Chapter 8: Non-Religious Interpretation

Encounter in Humanization: Insights for Christian-Marxist Dialogue and Cooperation
by Paulose Mar Paulose

Chapter 8: Non-Religious Interpretation

Bonhoeffer’s concepts of "non-religious interpretation" and "religionless Christianity" have attracted widespread attention. Though both these concepts are inter-related, in the German speaking countries the discussion has focussed on the expression ‘non-religious interpretation, whereas in the English world the key phrase has been "religionless Christianity". Both concepts are important for an adequate understanding of the development of Bonhoeffer’s thinking. In this chapter we shall examine the concept of "non-religious interpretation".

Bonhoeffer wanted faith to be understood as a demand to live radically in the midst of the world:

it is only completely in this world that one learns to have faith. One must completely abandon any attempt to make something of oneself, whether it be a saint, or a converted sinner, or a churchman ( a so-called priestly type!), a righteous man or an unrighteous one, a sick man or a healthy one. By this—worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures, experiences and perplexities. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world—watching with Christ in Gethsemane. That, I think, is faith; that is metanoia; and that is how one becomes a man and a Christian (cf. Jer. 45).1

This is the direction in which he would have the Biblical concepts guide us. They are to be interpreted in terms of responsible involvement m the world. Metaphysical and individualistic terms cannot perform that function, and that is why he calls for a non-religious interpretation.

But what exactly did Bonhoeffer mean by "non-religious interpretation"? Instead of "non-religious interpretation" sometimes Bonhoeffer also uses the expressions "worldly interpretation" and "secular interpretation". As one of his more perceptive interpreters have pointed out, "It is much easier to grasp what (Bonhoeffer) meant by ‘religious than nonreligious’."2 Therefore, let us begin our discussion of nonreligious interpretation, first by considering what actually Bonhoeffer meant by the term ‘religious’.

Even during the early days in the prison Bonhoeffer expressed growing intolerance of the ‘religious’. He wrote:

Don’t be alarmed; I shall not come out of here a homo religiosus! On the contrary, my fear and distrust of ‘religiosity’ have become greater than ever here. The fact that the Israelites never uttered the name of God always makes me think, and I can understand it better as I go on.3

And so later, we find, Bonhoeffer rejected the thesis of "religious a priori". He explained this rejection profoundly in these words:

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’.

Our whole nineteen hundred year old Christian preaching and theology rest on the ‘religious a priori’ of mankind. ‘Christianity’ has always been a form -- perhaps the true form -- of ‘religion’. But if one day it becomes clear that this a priori does not exist at all, but was a historically conditioned and transient form of human self- expression, and if therefore man becomes radically religionless and I think that is already more or less the case (else how is it, for example, that this war, in contrast to all previous ones, is not calling forth any ‘religious’ reaction?) what does that mean for ‘Christianity’?4

In the Prison Letters Bethge identifies several characteristics of Bonhoeffer’s view of religion. Though some of these characteristics may look insignificant to us, Bonhoeffer considers them actually present in religion in such a way as to limit the challenge of Jesus Christ to specific directions. Let us consider here six of these characteristics.

"To ‘interpret in a religious sense’... I think it means to speak on the one hand metaphysically."5 Bonhoeffer criticizes religion as a metaphysically determined entity. Here, he is not thinking in terms of "immanence- transcendence", in order then to eliminate transcendence in favour of immanence. Rather, he is concerned to regain a genuine this-worldly transcendence, in contrast to a valueless metaphysics, as a "partial extension of the world" 6 and as a necessary prerequisite to any faith.

It is not with the beyond that we are concerned, but with this world as created and preserved, subjected to laws, reconciled and restored. What is above this world is, in the Gospel, intended to exist for this world.7

"To ‘interpret in a religious sense ... means to speak ... on the other hand individualistically."8 Here Bonhoeffer’s criticism is against religion as an individualistic entity. He considered the time of religion to have been "the time of inwardness and conscience".9 As early as 1927, in Sanctorum Communio, Bonhoeffer emphasized the social element in all Christian concepts. In a world come of age he became more aggressive to this social element and criticized the old individualistic inwardness.

