‘Bonhoeffer the Assassin’ explored at Young Center

Mark Nation

ELIZABETHTOWN, PA (01/17/2015)(readMedia)– How does the significance of a person’s life and work change when new information challenges long-held views about the person? Dietrich Bonhoeffer is often remembered for his association with a plot to kill Adolph Hitler, due to the account of his biographer and friend, Eberhard Bethge.

Mark Thiessen Nation, professor of theology at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, will challenge that account in his lecture, “Eberhard Bethge and the Myth of Bonhoeffer the Assassin: Recovering a Consistent Christ-Centered Ethic in a World Full of Nazis,” at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 29, at the Bucher Meetinghouse, of Elizabethtown College’s Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. Nation will argue that from 1932 to 1945 Bonhoeffer lived and worked consistently with his belief in the love of neighbors and enemies as articulated in his famous book, Discipleship. He also will explore the possibility that Bonhoeffer was executed for saving the lives of Jews and being a conscientious objector, rather than for being a co-conspirator in an assassination plot, as Bethge maintained.

Nation earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, a master’s degree in peace studies from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, a master’s in divinity degree from Christian Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary.

He is coauthor of Bonhoeffer the Assassin?: Challenging the Myth, Recovering His Call to Peacemaking and author of John Howard Yoder: Mennonite Patience, Evangelical Witness, Catholic Convictions. Nation also writes a blog, Anabaptist Nation, and has published essays in The Mennonite, Constantine Revisited, Perspectives in Religious Ethics, The Conrad Grebel Review, Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics, Mennonitischen Lexikons, The Mennonite Quarterly Review and Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology.

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