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Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works Volume 11: Ecumenical, Academic, and Pastoral Work, 1931-1932.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works Volume 11: Ecumenical, Academic, and Pastoral Work, 1931-1932. By Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0-8006-9838-6. xxii & 612 pages. Cloth. $60.00.

This volume of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works contains three major sections, each of which includes work that originally appeared between 1931-1932. The first contains letters, both to and from Bonhoeffer, as well as other documentation pertinent to his life and work as a pastor and professor. The second includes reports on his ecumenical and pastoral work, as well as university lectures and other theological texts from Bonhoeffer. The third collects Bonhoeffer's congregational sermons as well as devotional material.

The value of the latter two sections is fairly obvious. Student notes from his summer 1932 course on ecclesiology offer a fascinating look into Bonhoeffer's distillation of his dissertation Sanctorum Communio into a classroom context. Sermons reveal how Bonhoeffer theologically confronted the rise of National Socialism in Germany in the midst of a proclamation of Christ's gospel. Reports from ecumenical conferences provide incredible insight both into Bonhoeffer's contributions to this movement as well as how others perceived his growth as an international leader.

But what is the value in reading daily correspondence, not only with loved ones, but with various officials? First, we come to see the humanity of Bonheoffer through his own dealings with income tax and requests for reimbursements from professional expenses. Though a theological giant and a martyr in the making, Bonhoeffer still faced the mundane realities of life. We also see the growth of Bonhoeffer's personal relationships with people like Paul Althaus and Karl Barth. In this time period we see an affinity for Althaus as a mentor and friend, even as Bonhoeffer looks with a level of critical suspicion toward Barth, though wholly undergirded with respect and admiration.

Over all, this collection offers an invaluable two-year window into Bonhoeffer's life. As we see Bonhoeffer struggle to offer a faithful witness in a turbulent time, we also see how a relentless commitment to the gospel helps to form disciples in the very midst of the societal storm.

Andrew Tucker

Christ Lutheran Church, Radford, Va.

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Author:Tucker, Andrew
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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