Being Human, Becoming Human: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Social Thought

By Jens Zimmermann and Brian Gregor (editors)

A selection of essays exploring the thematic richness and modern relevance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theology of human sociality.

ISBN: 9780227680278


What does it mean to be human? The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer thought deeply about this questions out of a desire to understand the importance of Christ and the incarnation for modern culture. His conviction that Christ died for a new humanity is at the core of his theological anthropology. This collection assembles a distinguished and international group of scholars to examine Bonhoeffer’s understanding of human sociality.

From the introduction of his dissertation, Sanctorum Communio, where he notes ‘the social intention of all the basic Christian concepts’, to his final writings in prison, where he describes Christian faith as being for others, the theme of human sociality runs throughout Bonhoeffer’s works. This volume examines Bonhoeffer’s rich resources for thinking about what it means to be human, to be the church, to be a disciple, and to be ethically responsible in our contemporary world.

Being Human, Becoming Human is vital reading for Bonhoeffer scholars as well as for those invested in theological debates regarding the social nature of human beings.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 258

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Jens Zimmermann holds a Canada Research Chair at Trinity Western University. He is author of Recovering Theological Hermeneutics (2004) and co-author of The Passionate Intellect (2006).

Brian Gregor holds a PhD in philosophy from Boston College. He is the author of several articles on philosophy of religion, ethics, and aesthetics, and the co-editor (with Jens Zimmermann) of Bonhoeffer and Continental Thought: Cruciform Philosophy (2009).


List of Contributors
List of Abbreviations

Part 1: Bonhoeffer’s Humanism
1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer as Christian Humanist / John W. de Gruchy
2. Being Human, Becoming Human: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christological Humanism / Jens Zimmermann
3. Bonhoeffer’s Theology and Economic Humanism: An Exploration in Interdisciplinary Sociality / Peter Frick

Part 2: Bonhoeffer on Sociality and the Church
4. Sociality, Discipleship, and Worldly Theology in Bonhoeffer’s Christian Humanism / Clifford J. Green
5. Community Turned Inside Out: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Concept of the Church and of Humanity Reconsidered /
Kirsten Busch Nielsen

6. The Narrow Path: Sociality, Ecclesiology, and the Polyphony of Life in the Thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer /
Barry Harvey

Part 3: Discipleship, Conformation, and Responsibility
7. The Christological Presuppositions of Discipleship / John H. Yoder
8. Following-After and Becoming Human: A Study of Bonhoeffer and Kierkegaard / Brian Gregor
9. Con-Formation with Jesus Christ: Bonhoeffer, Social Location, and Embodiment / Lisa E. Dahill
10. Responding to Human Reality: Responsibility and Responsiveness in Bonhoeffer’s Ethics / Ulrik Becker Nissen



Endorsements and Reviews

This collection of essays by distinguished scholars provides new insights into the meaning of Christian humanism that avoids the pitfalls of individualism on the one hand and collectivism on the other hand. An excellent book for all who seek to affirm the human in an increasingly dehumanising global context.
Ralf K. W├╝stenberg, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Flensburg, Germany

It is a triumph of this collection that theological reflection and the concerns of social sciences and anthropology can be brought into fruitful dialogue.
Michael J. Leyden, in Theological Book Review, Vol 24, No 2

What does it mean to be human? to be a disciple? and to be part of the Church? Dietrich Bonhoeffer pondered these and similar questions. … Being Human, Becoming Human … looks at his theology in relation to social thought.
Church Times, 23 May 2014