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Two ways to freedom: christianity and democracy in the thought of István Bibó and Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Csepregi, András (2002) Two ways to freedom: christianity and democracy in the thought of István Bibó and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The broad scope of my study is the encounter of Christian theology and democratic social theory. Within this area I relate as well as compare to each other the thoughts of the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the political thinker István Bibó. The possibility of the comparison is supported by the fact that both thinkers elaborated a characteristic understanding and concept of freedom on whose basis they investigated a viable political order for post-war Europe. Their understanding of freedom was significantly different and this difference became manifest in the manner of the political reconstruction they proposed. In my analysis of some early writings and wartime considerations of the two thinkers, my main concern is to reveal the relationship of thelogical reasoning and political argumentation, both within the two thinkers' own thoughts and in their encounter. In the first chapter I create an elementary map of the development of the mutual influence of Christianity and democracy. Here I venture to understand democracy from a Christian point of view as tradition, vision, system and process. In the second chapter I show the relationship between Bibó's concept of freedom and his democratic theory. The third and the fourth chapters are devoted to an analysis of Bonhoeffer's theology that was determined by definite political values already at their roots. I conclude that despite several converging elements in their thinking and understanding of the challenge of the times, some fundamental differences remain in the political theories of Bibó and Bonhoeffer, which have their roots in their opposing understanding of freedom.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2002
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:26 Jun 2012 15:24

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