FREE READ ð PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ó Eric MetaxasD of their names I was really put off Then I started reading and I went back to excitement Metaxas writes very clear Hemingway gone effeminate sentences for the most part It s very soothing and then suddenly you realize that he s ust lulling you so he can smack you over the head with a patented word couple like hemorrhoidal isometrics or vampiric homonculus In one sentence he describes Hitler as having both canine sensitivity and lupine ruthlessness In one sentence Theologians are accused of building diminutive Ziggurats It reads like a high school student trying to impress her teacher And then there s the big problem with the book despite the fact that almost everyone in Germany refused to take a stand as firm as Bonhoeffer s Metaxas is unwilling to consider that anyone then alive wasn t either a black hatted varmant or a white hatted hero Once Hitler takes the stage the book becomes a morality tale rather than a biography Real Christians never supported Hitler and Bonhoeffer can do no wrong but even he admitted that he rubbed people the wrong way and had a knack for making enemies True true Metaxas admits Bonhoeffer could get a bit too high brow in the pulpit But such a criticism is doubly ironic first because Metaxas primary complaint about Bishop Mueller is that he s an uneducated Navy chaplain of lower class origins this is particularly Absolute Khushwant jarring when you realize how privileged Bonhoeffer was and that Metaxas doesn t seem to care Second despite its sneering at the uneducated this book is determinedly middle brow I imagine Bonhoeffer and Barth sharing a smirk about it before they got back to reading something incomprehensible I should have been tipped off by the sub title of course that there wouldn t be much attention paid Bonhoeffer s ideas here it s not called Bonhoeffer Pastor Martyr Prophet Spy Theologian But I still found the lack of intellectual analysis disappointing especially given that Metaxas has his own theological axes to grind primarily against those who are attracted to the idea of religion less Christianity Who are they We re never told What should we put in place of their as he sees it flawed interpretation We re never toldIt s a shame because this is a great subject for a biography and he obviously did a great deal of research and excellent synthesis We all know history is written and it s no use wishing for some other outcome when reading a biography or history book Yet reading this book I felt a terrible suspense I knew Bonhoeffer was a goner still I bit my nails I dreaded I cried I hoped and for a while I even engaged in magical thinking imagining if I boycotted the last 20 pages Bonhoeffer would not die The sense of tragedy is heightened because the end of the war almost let Bonhoeffer escape his stupid fate death comingust two weeks before the Third Reich was brought to its knees I had to force myself through the last pages Ugh what a waste BuchenwaldJust to note I m an atheist And I m no student of church history but I really enjoyed the theological insights of this book For as much as Bonhoeffer sometimes seemed an arrogant fussbudget at least when he was younger I m glad he existed with his confidence in the Christian god and his dedication to following his sense of what is right doing what he felt was God s will for example despite its being a sin The world needs like him How can you not admire someone who in 1935 said Only he who cries out for the Jews may sing Gregorian chants Bonhoeffer really wins you over But for all my admiration and respect I couldn t help but be frustrated with him and all of noble high bred and fine feeling aristocratic Germany which couldn t get off its collective Arsch and assassinate Hitler despite their outrage and chagrin Being on the side of the right was surely a way to feel good about yourself but accomplished zilch And The Day We Meet Again just like I hoped against all reason and reality that Bonhoeffer wouldn t die I hoped to be reassured that there were good Germans out and about in the 40 s But the conclusion is there were hardly enough and certainly not enough willing to sacrifice themselves for the country they d been proud of As one conspirator says God promised Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom ifust ten righteous men could be found in the city and so I hope that for our sake God will not destroy Germany But history makes it seem you could count the good when it mattered most men on two hands And the war not only destroyed Germany s future but also obliterated its past That is it will never be remembered for its poets and thinkers whoever thinks of Germany now thinks first of the maniac with the little mustache and genocide And while those who think of Sodom might think about Lot no one thinks about Bonhoeffer or von Stauffenberg Biography is a good way to experience history from a certain perspective and I found this book illuminating in its picture of an age Living in Germany it s an era I hear about day in day out You can t live here