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Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works Vol. 5 Kindle Edition

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 236 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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About the Author

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) was a German pastor and theologian whose striking theological journey and public witness against the Nazi regime led to worldwide fame after his death in 1945.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1032 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press (8 Dec. 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #147,011 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book, I read it many years ago and are now reading with a community as part of our daily prayers. This is no easy read, it is challenging to the point of being painful. I cannot recomend this book enough!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a Bonhoeffer admirer. Enough said.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x96187bdc) out of 5 stars 32 reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x961a88ac) out of 5 stars A Challange to GENUINE Christian Community 18 Nov. 2009
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Life Together, Volume 5, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Translated by Daniel W. Bloesch and James H. Burtness, Edited by Geffrey B. Kelly (Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 1996) Also available as an inexpensive paperback from HarperOne.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer may be as close as we Lutherans get to declaring a saint. He is the most notable Lutheran theologian of the 2oth century, and he may be the only Lutheran theologian whose name, aside from Martin Luther himself, whom Lutheran lay congregants recognize. But I suspect few Lutherans know anything about his works beyond his Letters and Papers from Prison. Up to a short time ago, I was familiar with only three other works, all available in popular paperbacks. I have since discovered that Bonhoeffer's works in English fill 16 volumes.

My interest here lies with Life Together, as an interesting contrast to The Rule of St. Benedict. Bonhoeffer's primary experience was with the community of Lutheran seminarians at the 'underground' Confessing Church's Finkenwalde Seminary in 1935--1937, where Bonhoeffer was a professor. St. Benedict's on Monte Cassino was founded sometime shortly before 543 CE. The only real similarity is that both communities were founded in times of extreme civil stress, and both communities may have been a refuge from that stress. The difference is that Benedict's stress came largely from brigands. He had the support of his church and state, such as it was, behind him. Bonhoeffer did not have the support of Germany's 45 million Protestants or even of his own Lutheran church. His opponent was the most ruthlessly evil state in modern history. Bonhoeffer became a founding member of the `Confessing Church', formed to oppose Nazification of the churches. No more than 1/6 of all the Protestant clergy in Germany opposed the Nazi regime.

While Benedict's community seemed to primarily be a spiritual refuge for peasants and the lesser merchant and handicraft businesses, Bonhoeffer's own community was composed of German intellectual elite, who were in training to be pastors. Benedict's rule is all about `what and `how'. Bonhoeffer's far more theological work is primarily about `why', plus a lot about the `how' that Benedict does not cover.

In Bonhoeffer's words, `Christian community means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. There is no Christian community that is more than this, and none that is less than this...Christian community is solely this. We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ.' He explains this statement with three points:
1. `Christians are persons who no longer seek their salvation, their deliverance, their justification in themselves, but in Jesus Christ alone.'
2. `A Christian comes to others only through Jesus Christ. Among human beings there is strife. "He is our peace" (Ephesians 2:14)'
3. `When God's Son took on flesh, he truly and bodily, out of pure grace, took on our being, our nature, ourselves. This was the eternal decree of the triune God. Now we are in him.

Bonhoeffer has much practical advice about the conduct of morning and evening services. Except that service must include scripture reading, psalms, and prayer, he states 'Daily morning worship will take as many different forms as there are communities. That is the way it is bound to be. When a community living together includes children, it needs a different sort of daily worship than a community of seminarians'.

Like Luther, Bonhoeffer had a special regard for praying the Psalms, as it is simultaneously God's word and the prayer of human beings. The psalms are especially useful for communal celebration, due to their antiphonal structure. He has no interest in dismissing those psalms which seem rooted in an earlier age, a `preliminary stage of religion'. The Psalter is `the great school of prayer. First, we learn here what prayer means...on the basis of promises. Second, we learn from the prayer of the Psalms what we should pray. Third, the prayer of the Psalms teaches us to pray as a community.'

This book is a great source of guidance for our Worship and Music committees, and the advice on hymn singing has a special ring to it. He admonishes those who sing too loud, sing out of step, sing poorly, or do not sing at all. He honestly believes those who cannot sing are far rarer than congregants would like us to believe.

