SUMMER READING SALE! 30% off all eBooks until Sept 2nd! The Reluctant Revolutionary: Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Collision with Prusso-German History | BERGHAHN BOOKS
Join our Email List Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
The Reluctant Revolutionary: Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Collision with Prusso-German History

View Table of Contents

See Related
History Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

The Reluctant Revolutionary

Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Collision with Prusso-German History

John A. Moses

324 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-531-6 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (April 2009)

ISBN  978-1-78238-340-6 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (January 2014)

eISBN 978-1-84545-910-9 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Buy the eBook from these vendorsRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


This is a book that places Bonhoeffer into a much larger universe, where he did indeed collide with elements of Prusso-German history. I would highly recommend this book for historians and theologians alike for it certainly brings interdisciplinary studies to a new level.”  ·  Central European History

“John Moses' work is a formidable piece of research and writing about ‘a uniquely German Lutheran revolutionar’. The book is a challenging read but it is a rewarding one, and Professor Moses is to be congratulated on it.”  ·  Focus

“Readable and thoughtful, The Reluctant Revolutionary makes a helpful contrubtion to our understanding of Protestant saint. What is unique is the contextual breadth of this telling of Bonhoeffer’s story.”   ·  Christian Century

“...a sustained reflection on the fate of German Protestantism, its role in facilitating the rise of the Nazi dictatorship, and the way in which that experience and Bonhoeffer’s theological revolution enabled the church to play a more engaged and emancipatory role in the East German state half a century after Bonhoeffer’s execution in Flossenbürg concentration camp. For classically educated German historians, and others, there is much food for thought here.”   ·  Australian Journal of Politics and History

“Moses has provided us a valuable service by introducing us again to a great Christian...[and] given us an eloquent account of one of the modern credible Christians who was willing to question traditional values and was willing to swim against the stream and thus became 'prophet for our times.'”  ·  Colloquium

“The strength and uniqueness of The Reluctant Revolutionary is that it combines a historical and theological analysis of Bonhoeffer’s life and work, eschewing both the standard biographical narrative and theological textual approaches.”  ·  International Bonhoeffer Society Newsletter

“…a masterly analysis…and thoughtful summation of a large corpus of secondary literature, which is excellently listed in the bibliography…The novelty rests in the claim made that Bonhoeffer’s crucial role lay in opposing the ideological underpinning of Hitler’s rule, as well combatting the German Church’s antisemitism. These endeavours, even if they were unsuccessful in the short run, were in the end to make Bonhoeffer a significant figure in world history…John Moses’ style of writing is most commendably clear. He explains the technical terms and Germanic vocabulary in easily-recognized English…Moses’ skillful portrayal of Bonhoeffer’s setting and struggles during these traumatic and tragic years will be a valuable component in any such reassessment.”  ·  John Conway, University of British Columbia

“This is a fascinating and vitally important book…What with the exciting ongoing publication this decade of Bonhoeffer’s complete works in English (16 vols.), this work of John Moses can be expected to draw in new players and to further inform and stimulate discussion of Bonhoeffer and his significance on a complex of issues crucial also in the English speaking world.”   ·  Maurice Schild


Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a uniquely reluctant and distinctly German Lutheran revolutionary. In this volume, the author, an Anglican priest and historian, argues that Bonhoeffer’s powerful critique of Germany’s moral derailment needs to be understood as the expression of a devout Lutheran Protestant. Bonhoeffer gradually recognized the ways in which the intellectual and religious traditions of his own class - the Bildungsbürgertum - were enabling Nazi evil. In response, he offered a religiously inspired call to political opposition and Christian witness—which cost him his life. The author investigates Bonhoeffer’s stance in terms of his confrontation with the legacy of Hegelianism and Neo-Rankeanism, and by highlighting Bonhoeffer’s intellectual and spiritual journey, shows how his endeavor to politicially reeducate the German people must be examined in theological terms.

John A. Moses taught at the University of Queensland from 1965 to 1994. Since 2007 he has been professorial associate of St. Mark’s National Theological Institute in Canberra. His publications include The Politics of Illusion: The Fischer Controversy in German Historiography (1975), German Trade Unions From Bismarck to Hitler (1982), Trade Union Theory from Marx to Walesa (1990), and edited with Christopher Puglsey, The German Empire and Britain’s Pacific Dominions 1871–1919 (2000).

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present
Area: Central/Eastern EuropeGermany


Back to Top

Library Recommendation Form

Dear Librarian,

I would like to recommend The Reluctant Revolutionary Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Collision with Prusso-German History for the library. Please include it in your next purchasing review with my strong recommendation. The RRP is: $135.00

I recommend this title for the following reasons:

BENEFIT FOR THE LIBRARY: This book will be a valuable addition to the library's collection.

REFERENCE: I will refer to this book for my research/teaching work.

STUDENT REFERRAL: I will regularly refer my students to the book to assist their studies.

OWN AFFILIATION: I am an editor/contributor to this book or another book in the Series (where applicable) and/or on the Editorial Board of the Series, of which this volume is part.