without reading something about WWII every day and guaranteed there is a documentary on some channel or other every evening too But it s often big picture stuff or some military campaign or Powder Room just fleeting reference and this biography was right there with its details of a particular life in a particular place It was heartening to read about Germans who protested against the Nazis who found the Gestapo and the SS reprehensible even if they failed to bring change Dietrich Bonhoeffer is an inspiration and a revelation I do not know anyone who does not find much to admire in Bonhoeffer Even those who find Christian doctrines to stretch plausibility can admire Bonhoeffer s courage as a moral and principled man standing up to authoritarianism at the risk of his own lifeWhen the Nazis co opted the Lutheran Church in Germany he helped to organize a new church called the Confessing Church to oppose the Nazi s attempted corruption of German Christianity When it became clear that Hitler had widespread political support and would not fail on his own merit something many influential people in Germany wrongly supposed would happen Bonhoefferoined the conspiracy lead by Admiral Canaris of the Abwehr and had no difficulty seeing that it was his duty as a Christian to support Canaris plans for the assassination of Hitler and the violent overthrow of the Third a Christian to support Canaris plans for the assassination of Hitler and the violent overthrow of the Third Bonhoeffer s brother in law also a member of the conspiracy maintained a List Documenting Nazi Atrocities documenting Nazi atrocities list was to be used to win the loyalty of the populace which for years was largely in the dark about the Nazi s most horrific crimes after Hitler was gone It was the discovery of the list by the SS that likely led to the order that bonhoeffer be executed bonhoeffer the order that Bonhoeffer be executed Bonhoeffer and died courageously and Metaxas provides the details of Bonhoeffer s life in this regard effectively I think this explains the book s success Metaxas also wants his readers to understand that Bonhoeffer was a uniue and innovative theologian Here the book is a disappointment Unuestionably Bonhoeffer lived a sincerely Christian life and influenced friends to do likewise even in the difficult circumstances of their time But than that Metaxas is convinced that Bonhoeffer made important even groundbreaking contributions to protestant theology He failed to convince me Metaxas John Dollar just does not engage the substance of Bonhoeffer s theology in any serious way I am far from an expert on this important subject but Bonhoeffer seems not to have said anything about breaking with the bourgeois theology that characterized Christianity on the continent before WWI that his older contemporary Karl Barth had not already said even better Though Bonhoeffer s LETTERS FROM PRISON is undeniably compelling as an account of Bonhoeffer s personal psychology of faith it does not offer anything new regarding the reasons for faith Or if it does then Metaxas fails to develop it sufficiently for a reader like me to appreciate In this sense it seems to me that Metaxas failed to achieve much of what he set out to do in this ambitious book Note in re reviewerly shortcomingsLet me preface this by saying that I am about as ill ualified as one can be when it comes to ecumenical history The full extent of my knowledge on the Protestant Reformation is that Martin Luther posted 95 theses on the door of a church on October 31 1517 and I only remember that because I remember thinking that it was weird that he did that on Halloween and that the digits of 95 and 1517 both add up to 14random I know but hey I was a sopho in high school As a result I won t be commenting on any bits of biblical exegesis andor theology because really I wouldust be making things up Die Familie von Bonhoeffer Growing up in the Bonhoeffer household aka the Wagenheimstrasse was intense Dietrich was sixth out of eight children including his twin sister Sabine born to neurologistpsychologist Karl Bonhoeffer and his wife Paula granddaughter of a famous Protestant theologian Karl von Hase Karl the pater familias was effectively an atheist or agnostic basically he wasn t terribly into religion but the children were brought up with their mother s religion I don t know what they re looking at in the picture below but it could be a bible However every subject or endeavor whether. Ving narrative Metaxas uses previously unavailable documents―including personal letters detailed ournal entries and firsthand personal accounts―to reveal dimensions of Bonhoeffer's life and theology never before seenIn Bonhoeffer Pastor Martyr Prophet Spy―A Righteous Gentile vs the Third Reich Metaxas presents the fullest accounting of Bonhoeffer's heart wrenching 1939 decision to leave the safe haven of America for Hitler's Germany and using extended excerpts from love letters and coded messages written to and from Bonhoeffer's Cell 92 Metaxas tells for the first time the full story of Bonhoeffer's passionate and tragic romanceReaders will discover fresh insights and revelations about his life changing months at. ,