Although Bonhoeffer has kind words for the `Daily Texts' of the Moravians, for communal Bible reading, he prefers the lectio continua method, where a book is read from front to back, covering as much as a half chapter in a service. For those `mature Christians' (familiar with the Bible), any length of reading may seem too long. Bonhoeffer says the depths of connections in scriptural passages, as God's word of revelation in Jesus Christ, make it eternally illuminating to the careful reader.

Bonhoeffer has much to say about life alone, and how this relates to communal life. On this subject, we see how Bonhoeffer has inherited Luther's love of dialectics, where two puzzling and seemingly incompatible statements are joined. For example, `Whoever cannot be alone should beware of community. Whoever cannot stand being in community should beware of being alone'. This continues Bonhoeffer's theme which I try to paraphrase as `The Christian community is not a `therapeutic' community. It is not composed to `heal'. People with psychosocial pathologies need not apply. Life in the community is not `medicine' or `bed rest' for the psychically damaged. Communal life regimens are like exercise, sunshine, good food, daily showers, and 8 hours of sleep every night. In other words, it is a regimen to stay healthy.

Even though Bonhoeffer is not direct about opposing laughter and loud talking, you hear undercurrents of a good Prussian prudery which would have made the Puritans proud. One wonders what he would have thought of the communities of the contemporary `New Monasticism', where members put on ad hoc circuses and street fairs. One also wonders how he would handle the physically fragile, infirm, demented, and bedridden.

Sirach 10:12--13a The beginning of human pride is to forsake the Lord; the heart has withdrawn from its maker. 13 For the beginning of pride is sin, and the one who clings to it pours out abominations.

The chapter on 'Confession and the Lord's Supper' may be surprising to American protestants, as it recommends something very close to the Catholic sacrament of confession. `Confession in the presence of another believer is the most profound kind of humiliation. It hurts, makes one feel small; it deals a terrible blow to one's pride....but our community with Jesus Christ shatters all pride. We cannot find the cross of Jesus if we are afraid of go in to the place where Jesus can be found, to the public death of the sinner.'
This book is one with which you must join in dialogue, and address its issues, if you have any intentions of pursuing a contemporary Christian community.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96fa048c) out of 5 stars bonhoeffer's description of practical community 8 Oct. 2005
By Peter F. Von Herrmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Life Together is Bonhoeffer's description of community life at the Finkenwalde seminary, the underground seminary for the Confessing Church that he led until it was closed by the Nazis. Life Together provides a practical conclusion to Bonhoeffer's early concentration on ecclesiology. It is an excellent tool for both academic and devotional studies of the nature of community.

The Bonhoeffer Works edition of Life Together provides historical clarification with extensive notes from leading Bonhoeffer scholars. It is an excellent resource both for those who are studying Bonhoeffer academically and those who use this book in church groups.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96e699d8) out of 5 stars excellent new edition of Dietrich's Prayerbook of the Bible 20 Dec. 2008
By G. Almes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This volume contains two gems that come from Bonhoeffer's leading an illegal seminary in the 1930s. I had read the earlier editions and been impressed, but the new edition contains so much historical context in the introductions that I can now read "between the lines". Good for personal reading, but we've also used both Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible in group studies at our church.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x961a8c48) out of 5 stars I'm starting to weep as I write.. If you knew half his story you'd probably be sobbing too. For the Christian a must read. 4 Jan. 2015
By Hanbledzoiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If this was just life together I would pay $1,000 For its intrinsic wisdom. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the true martyrs of the twentieth century who went back to Germany on the last boat possible against the cries of his friends to lead the confessing church eventually to be arrested and placed in 9 concentration camps presence where the Nazi guards felt him so strongly that they protected his papers at the risk of their own lives. Sadly he was hung on the direct orders of certain Heinrich Himmler 2 days before the liberation of the camp he was. It's rare enough that one can say THIS WAS A MAN!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x961ab438) out of 5 stars Must-read 12 Mar. 2013
By Srp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think that every Christian should read this deep, yet easily-grasped work by Bonhoeffer. Excellent for anyone skeptical of the Christian community, for this helps lay out what it is intended to look like. I meant to skim through the book for a class project/presentation, but was immediately drawn in to read the entire thing. Kindle edition is a bit difficult to navigate at times, though.
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