Bonhoeffer maintains that the Biblical understanding of God directs us to a powerless and suffering God who is with us and who calls us to share his suffering for the sake of the world. In contrast to this, "Man’s religiosity makes him look in his distress to the power of God in the world: God is the deus ex machina."10 On another occasion he says:

Religious people speak of God when human knowledge (perhaps simply because they are too lazy to think) come to an end, or when human resources fall -- in fact it is always the deus ex machina that they bring on to the scene, either for the apparent solution of insoluble problems, or as strength in human failure -- always, that is to say, exploiting human weakness or human boundaries.11

This same criticism of religion is found in his poem "Christians and Pagans": "Men go to God when they are sore bestead."12 Christian religion is made out to be a sort of religious drug store, an escape from real life and from mature responsibility for it. God does not stand in to fill the gaps. Bonhoeffer has stated this point with much clarity in the letter of Christmas Eve, 1943:

It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; he doesn’t fill it, but on the contrary, he keeps it empty and so helps us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain.13

Another characteristic of religion, as Bonhoeffer finds it, is what he calls its nature of partiality. He observes that Christian religion has become a separate part among the other parts of life, a mere section of the whole. This is because of the partial nature of religion in contrast to "faith". "The ‘religious act’ is always something partial, ‘faith’ is something whole, involving the whole of one’s life."14

A further characteristic of the religion is its privileged character. Bonhoeffer constantly fought to overcome unwarranted religious privilege. This concern may be recognized in one of the questions he raises:

In what way are we "religionless- secular" Christians, in what way are we the ecclesia, those who are called forth, not regarding ourselves from a religious point of view as specially favoured, but rather as belonging wholly to the world?15

He points out that religion has become essentially a way of distinguishing people: Christians against non-Christians, theists against atheists, or white against coloured people.

Closely connected with the privileged character of religion we find another characteristic to which Bonhoeffer points, namely, the role religion plays as the guardian’ of man. Religion takes for granted that man has not yet become mature. He finds fault with "religious interpretation" in that it establishes priests and theologians as the guardians and rulers of the people of the church, and thus creates in thema state of dependence. "The church must share in the secular problems of ordinary human life, not dominating, but helping and serving."16 Bonhoeffer urges us to accept responsibility to others and to make possible the mature cooperation and partnership of the world.

It is true that Bonhoeffer’s critique of religion, in its most comprehensive historical, psychological and theological form, is found in his prison writings. But this does not mean that the critique of religion is something which he developed only during the prison days. His earlier writings show clear indication of his growing uneasiness toward religion. For example, in some of his writings he rejected religion as a purely spiritual, inner, pious feeling which offered "emotional uplift" and was based on human needs and desires. As a young assistant minister in Spain he already expressed thoughts that read like an anticipation of his last writings. Thus he wrote as early as 1928 in a letter to Helmut Rossler,

One thing that strikes me again and again: here one meets people as they are, away from the masquerade of the "Christian world", people with passions, criminal types, little people with little ambitions, little desires and little sins, all in all people who feel homeless in both senses of the word, who loosen up if one talks to them ~ a friendly way, real people; I can only say that I have gained the impression that it is just these people who are much more under grace than under wrath, and that it is the Christian world which is more under wrath than under grace.17

In some other writings he was critical of religion as wishfulness which expected God to satisfy personal needs, a theme central in prison letters. Another theme found in an earlier writing, which Bonhoeffer developed later in the letters, is the provincial, limited character of religion, in contrast to genuine faith which encompasses the whole life. His attack on the other-worldliness of religion is found in a 1932 address, "Thy Kingdom Come!" Other worldliness is rooted in human weakness whereas Christ "makes man strong".18

