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Title: Weakness of faith : a hermeneutical key to interpret Dietrich Bonhoeffer's corpus
Author: Lynch, Jonathan David
ISNI:       0000 0004 9353 7164
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2018
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The theme of weakness of faith is identified in Bonhoeffer's theology to emphasise his Lutheran and modern identities and to shed light on his theology of faith and its meaning in a post-Christian context. When Bonhoeffer is read as a modern Lutheran, it becomes clear that faith is a central theological category which helps him to locate the human selfish disposition and its desire to supplant God or to project its own selfishness onto God. To contextualise these claims, the first chapter examines Bonhoeffer's familial and intellectual contexts. Chapter two reflects on Bonhoeffer's development of the theological category of faith in relation to his appropriation and transformation of Nietzsche's criticism of Christianity. Chapter three describes weakness of faith as a nascent trope that can be observed in Bonhoeffer's evaluation of the way that humans' selfishness causes them to reject their identity as God's creatures, placing faith in their own (weak) selves. Chapter four examines weakness of faith as a theological framework in relation to the selfish disposition that all humans inherited from Adam and Eve's act of disobedience against God. Chapter five considers how the themes relating to weakness of faith are issues that comes to the fore of Bonhoeffer's thinking in the Finkenwalde period as he reflects on how faith is the opposite of disobedience, and therefore the opposite of human selfishness. Chapter six considers Bonhoeffer's mature theology and describes weakness of faith as a trope which becomes central to Bonhoeffer's theological agenda as he considers not only how the modern world has displaced God from the equation of human life, but also how believers, in the postChristian context, must have a praxis of faith that is compatible with the godlessness of the world. This thesis seeks to demonstrate how Bonhoeffer offers a genuine alternative to the Nietzsche project through his explanation that faith in God can no longer be confused with humans' faith in their own selfishness.
Supervisor: Greggs, Tom Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Faith and reason