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Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich…

Letters and Papers from Prison (original 1951; edition 1997)

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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2,36183,968 (4.08)15
Title:Letters and Papers from Prison
Authors:Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Info:Touchstone (1997), Edition: Updated, Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library

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Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1951)

  1. 00
    Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas (AmishTechie)
    AmishTechie: Get the real inside story of being a Pastor, Theologian and sometime resistance fighter, facing death. What does he do? He ministers to others! A soul stirring companion volume to Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
  2. 00
    Prison journals of a priest revolutionary by Philip Berrigan (aulsmith)

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different edition
  AlanBudreau | Apr 4, 2018 |
Letters and Papers from Prison (LPP) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a fascinating creation of desperation and subtle suffering wrapped up within an understanding and reliance upon the Judeo-Christian God. Bonhoeffer is a Lutheran Theologian who was arrested by the Gestapo during the Second World War, due to his resistance to the Nazi Germany Regime. Bonhoeffer was executed by the way of hanging 23 days before the capture of Berlin, as someone that under no-circumstances, was to be allowed to survive. The horrors that occurred in Nazi Germany during the Second World War, can only be a reflection of the true nature of humanity. As humans, we must ask ourselves, whether we are capable of what the Nazi’s were. I believe that the answer would be yes. Therefore, would the next question we ask ourselves, not be; “Could we be capable of accosting Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and executing him, without charging him with anything?” The answer is once again, fairly obvious; yes. The depravity of humankind is such, that this would be no small feat.

LPP has done little in the way to challenge me. While retaining my interest in the beginning, it held it for far too short of a time, such that reading it became more of a chore than anything else. In a rather personal reflection, I feel greatly disappointed by a book, which I hoped for much from. I hoped to gather a greater knowledge into, not only a great man’s life, but also, into the prison life of the Second World War Nazi Germany prisons. I unfortunately failed to procure such an insight. Instead, I have learnt that prison is a wonderful place to get some good reading done, to fashion some essays of great thought, and to complain about the fact that you had not received face cloths and towels with a gift that your family procured for you. While this is a man’s life, I found that it was rather boring and disinteresting, and have come to the personal conclusion, that the letters should never have been included in it. LPP has done little more than encourage me to step up my reading habits.

While a few months’ worth of letters were lost, with his remaining time on Earth being spent in a concentration camp (preventing further writings), Bonhoeffer's prison life is documented in an un-endearing way. The trivialities which so populate his writings to friends and family, detract from the knowledge that he would otherwise have imparted. The letters were overall, very uninteresting. Occasional sparks of brilliance made them partially worth their while to read. Overall it was a challenging read; but not for the reasons of intellectually challenging. Rather, it was hard to get through, and failed to hold a continual interest. The ‘papers’ on the other hand that Bonhoeffer wrote, certainly held much more of a fascination, to my interest. The ‘papers’ certainly had a greater attraction, as they covered more than what books Bonhoeffer wanted to read next. Bonhoeffer certainly discussed some incredible topics through these ‘papers’. Such a topic is one of his opening statements in his paper; After Ten Years: “Time is the most precious gift in our possession, for it is the most irrevocable. This is what makes it so disturbing to look back on time we have lost. Time lost is time when we have not lived a full human life, time unenriched by experience, creative endeavour, enjoyment and suffering. Time lost is time we have not filled, time left empty.” Bonhoeffer's poetry that is displayed later in the book, is lacking in quality, but I am quite happy to put that up to the fact it was translated from German. Bonhoeffer's prayers are interesting, but I would much rather stick to the prayers that come from the Bible.

From my veracious statements so far, it would be axiomatic to presume that I disliked the book you would be right, if that were the case. While LPP was a book that I struggled through, and gained little in the way of personal gratification or knowledge, LPP is at the end of the proverbial day, a self-history on a Lutheran theologian, and the life that he held while being imprisoned. If one could read just the ‘papers’ section, then much more could be gained from a mediocre book, on the life of a man who deserved more than this.
( )
1 vote Adurna101 | Oct 1, 2014 |
Always an important and inspiration book for us.
  RobertForsythe | Jul 19, 2011 |
Intensely moving
  MichaelTDarkow | Mar 15, 2010 |
A very difficult work to get through emotionally, especially if you know the background of the circumstances. Bonhoeffer was part of a conspiracy against Hitler and was imprisoned in April 1943 on unrelated charges. This book represents the correspondence between Bonhoeffer and his family and friends, especially Eberhard Bethge, to whom he sent letters illegally. The book tells the story of Bonhoeffer's hopes and dreams along with this theological reflections in his circumstance.

The personal information is quite interesting. Anyone who expects the book to be mostly about theology will be rather disappointed; nevertheless, the thoughts that Bonhoeffer does put down are quite good and worthy of consideration, especially in regards to the Christian's relationship to the Old Testament and what it means to be a Christian in a "post-God" world.

A book worth reading if one has a good understanding of Bonhoeffer through other works. ( )
1 vote deusvitae | Aug 14, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dietrich Bonhoefferprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bethge, EberhardEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fuller, Reginald HoraceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ten years is a long time in anyone's life.
(From Karl Bonhoeffer - Berlin-Charl[ottenburg] 9, April, 1943)

Dear Dietrich,

I wanted to send you a greeting from us and tell you that we are always thinking of you.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684838273, Paperback)

Letters and Papers from Prison is a collection of notes and correspondence covering the period from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's arrest in 1943 to his execution by the Gestapo in 1945. The book is probably most famous, and most important, for its idea of "religionless Christianity"--an idea Bonhoeffer did not live long enough fully to develop, but whose timeliness only increases as the lines between secular and ecclesial life blur. Bonhoeffer's first mention of "religionless Christianity" came in a letter in 1944:
What is bothering me incessantly is the question what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us today. The time when people could be told everything by means of words, whether theological or pious, is over, and so is the time of inwardness and conscience--and that means the time of religion in general. We are moving towards a completely religionless time; people as they are now simply cannot be religious any more. Even those who honestly describe themselves as "religious" do not in the least act up to it, and so they presumably mean something quite different by "religious."
The pleasures of Letters and Papers from Prison, however are not all so profound. Occasionally, Bonhoeffer's letters burst into song--sometimes with actual musical notations, other times with unforgettable phrases. Looking forward to seeing his best friend, Bonhoeffer writes, "To meet again is a God." --Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:59 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Compiles the personal correspondence and legal papers of the German theologian imprisoned and executed for his part in a plot against Hitler.

(summary from another edition)

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