Fortress Press

Theologian of Resistance: The Life and Thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Theologian of Resistance

The Life and Thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Christiane Tietz (Author), Victoria J. Barnett (Translator)


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Since Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s death in 1945, he has continued to fascinate and compel readers as a theologian, witness, and martyr. In this new biography, Christiane Tietz masterfully portrays the interconnectedness of Bonhoeffer’s life and thought, theology and politics, discipleship, witness, and resistance, tracing the path from his childhood to his imprisonment and execution.

Brief, lucid, and accessible, Tietz’s new account brings Bonhoeffer’s story and work to life in a vivid retelling, unfolding his important and widely read texts in the process. The volume also includes previously unseen pictures.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506408446
  • eBook ISBN 9781506408453
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 132
  • Publication Date September 1, 2016


1. From Breslau to Berlin, 1906–1923
2. The Return from Tübingen to Berlin, 1923–1927
3. Wider Horizons, 1928–1931
4. First Times, 1931–1932
5. The Beginning Church Struggle, 1933
6. Pastor in London, 1933–1935
7. Director of a Preachers Seminary, 1935–1937
8. The Path into Illegality, 1937–1940
9. The Conspiracy Period, 1940–1943
10. Prisoner in Tegel, 1943–1945


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Review in The Christian Century

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Review in Word & World


"Teachers, students, and careful readers have waited years for such a Bonhoeffer biography – it is accurate, readable, and compact.  The Bonhoeffer portrayed by Christiane Tietz is a Christian theologian—not a hero or a saint—a creative thinker, a courageous and critical lover of his church, and a politically responsible citizen in a perilous time."

Clifford Green | Bonhoeffer Chair Scholar, Union Theological Seminary

"Perhaps Dietrich Bonhoeffer has become too familiar. Christiane Tietz's biography places Bonhoeffer in historical context with enough attention to detail to render him strange to our contemporary ears, making him less vulnerable to misappropriation. At the same time, while placing key points of his theology in context, Tietz reminds us why we are drawn to Bonhoeffer and of his continued relevance today."

Jennifer M. McBride | McCormick Theological Seminary

"An admirable short introduction to the life and thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Germany's leading Bonhoeffer scholar. Accurate in its history, readable in its prose, and wise in its judgments, this book should become the new standard concise biography of the towering German theologian of Christian discipleship and resistance. Strongly recommended."

David P. Gushee | Mercer University

"This study of Bonhoeffer demonstrates a masterful grasp on the history and the context of Bonhoeffer¹s theological corpus. In Theologian of Resistance, Christiane Tietz takes readers on a biographical journey with Bonhoeffer, from his childhood to his untimely death at the hands of the Nazis. Students encountering Bonhoeffer for the first time, and those very familiar with Bonhoeffer, will find this to be a very rewarding book. In addition to reading Bonhoeffer's theology contextually, Tietz offers readers a brief interaction with the historical, global reception of Bonhoeffer studies. This is a must read for any serious study of Bonhoeffer."

Reggie L. Williams | McCormick Theological Seminary

"Christiane Tietz has filled an important niche in the literature on Dietrich Bonhoeffer by writing a short, accessible introduction to this towering figure of the twentieth century. . . . Tietz has a deep and respectful knowledge of her subject, and selects carefully from both well-known and more obscure writings in such a way that provides texture to Bonhoeffer's public persona. Embedded in the biographical narrative are synopses of some his most critical—and complex—ideas. Greatly enabled by the translation of Victoria Barnett, this volume introduces Bonhoeffer's theological contributions to those beyond religious and academic communities."

Katie Day | Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

"As the title suggests, Christiane Tietz's new biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer revolves around three key elements: his life, his thought, and their culmination in his resistance to both the nazification of the German churches and the Hitler regime itself. Employing extensive quotations from Bonhoeffer's writings, Tietz keeps Bonhoeffer's ideas and actions continuously in conversation with one another. The result is a wonderfully concise biography that will no doubt become the primary introduction to Bonhoeffer."

Kyle Jantzen | Ambrose University