Once we understand Bonhoeffer’s criticism of ‘religious’, then it is rather easy to understand what he meant by "non-religious". The critique of religion, as we enumerated it in the preceding paragraphs, confronted Bonhoeffer immediately with a new problem: finding a non-religious language to interpret the Biblical and theological concepts. Obviously this meant taking the adulthood of the world seriously; also it precludes using God in relation to our deficiencies. Bonhoeffer agonized with this problem in a meditation he prepared for the occasion of the baptism of Bethge’s son, Dietrich Wilhem Rudiger. He reflected upon how the ancient words pronounced over the child would be perhaps equally an enigma to the baby and to the adults who heard them:

Reconciliation and redemption, regeneration and the Holy Spirit, love of our enemies, cross and resurrection, life in Christ and Christian discipleship all these things are so difficult and so remote that we hardly venture any more to speak of them.19

These have been rendered meaningless by a scientifically and technologically oriented culture. Therefore, Bonhoeffer calls for a new language which will be capable of renewing and changing the world:

It will be a new language, perhaps quite non-religious, but liberating and redeeming as was Jesus’ language; it will be the language of a new righteousness and truth, proclaiming God’s peace with men and the coming of His kingdom.20

In undertaking a non-religious interpretation of Biblical and theological concepts such as he proposes, Bonhoeffer believes the church would only be permitting the Bible to assume its own true character; for the Bible knows nothing of the ‘religious’ in the sense enumerated above. Religion is concerned with ‘inwardness’; the Bible with the whole person. Religion is ‘individualistic’, while the Bible is concerned with corporate existence. Religion is ‘metaphysical’, i.e., interested in a world beyond, whereas the Bible is concerned with the renewal of this world. This non-religiousness is clear both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. We should remember that "Jesus calls men, not to a new religion, but to life." Christ calls us out of our "being- for-self" into sharing his suffering for the world, into "being- for- others’. "That, I think, is faith: that is metanoia; and that is how one becomes a man and a Christian.’21 This central confrontation, this being called to participate in the suffering of Christ, must be, Bonhoeffer says, the starting point of our "secular interpretation".

Bonhoeffer’s non-religious interpretation is concerned not only with hermeneutical question, but with the question of the existence of the church itself. It was Bonhoeffer’s conviction that only a church whose message is a part of her own being, a church who witnesses in obedience to her own ultimate concern through her actions, is able to interpret and proclaim the word of God to a world come of age.

Bonhoeffer begins the non- religious interpretation with this concern for the church. He wants to apply this kind of interpretation to all central concepts of theology. He has dealt extensively with this interpretation especially in his approach to the theological concepts of faith, repentance, God, Christ, sin and the church. For example, in his references to sin he wants to begin in the centre: "It is not the sins of weakness, but the sins of strength, which matter here."22 His method is also seen in his view of the church in the centre of life, living wholly for the world. As Clifford Green has pointed out, "From the centre of life, under the lordship of the servant Christ, for the world: this is the manner of the non-religious interpretation."23

We should remember that Bonhoeffer’s non-religious interpretation does not arise out of any doubts about Christ, but is first and last a Christological interpretation. He always tries to pursue Christological questions by means of interpretation. This interrelation between non-religious interpretation and Christological interpretation

was so vital for Bonhoeffer that he lost interest when the two elements were separated: Christology not qualified by something like non-religious interpretation became an unrelated entity and suffered a fatal loss of reality; nonreligious Christianity without Christocentrism became a Sisyphean endeavour of modem man to adjust to a newly discovered self and world.24

Bonhoeffer’s criticism of ‘religious’ interpretation of the faith arises precisely because it either diminishes God’s concern for the world or refuses to recognize Christ’s lordship over the world. In other words, the necessity of non-religious interpretation arises for Bonhoeffer precisely out of faith in Jesus Christ. It derives from the very heart of his theology, from his Christology. The centrality of Christ in Bonhoeffer’s theology can clearly be seen in his Ethics. What matters in the church is not religion but the form of Christ, and its taking form amidst a band of men.25 The problem as well as necessity of non-religious interpretation is posed before us by way of introducing a question with which he is struggling: "What is bothering me incessantly is the question what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us today."26 Even common ways of speaking of Jesus Christ have become for him deeply problematical. "It is only when one knows the unutterability of the name of God that one can utter the name of Jesus Christ."27

