Basics of Bonhoeffer. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was not a systematic thinker, and I’ve had difficulty finding the themes that connect his thought. One problem is that his early writings, such as The Cost of Discipleship, differ from his latter writings, especially his Letters and Papers from Prison, written in the two years between his arrest and murder by the Gestapo when his link to the plot to assassinate Hitler was uncovered.
I’ve focused on his Letters, which ask how a Christian is to live in a world that barely pretends to believe in God, a question that has become more pressing in recent years, at least in the Western world. I believe these themes summarize the thought of the mature Bonhoeffer, who died at the age of 39. To speak of the “mature Bonhoeffer” who died so young might sound silly, but by then he had been a mature thinker for years.