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Title: The God who is given : Bonhoeffer's sacramental theology and his critique of religion
Author: Dodson, Chris
ISNI:       0000 0004 6056 8087
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis will argue that Dietrich Bonhoeffer's vision for religionless Christianity should be conceived as an extension of the Christian life determined by the church's receiving Christ through the sacraments. This claim is substantiated when Bonhoeffer is read within his Lutheran context. Importantly, the link between sacraments and religionlessness in Bonhoeffer's work can demonstrate unity to Bonhoeffer's theology and establish the significance of the church as a cultic community within religionlessness. To contextualize these claims, the first chapter displays the way, for Luther, sacraments are received in faith as signs of Christ's presence and bearers of Christ's promises. In that way, sacraments function to instil, strengthen, locate, and vitalize faith. The second and third chapters demonstrate how Bonhoeffer wields the Lutheran insights detailed in chapter one. Chapter two accounts for how Act and Being demonstrates how the church comes to know the world faithfully through encountering Christ in word and sacrament. Chapter three argues that, in keeping with his Lutheran context, Bonhoeffer sees that baptism, the Lord's Supper, and confession all participate in the function of the sacraments, identified in chapter one, to effect faithfulness. Chapter four locates sacraments within Bonhoeffer's theology of religion. Because, it is argued, religion is bifurcated into structures and dispositions, sacraments as religious structures can be an enduring feature of church life even as Bonhoeffer's religionless proposals challenge unfaithful religious dispositions. Chapter five argues further that sacraments can serve to motivate the criticisms of religion and religious dispositions Bonhoeffer makes from prison. On such an account, Bonhoeffer establishes the necessity of the church as a cultic community to sustain his vision for a faithful church in a world coming of age. All of this is further evidenced in chapter six, where this thesis demonstrates that Bonhoeffer uses not merely the occasion of baptism, but also his sacramentology, to speak about how religionlessness takes form in the world. The conclusion reiterates these points to identify how the church's encounter with Christ in the sacraments serves, for Bonhoeffer, to motivate the life he identifies as 'religionless', thus underscoring the unity of Bonhoeffer's theology and the ongoing significance of the church for his prison theology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available