This unit considers the life and written work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who has been variously described as theologian, pastor, pastor-theologian, writer, activist, pacifist and martyr. In the face of such diversity we attend to the continuities in Bonhoeffer’s thought and practice. More specifically, this unit will posit a personal quest undertaken by Bonhoeffer to understand the plight of ego and power and their solution in the notion of freedom. Dietrich Bonhoeffer offers a notion of ministry practice and discipleship whereby the follower of Jesus can embrace undefended leadership, the appropriate use of power and a degree of self-determination.

Unit code: DM2026S

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Missiology

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Stirling College

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Learning outcomes


Use primary sources as tools for shaping contemporary ministry & mission practice.


Evaluate the impact that theological method can have on subsequent decision-making in real life contexts.


Describe ways in which scholars have sought to understand and appropriate Bonhoeffer for today.

Unit sequence

At least 30 points of Foundational Units including 15 points in Field D


A combination of taught classes, group discussion, one-on-one conversation, and online interaction will be utilized throughout the course. The course will be taught as a seminar, meaning students will be given readings to summarize and present critical interactions with such readings in class, guided by the lecturer. Employing biography as theology, my own story of discipleship, being a pastor, activist and theologian will pepper the discussion especially as it pertains to ego and power in ministry and mission.

Indicative Bibliography

Primary Sources:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, English Edition

  • Sanctorum Communio*, (DBWE 1). Edited by Clifford J. Green. Translated by Reinhard and Nancy Lukens. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998.
  • Act and Being, (DBWE 2). Edited by Wayne Whitson Floyd, Jr. Translated by H. Martin Rumscheidt. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996.
  • Creation and Fall, (DBWE 3). Edited by John W. deGruchy. Translated by Douglas Stephen Bax. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997.
  • Discipleship*, (DBWE 4). Edited by Geffrey B. Kelly and John D. Godsey. Translated by Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003.
  • Life Together. The Prayer Book of the Bible, (DBWE 5). Edited by Geffrey B. Kelly. Translated by Daniel W. Bloesch and James H. Burtness. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996.
  • Ethics , (DBWE 6). Edited by Clifford J. Green. Translated by Reinhard Krauss, Charles C. West, and Douglas W. Stott. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2009. ###Other Editions and Translations of Bonhoeffer’s Writings:
  • Creation and Fall & Temptation: Two Biblical Studies. CREATION AND FALL, translated from SCHSCHOPFUNG UND FALL, published by Chr. Kaiser Verlag, Munich, 1937. Translation by John C. Fletcher, revised by the editorial staff of the SCM Press. TEMPTATION, edited by Eberhard Bethge, first published by Chr. Kaiser Verlag, Munich, 1953, English Translation by Kathleen Downham. New York: Touchstone, 1997.
  • Letters and Papers from Prison. Edited by Eberhard Bethge. Translated by Christian Kaiser Verlag. London: SCM Press Ltd., 1971.
  • A Testament to Freedom: The Essential Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Edited by Geffrey B. Kelly and F. Burton Nelson. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995. ###Secondary Literature:
  • Green, Clifford J. Bonhoeffer: A Theology of Sociality. Revised Edition. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999.
  • Schlingensiepen, Ferdinand. Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906 – 1945: Martyr, Thinker, Man of Resistance. London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2012.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay (application) (1000 words)

1000 30.0

Essay (biographical) (1000 words)

1000 30.0

Essay (topical) (2000 words)

2000 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 4 Sep, 2018

Unit record last updated: 2019-06-04 14:27:00 +1000