Dietrich Bonhoeffer: ideology, praxis and his influence on the theology of liberation

Keith Andrew Wiedersheim

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This article traces Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s transition from orthodoxy to orthopraxy. As his life and thought moved ever deeper into resisting Nazism, Bonhoeffer was eventually executed in 1945 in punishment for aiding plots to assasinate Hitler. I argue that the path that led to his praxis of resistance to Nazi oppression is significantly different from orthopraxy as a 'first act' in the Theology of Liberation which arose later in Latin America. Although Bonhoeffer’s work has influenced the Theology of Liberation, I show that his orthopraxy is based on a liberative Christology which, unlike the liberative Christology of the Theology of Liberation, steers as far as possible from political ideology. I claim that, to interpret Bonhoeffer, one must tackle his ideological deconstruction of religion and politics, Church and State. What we discover is a liberation theology based on imitatio Christi.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalPolitical Theology
VolumeLatest articles
Early online date17 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 May 2021


  • Bonhoeffer
  • Liberation theology
  • Ideology
  • Utopia
  • Orthopraxy


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