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Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christian Humanism$
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Jens Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198832560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198832560.001.0001

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Recovering the Natural: Humanizing Politics

Recovering the Natural: Humanizing Politics

(p.291) 8 Recovering the Natural: Humanizing Politics
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christian Humanism

Jens Zimmermann

Oxford University Press

Chapter 8, sketching out Bonhoeffer’s political vision to argue its validity for modern, secular states, falls into two main parts. The first section offers a detailed analysis of Bonhoeffer’s recovery of the natural for Protestant theology in the contexts of Protestant and Catholic thought of his time. It becomes clear that prompted by Nazi atrocities, Bonhoeffer recovers Reformational natural law theory in a particular Christ-centered way that is similar to the nature-grace relation proposed by Henri de Lubac, and to the concept of natural law propounded by Jacques Maritain. The second part of the chapter describes Bonhoeffer’s political theology as reflected in his view of church-state relations. The chapter shows that Bonhoeffer appropriates the greater Christian tradition from Augustine to Luther’s two-kingdom theory for his own day. He envisions a secular society and forum of public reasoning on the basis of the natural, a society in which the church bears witness to Christ’s true humanity and labors for the common good of a humane society.

Keywords:   natural law, human rights, political theology, church-state relations, secularism, secularity, Islam

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