It was said that when he prays it is as if he is really conversing with a God who is listening to himHis family was rich and influential He had aristocratic lineage both in the maternal and paternal side Close relatives occupied high positions in the government including the militaryHe had a real talent for music but he chose to be a theologian and a pastor of t Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906 1945 was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian hanged by the Nazis at the age of 39 shortly before the conclusion of World War II for his role in the plots for Hitler s assassination His dramatic death has served to make him a semi legendary figure in some circles though his name isn t a household word to the general public but even in the circles where his name is recognized it s a fair assumption that many people know of him vaguely by hearsay than have actually read his own writings or studied his life in much detail He s often been posthumously co opted by the Religious Left on the basis of an out of context seizing upon of a single phrase he used in a 1944 letter religionless ChristianityThis is the only Bonhoeffer biography I ve personally read The one that s generally recognized as THE definitive one is the 1084 page 1968 tome by his close friend pupil and correspondent who eventually became his nephew by marriage Eberhard Bethge which is obviously a primary source for much of the subject s life One Goodreads reviewer characterized Metaxas work as dependent on Bethge In fact to the extent that they re serious about historical investigation subseuent biographical treatments are all somewhat dependent on Bethge and one might uestion their authors commitment to serious research if they weren t Yale graduate and evangelical Christian professional writer and public intellectual Metaxas however has used a substantial array of other primary and secondary sources besides Bethge s the bibliography fills about two and a half pages What he s also done is to synthesize and condense this material into 542 pages of actual text which is still pretty detailed but less daunting and manageable for the non specialist readerMetaxas starts with Bonhoeffer s family background he came from a distinguished lineage on both sides his father was Germany s foremost brain specialist and one of his brothers as a physicist helped split the atom He then proceeds to cover every stage of his subject s life from childhood through the July 27 1945 memorial service at Holy Trinity Church in England which frames the main narrative at beginning and end Bonhoeffer s theological thought is treated intelligibly in the context of the events and experiences of his life in which it took shape His own writings letters and diary are uoted freuently as are the words of other people who played parts in his life and who knew him A Goodreads reviewer complained that too much historical context is provided but I personally did not have that feeling at all I found the focus to be uite steadily on Bonhoeffer with reference to the events around him confined to what s necessary for understanding his own role and reactions As a history major I went into the book with a general knowledge of the Nazi regime and the war and I had some basic prior information about Bonhoeffer s life and thought but I encountered much significant information here that I didn t previously know Clearly the author admires Bonhoeffer greatly and considers him a hero as I think any non Nazi who studied the man s life would But he s writing biography not hagiography he portrays his subject in photographic detail without trying to air brush the pictureThis is not academic writing for professional scholars but for general readers it does not employ the very dry objective precise and colorless mode of writing academics use in writing to each other and which I wrote in as a college and graduate student so I m uite familiar with it Metaxas prose in contrast can be uite colorful in terms of the comparisons and descriptions used and he makes no bones about being passionate towards the subject Examples might include the characterization of the aged Luther in reference to his anti Semitic comments dredged up by the Nazis as the Don Rickles of Wittenberg he insulted pretty much everybody not ust Jews or the comment on Neville Chamberlain s declaration of war after two days of dithering that at some point someone lent Chamberlain a vertebra Readers who for one reason or another would prefer a academic tone can fairly point this out Unlike some Goodreads reviewers however I don t think Metaxas prose style deserves ridicule The hardcover edition which was pushed into print too uickly to coincide with the anniversary of Bonhoeffer s death also contained some typos and misspellings of German words These were mostly corrected in the paperback edition which is the one I read although the misspelling of Gleichschaltung as Gleischaltung wasn tBethge himself who was the recipient of the letter in uestion was