He wanted to explain the present age in terms of the Bible, and not the Bible in terms of the present age. Bonhoeffer maintained that interpreting the Bible in terms of the present age is to make man the measure of the Gospel rather than to learn from the Gospel the true norm for human existence. In this lecture, as well as in all the other writings of Bonhoeffer, the norm and standard of all "re-presentation" is Jesus Christ.

Bonhoeffer’s’ Christological interpretation of the Old Testament appears in his lecture delivered in the winter semester 1932-33 at the University of Berlin. There he says, for example, that God’s creation of the world out of nothing is already Gospel. "From the beginning the world is placed in the sign of the resurrection of Christ from the dead." The Christological references are even more explicit in his Bible study entitled King David (1935). He interprets the entire career of David in the light of Christ. Bonhoeffer’s two short studies on Psalms also gives us an indication of his Christological interpretations.28 Here David, who is said to be the author of many psalms, is described as "a prototype of Jesus Christ".

The Song of Songs fascinated Bonhoeffer because of its earthiness, naturalness and unblushing but nonprurient sensuality. Bonhoeffer sees real significance in its inclusion in the Old Testament:

Even in the Bible we have the Song of Songs; and really one can imagine no more ardent, passionate, sensual love than is portrayed there (see 7.6). It’s a good thing that the book is in the Bible, in face of all those who believe that the restraint of passion is Christian (where is there such restraint in the Old Testament?) 29

The classical interpretation of Song of Songs is to treat it as an allegory of Christ and the church. Bonhoeffer rejects this ‘spiritualized’ treatment in favour of a literal and natural one: "I must say I should prefer to read it as an ordinary love song, and that is probably the best ‘Christological’ exposition".30 It is precisely by reading the Song of Songs as a poem about the joys and beauties of earthly love between a man and a woman that we read it Christologically. For Christ is the man at the center of life, the man who exists for others in all the concrete encounters and activities of daily life.

Bonhoeffer’s Biblical exegesis in the 1930’s raised the question: "What is Christ asking of us today?" In other words, Bonhoeffer was trying to interpret the scripture from the church’s point of view. Now, in the prison writings the question takes on a still deeper form: Who is Jesus Christ for the man who can no longer take religion seriously -- the man who fully felt the impact of the Marxian and Darwinian and Freudian revolutions? Who is Christ if the religious premise has to be cut away from the church? Thus, the question is above all a question about Christ, not man. We must apply all our attention to the task, asserts Bonhoeffer, to answer the question "Who Christ really is, for us today"-- not merely in the traditional, standardized and ineffectual religious terms, but fully, personally and responsibly. Bonhoeffer’s summons for a non-religious interpretation of Biblical and theological concepts is only to see Christ more sharply.

In the outline for the book he intended to write, Bonhoeffer asks a very important question:

What do we really believe? I mean, believe in such a way that we stake our lives on it? The problem of the Apostle’s Creed? "What must I believe?" is the wrong question.31

Bonhoeffer’s answer to this question may be a key to his non-religious interpretation. To believe in the church, the word of God, justification, etc., Bonhoeffer says, a man must have brought these mysteries into his life and integrated them into the pattern of his values, commitments and hopes. At the point of integration, justification is no longer a Biblical word, but has a profound personal meaning -- a meaning palpable and concrete for that individual. The concrete interpretation and this depth of meaning enables the Biblical concepts to become alive in a world come of age.

