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Letters and Papers from Prison


Publisher writes

One of the great classics of prison literature, Letters and Papers from Prison effectively serves as the last will and testament of the Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed by the Nazis after incarceration in Tegel Prison.

Acute and subtle, warm and perceptive, yet also profoundly moving, the documents collectively tell a very human story of loss, of courage, and of hope.

Bonhoeffer's story continues to be as vitally relevant, as politically prophetic, and as theologically significant, as it always has.

This abridged edition includes a new introduction by Samuel Wells

Author Information

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Samuel Wells, John Bowden

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-45) is one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the twentieth century. His death at the hands of the Nazis has made him a modern martyr and an icon of radical Christianity. Samuel Wells is Vicar of St Martin in the Fields, London, and is the author and editor of many acclaimed books including What Anglicans Believe, God's Companions (shortlisted for the Michael Ramsey Prize) and Power and Passion, the 2007 Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book. Previously he was Dean of Chapel and Research Professor of Christian Ethics at Duke University, North Carolina, and has worked closely with Stanley Hauerwas.

Judges' and contributors' comments

Mark Oakley: I find Bonhoeffer’s life and work inspiriting. His call to Christians to be more humble, his suspicion of those who can think theologically but not live as Christians, and his passion ‘to not just bandage victims under the wheel but put a spoke in the wheel itself’ are as timely for us all as ever.

Bob Jeffery: Bonhoeffer grappled with the deep questions of faith in a secular age and poses questions about religion-less Christianity and the future shape of the Church. His insights, emerging out of the division in the Church in Hitler’s Germany, are very critical of a Church dominated by concerns for its own self-preservation. There are some very significant poems on which to reflect. To my mind, this book defines the real tasks of the Church in the 21st century by a man who understood better than most the price to be paid.

Anthony Phillips: After months of wavering, reading Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison led me to offer myself for ordination. Here was someone who understood the cost of discipleship and embraced it both practically and theologically. Even after nearly 50 years as a priest, when I read again this extraordinary correspondence, I feel both hugely encouraged and thankful that Bonhoeffer changed my life.

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