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Which Bonhoffer book would you recommend and what do you think of More's Utopia?


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I'm torn between 2 Bonhoffer books for next year: Letters and Papers from Prison or The Cost of Discipleship. The first is recommended and lectured on by Rufus Fears from TTC, the second is recommended by Jeff Baldwin's GreatBooks.com.

 

We will be using this as part of a literature/world view course. I like the way Fears begins his lecture series, Books that Made History, Books that can Change your Life, with Bonhoffer's Letters. But I wonder if the other book might be 'meatier'. This class will be for high schoolers and is Christian in design.

 

Then there's my Utopia question...I have heard that there is 'offensive' material in this book which might not be appropriate for a course of young high schoolers. Any advice? It would fit nicely with my plan, but I do have some quite conservative families.

 

Thanks,

Cynthia

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but I would lean more towards The Cost of Discipleship. Couldn't you incorporate elements of both, i.e., Letters and Papers from Prison as well as The Cost of Discipleship?

 

You know who might be an excellent resource for you here is Julie Bogart of Bravewriter. I believe she did her master's thesis on Bonhoeffer; you might e-mail her at her Bravewriter address and ask her opinion. I believe her thesis was specifically on Letters and Papers from Prison. Just try this website:

 

http://www.bravewriter.com and click on "Contact Us" and I believe she may be able to help you.

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I recently read Discipleship, and enjoyed it, but I was the only one in my book group who finished it (and it will probably be quite a while before they choose one of my selections again!). It is definitely "meaty." Actually, I thought he could have been a Lot more succinct, and the book would have been improved. I haven't read the Letters from Prison, but another member of my book group, who was a theology student, said she read that one and found it easier and more accessible. If you Do go for Discipleship, I recommend the 2001 Fortress Press version (volume 4 of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works), as it is a recent translation and has very helpful notes.

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wasn't more succinct was because it was written in 1937, and at that time the Confessing Church in Germany was under tremendous pressure to succumb to the pressure of the party line being held by the German Christians. Bonhoeffer most likely was not trying to write the most polished theological treatise, but was appealing to his fellow believers in the Confessing Church to remain true to their faith; hence the repetition in the book.

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