The non-religious interpretation of Biblical concepts means that" the concepts must be interpreted in such a way as not to make religion a precondition of faith."32 Here we find the theological solution of the problem of non-religious interpretation. The relation of religious Christian faith has to be thought through in the light of the relation of law to Gospel. This is pointed out on another occasion when Bonhoeffer says that to confuse Christ with a particular stage in the ‘religiousness’ of man would be to confuse him with a human law.33 It is to be carefully noted that the introduction of the concepts of law does not imply the identification of religion and law. Direct identification of religion with law would rest on the mistaken notion that non-religiousness is lawlessness, which of course is not what Bonhoeffer means. Gerhard Ebeling clarifies this point in these words:

The introduction of the concept of law implies rather that the phenomenon of religion (and likewise that of non-religiousness!) has its place in theology within the problem of the law -- so much so, indeed, that on the basis of the concept religion the correct distinction of law and Gospel is quite out of the question, and thus the domination of the concept religion in theology can only lead to falsely turning the Gospel into law.34

In other words we can say that religious interpretation is legalistic interpretation whereas non-religious interpretation means interpretation that distinguishes law and Gospel. Legalistic interpretation can neither be Christological interpretation nor interpretation of faith; on the other hand interpretation that distinguishes law and Gospel can be both Christological interpretation and interpretation of faith.

The question that confronts Bonhoeffer, and us too, is this: how do we preach Gospel to the non-religious man as freedom from the law without first laying down to him law that is strange to him and does not concern him? How is the law really brought home to the non-religious man? What is it that unconditionally concerns him? Whether our preaching of the Gospel is understandable and binding depends on whether our preaching of the law is understandable and binding. Bonhoeffer said:

It is only when one loves life and the earth so much that without them everything seems to be over that one may believe in the resurrection and a new world; it is only when one submits to God’s law that one may speak of grace; and it is only when God’s wrath and vengeance are hanging as grim realities over the heads of one’s enemies that something of what it means to love and forgive them can touch our hearts. In my opinion it is not Christian to want to take our thoughts and feelings too quickly and too directly from the New Testament.... One cannot and must not speak the last word before the last but one. We live in the last but one and believe the last.35

One might well question, at this point, the validity of nonreligious interpretation, asking whether Bonhoeffer has given us any example of non-religious interpretation rather than speaking only of its importance. Apparently Bonhoeffer has not left a definite answer to this question, except a handful of random thoughts. He even confessed that "I am only gradually working my way to the non-religious interpretation of Biblical concepts; the job is too big for me to finish just yet."36 Bonhoeffer gives us the "starting point" for a non-religious interpretation when he directs our view to the God of the Bible. A non-religious interpretation would call men to participate in the suffering of God in his life of the world," not in the first place thinking about one’s own needs, problems, sins and fears, but allowing oneself to be caught up into the way of Jesus Christ, into the messianic event, thus fulfilling Isa. 53." 37 The problem of a non-religious interpretation is not merely a hermeneutical one, but involves the whole existence of the church itself. It is an interpretation that is not concerned with religion, but with life. It is by living in the midst of the world, by taking life in our stride, that "we throw ourselves completely into the arms of the God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world-watching with Christ in Gethsemane."38 Thus Bonhoeffer exhorts us to interpret the Biblical concepts in terms of responsible involvement m life itself.

One thing is quite clear from what Bonhoeffer says: the criterion for the understandability of our preaching should not be how well it is understood by the believer, but by the non-believer. For, though the proclaimed word seeks to effect faith, it does not pre-suppose faith as a prerequisite. Bonhoeffer’s complaint is that today the church has made the congregation’s belief, and thereby its faith, the requirement for its understanding of the preaching. "Believe what we tell you", the church seems to say, "have faith, and you will understand", failing to recognize that if her preaching is not understandable it can hardly elicit faith. The criterion of understandability is thus reversed. This results not only in making the proclamation as a foreign language to the non-believer, but also in stifling the faith of the believer. Thus we find, heralded in Bonhoeffer’s struggle with the question of non-religious interpretation, a rediscovery of what Christian faith really means. He believes that the Bible message, for its own part, ultimately demands a non-religious interpretation, because only such an interpretation is appropriate to it.

