Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian executed by the Nazis in April 1945 for his involvement in a plot to kill Adolf Hitler. His Letters and Papers from Prison, a series of ruminations about the role of Christianity in an increasingly secular world, has been widely influential—religiously and politically—since publication in 1951. Professor Martin Marty traces the history of this influence and explores the different ways in which Bonhoeffer’s work has been used by civil rights activists, anti-apartheid campaigners, “death-of-God” theologians, and East German Marxists. In this talk, the Rev. Dr. Buchanan and Professor Marty develop these considerations into a larger discussion of the role of religion and religious activism today.
Martin Marty is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he taught for 35 years. He is the author of more than 50 books. The Rev. Dr. John Buchanan has been senior pastor of Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church since 1985 and is the editor and publisher of The Christian Century.
Recorded Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at The Newberry Library.