strongly and explicitly critical of theologians who recklessly misinterpreted the religionless Christianity phrase as indicating some kind of wholesale rejection of traditional Christian beliefs Both Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth Another Close Friend Who another close friend who also a major theological influence had been explicitly critical for years of religion understood as a man made system of rules and shibboleths by which people try to earn favor with God and make themselves feel pious and contrasted with a Biblical dependence on God s grace The same terminology is not uncommon among American evangelicals today As Metaxas makes clear Bonhoeffer was not a separatistic and anti intellectual Fundamentalist He was a strong supporter of Barthian Neo Orthodoxy and in the context of 1920s and 30s Germany where and in the context of 1920s and 30s Germany where was hotly opposed by Harnack s liberalism In lifestyle he was much like Barth and his contemporary C S Lewis he was a cultured appreciator of classical art music and literature and an uncompromising exponent of intellectual rigor in theology and Biblical interpretation He was willing to fellowship with other believers Catholic and Protestant across denominational lines and he respected fellow serious thinkers such as Harnack even when he disagreed with them But he was also strongly committed to classical Christianity to the authority of Scripture to the practice of serious prayer and worship and to a life of total obedience to God which ultimately led to his willing acceptance of his own martyrdom Metaxas also makes this irrefutably clear and primarily by uoting Bonhoeffer s own wordsThough footnotes aren t used here there are 21 pages of notes documenting the sources for each part of the text by page and sentenceparagraph beginnings The 14 page index appears to be serviceable though I didn t use it much Finally there are 15 and 12 pages of discussion uestions designed for book clubs or other groups reading the book together These actually seem to be uite good for their purpose aiming to elicit individual thought and serious group discussion rather than to cut it off by suggesting canned answersAs a young man I read some of Bonhoffer s writing though I don t list it on my Goodreads shelves because I don t remember exactly what I read But at that stage of my intellectual development and Christian walk I don t think I was genuinely capable of appreciating and engaging with his thought One effect of reading this book has been to give me a much deeper appreciation of him as a person and as a theologian another has been to convince me that I need to seriously read or reread some of his writing and sooner as in next year rather than later My default rating for nonfiction books that I like is normally three stars This one is a rare nonfiction read that earns five and that s every bit as significant as it sounds On a rare occasion I get so involved in a book that it becomes real to me The characters come to life The story envelops me with its mental and emotion And when you finish it s like emerging from another world that for only a short while And on an even rarer occasion a book about real people does the same Yesterday I finished reading Bonhoeffer Pastor Martyr Prophet Spy by Eric Metaxas Yesterday I lost a friend who I won t meet until eternity Bonhoeffer was a pastor in Germany prior to and during World War II He was an outspoken critic of the Nazis and his criticism and ultimately his actions were driven by his understanding of Scripture and his convictions about God He saw great evil in Hitler and his crew even before Hitler came to power And as Hitler destroyed the Germany Bonhoeffer loved Bonhoeffer spoke against Hitler He spoke and acted in defense of the Jews He spoke and acted in defense of a biblically based Church He spoke and act Yikes this was a real disappointment or as Metaxas might say a hemorrhoidal bummer I was excited when I read reviews when it came out Then I was wary when I learned that Metaxas is the founder and host of a philosophy reading group for crazy rich conservative New Yorkers Then when I saw that the blurbs for his book rather than being by biographers or scholars were by CEOs ex CEOs former General Partners of Goldman Sachs Kirkus ournalists or people who feel the need to put PhD at the en. As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation bullied a continent and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe a small number of dissidents and saboteurs worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer a pastor and author known as much for such spiritual classics as The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together as for his 1945 execution in a concentration camp for his part in the plot to assassinate Adolf HitlerIn the first major biography of Bonhoeffer in forty years New York Times best selling author Eric Metaxas takes both strands of Bonhoeffer's life―the theologian and the spy―to tell a searing story of incredible moral courage in the face of monstrous evil In a deeply mo.