It has to be emphasized that Bonhoeffer’s non-religious interpretation does not cast aside the importance of prayer, sacraments etc. Defending Bonhoeffer’s position Eberhard Bethge says:

It would be a great mistake to understand Bonhoeffer as abolishing the worshipping church and replacing service and sacrament by acts of charity. The religionless world in itself is not Christianity. The church must not throw away its great terms ‘creation’, ‘fall’, ‘atonement’, ‘repentance’, ‘last things’ and soon. But if she cannot relate them to the secularized world in such a way that their essence in worldly life can immediately be seen, then the church had better keep silent. Bonhoeffer himself worshipped and acted vicariously in anonymity and silence, and it is precisely this which enables him to speak loudly now to worldly life.39

Again, it needs to be emphasized that Bonhoeffer’s reflections on non-religious interpretation presuppose the church’s task of proclamation. He speaks of the weakness of the church’s proclamation in these words:

Our church, which has been fighting in these years only for its self-preservation, as though that were an end in itself, is incapable of taking the word reconciliation and redemption to mankind and the world.40

Thus the church has sinned against its own nature. It has missed the mark in that "The church is the church only when it exists for others."41 His criticism of the church is an expression of his love for the church, and if we take these words in isolation they will form only a half-truth.

Bonhoeffer leaves the church utterly and completely to the mercy of that which makes the church its true self; therefore his theological thinking, too, is oriented towards that which makes the church its true self -- that is the word of God proclaimed. The church which lacks this foundation, Bonhoeffer says, is incapable of taking the word of reconciliation and redemption to humankind and the world. It is this same concern that we find in his challenge to the church:

The church must come out of its stagnation. We must move out again into the open air of intellectual discussion with the world, and risk saying controversial things, if we are to get down to the serious problems of life.42

Marxist interpreters of Bonhoeffer assume that if Bonhoeffer’s call for non-religious interpretation is taken seriously, then there is not much left in Christianity except some social teaching. One can hardly agree with this exaggerated judgement. It is rather difficult to believe that Bonhoeffer would have reduced Christianity to some social teachings. On the contrary it was the desire of Bonhoeffer to present to the church a new vision in that he wanted the sacramental church to be also a social church without losing its spiritual foundation. For those who question the authenticity of Bonhoeffer’s faith during the prison days, the words of H. Fischer- Hullstrung, the camp doctor of the Flossemburg concentration camp, remain a genuine testimony. Describing the early morning hours of the day Bonhoeffer was executed, the doctor wrote:

Through the half open door in one room of the huts I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison grab, kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.43

One who wants to present Christianity only as some social teachings would not engage in such devotional acts. Rather, what we find here is a supreme illustration of the faith of the one who said: "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die".44 Nevertheless, some of the Marxist interpreters are correct in their perceptive observation of finding in Bonhoeffer’s theology some possibilities for a constructive encounter between Marxism and Christianity.

Bonhoeffer developed his thinking with a firm belief in the Incarnation and the Cross, and consequently, in the potential of a renewed humanity. This belief led him to a wholehearted recognition of the world come of age, to a criticism of religion, and to an attempt to interpret Biblical and theological concepts in a non-religious language. As we found in the preceding chapter, and in the present one too, this process has a strong Christological foundation and it was the genius of Bonhoeffer that he tackled the problem of religion without for a moment losing sight of Christ. It was Bonhoeffer’s strong conviction, not only during the university days but also during the prison days, that from Christology alone the non-religious interpretation can receive an answer. Non-religious interpretation is not just an invitation to the self-sufficient world of Marx, but an exhortation to take responsibility of the reality of this world, the norm and standard of which is Jesus Christ himself. It presents to the church solid and dependable criteria for her preaching and true life in the world come of age. By means of non-religious interpretation he hoped to achieve renewal within the church, in her proclamation and in her formal structures. It is certain that with this new kind of interpretation he does not reject the idea of the church; but the way of life in the church which Bonhoeffer envisions is one of what he calls "Religionless Christianity."



