bonhoeffer became a radical theologian. He was raised in a home where the intellect was honored. His father was a physician and professor of psychiatry at the University of Berlin. Such scholars as the church historian Adolph von Harnack, the theologian and sociohistorian Ernst Troeltsch, and Max Weber, a founder of modern sociology, were frequent guests of the Bonhoeffers. A precocious student who evidenced a degree of independence of thought that was at odds with the reverence in which his fellow students held their professors, Bonhoeffer decided early on the church and theology as his life's work. He was a product of liberal studies that were greatly influenced by Karl Barth. Bonhoeffer's doctoral dissertation, Sanctorum Communio: A Dogmatic Investigation of the Sociology of the Church, was published in 1930, at the time he was teaching theology at the University of Berlin. A year's study in the United States followed and leadership of the World Alliance of Churches, where his flair for languages and his genial disposition won him many friends. His American and British friends tried unsuccessfully to dissuade him from returning to Germany after the rise of Hitler in 1932. But Bonhoeffer returned, and joining the so-called Confessing Church of those who resisted Germanizing the church, he conducted an illegal seminary in Finkenwalde. Out of this experience came his Life Together; out of his struggles to encourage Christians to resist the Nazis came The Cost of Discipleship, his study of the Sermon on the Mount. Although Bonhoeffer escaped military duty by joining the intelligence service, he was eventually arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo and was linked to the attempt on Hitler's life. His Letters and Papers from Prison (translated in 1953), was his testimony of faith; the writing gave the American death of God movement the term religionless Christianity. Bonhoeffer was killed in 1945 while he was in prison in Flossenburg.

Robertson, pastor and former Study Secretary with the UBS, has written numerous books on church leaders.

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