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Under the No and the Yes:
Navigating Christian Life with Bonhoeffer’s Christology, Ecclesiology, and Theological Anthropology

RIDLEY, IMOGEN (2023) Under the No and the Yes:
Navigating Christian Life with Bonhoeffer’s Christology, Ecclesiology, and Theological Anthropology.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 03 September 2024.


This thesis considers a series of apparent problems in Bonhoeffer’s depiction of Christian life, ranging from his description of Christian agency, to the visibility or invisibility of the church; from the nature and moral status of suffering, to the activity of prayer. It is my argument that the tensions in Bonhoeffer’s presentation become understandable when placed within his Christologically rooted ecclesiology and theological anthropology.

According to Bonhoeffer, Christian life begins in an encounter with Christ, which appears as a divine No and a divine Yes. In Christ’s No, the person’s sinful self is judged and killed. But, within the No, Christ’s Yes is simultaneously heard, releasing the person into new life in conformation with Christ. To be conformed with Christ is precisely to become free to be oneself in the world and enter Christ’s church community. The free person exists only in the church community, and the church community only in persons who have been encountered by Christ, with Christian freedom being constituted in responsibility for others. As Christ is free for the world, the Christian is made free for others. Encounter with Christ does not occur once and for all. Christian life is lived under the No and Yes, receiving the world, and all relations therein through a pattern of encounter and response to Christ’s Divine word(s).

It is into this pattern of life that I will place the various tensions apparent in Bonhoeffer’s corpus. My argument is that we can allow for variability in the freedom-for of Christian life, so long as it is unified by active discernment and acceptance of Christ’s No (judging where one errs) and Yes (being re-conformed to one’s personhood in Christ’s freedom-for). Active discernment could more fully be defined as a life lived in prayerful response, which is where this thesis will conclude.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:"Dietrich Bonhoeffer"; "Bonhoeffer"; "Christology"; "Theological Anthropology"; "Ecclesiology"; "Christian ethics"; "theology"; "Divine Mandates"; "Suffering"; "feminist theology"; "Yes and No"; "The Yes and the No"; "Bonhoeffer's Christology"; "Bonhoeffer's Ecclesiology"; "Bonhoeffer's Theological Anthropology"; "Confessing Church"; "Apocalypticism"; "Apocalyptic theology"; "Apocalyptic"; "2oth century theology"; "Bonhoeffer's Theology"; "Christian pacifism"; "Bonhoeffer's pacifism"; "German theology"; "conspiracy"; "Abwehr"; "Christian agency"; "non competitive divine human agency"; "obedience"; "faith"; "church"; "church community"; "person"; "personhood"; "freedom for"; "freedom-for"; "freedom"; "limit"; "boundary"; "Christian personhood"; "Christian freedom"; "encounter"; "prayer"; "response"; "discernment"; "Christian discernment"; "psalm"; "psalms"; "psalter"; "visible church"; "invisible church"; "visibility"; "divine no"; "divine yes"; "conformation"; "Christian conformation"; "conformed"; "free person"
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:03 Sep 2023 18:03

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