1. LPP, op.cit., pp. 369f (21 July 1944).

2. John D. Godsey, The Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, op.cit., p.274.

3. LPP,op.cit., pp.135(21 November 1943)

4. LPP,op.cit., pp.279f (30 April 1944).

5. LPP,op.cit., p.283 f (5 May 1944).

6. LPP,op.cit., p.381 ("Outline for a Book").

7. LPP,opcit., p.286 (5 May 1944).

8. LPP,op.cit., p. 285f (5 May 1944).

9. LPP,op.cit., p.279 (30 April 1944).

10. LPP,op.cit., p361 (16 July 1944).

11. LPP,op.cit., pp. 281f (30 April 1944).

12. LPP,op.cit., p.348 ("Christians and Pagans").

13. LPP,op.cit., p.176 (Christmas Eve 1943).

14. LPP,op.cit., p.362 (18 July 1944).

15. LPP,op.cit., pp. 280 f (30 April 1944).

16. LPP,op.cit., p.382f ("Outline for a Book").

17. Bonhoeffer, No Rusty Swords: Letters, Lectures and Notes, 1928-1936, ed. by E.H.Robertson (New York: The Fontana Library, 1970), pp. 33f

18. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "Thy Kingdom Come: The Prayer of the Church for God’s Kingdom on Earth", Preface to Bonhoeffer: The Man and Two of His Shorter Writings, ed. by John D.Godsey

(Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1965), pp.28f

19. LPP,op.cit., pp. 299f ("Thoughts on the Day of the Baptism of D.W.R.Bethge")

20. Ibid., p.300.

21. LPP,op.cit., p. 370 (21 July 1944).

22. LPP,op.cit., p.345 (8 July 1944).

23. Clifford Green, "Bonhoeffer’s Concept of Religion," Union Seminary Quarterly Review, Vol. XIX No.1, 1963, p.19.

24. Eberhard Bethge, "Bonhoeffer’s Christology and His ‘Religionless Christianity", Bonhoeffer in a World Come of Age, ed. by Peter Vorkink II, op.cit., p.47.

25. Bonhoeffer, Ethics, op.cit., p.84.

26. LPP,op.cit., p.279 (30 April 1944)

27. LPP,op.cit., p.157 (5 December 1943).

28. Cf. Bonhoeffer, Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible, trans. by. James H.Burtness (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1970); and, Bonhoeffer, "Christus in den Psalmen", GS, op.cit., Vol.III, pp. 294- 302.

29. LPP,op.cit., p.303(20 May 1944).

30. LPP,op.cit., p. 315( 2 June 1944).

31. LPP,op.cit., p.382 ("Outline for a Book").

32. LPP,op.cit., p.329. (8 June 1944).

33. LPP,op.cit., p.327 (8 June 1944).

34. Gerhard Ebeling, Word and Faith, trans. by James W.Leitch (London: SCM Press, 1963), p.142.

35. LPP,op.cit., p.157 (5 December 1943).

36. LPP,op.cit., p.359 (16 July 1944).

37. LPP,op.cit., p. 361f (18 July 1944).

38. LPP,op.cit., p.370 (21 July 1944).

39. Eberhard Bethge, "The Challenge of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life and Theology," World Come of Age, ed. by Ronald Gregor Smith, op.cit., p.82.

40. LPP, op.cit., p.300 ("Thoughts on the Day of the Baptism of D.W.R. Bethge").

41. LPP, op.cit., p.382 ("Outline for a Book").

42. LPP, op.cit., p.378 (3 August 1944).

43. H. Fischer- Hullstrung, "A Report from Flossenburg", I Knew Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Reminiscences by His Friends, ed. by Wolf- Dieter Zimmermann & Ronald Gregor Smith, trans. by Kathe Gregor Smith (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), p.232.

44. Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, op.cit., p. 99