Since the founding of the International Bonhoeffer Society in 1971, and the English Language Section in 1973, the Society has pioneered research and scholarship on the life, historical context, and writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Working in close collaboration with Bonhoeffer’s best friend Eberhard Bethge, niece Renate Bethge, and scholars in Germany, the Society laid the foundation for the study of Bonhoeffer’s life and work in the English-speaking world. 

Over the years, the IBS-ELS established an American Academy of Religion Bonhoeffer unit (Bonhoeffer: Theology and Social Analysis), published a newsletter and book reviews, co-sponsored biennial lectures in public ethics, sponsored scholar exchanges to Germany, established an archive at Union Theological Seminary, and participated in and often helped plan international Bonhoeffer congresses, attracting participants from around the world. A primary focus of the first forty years has been close historical and textual analysis, culminating in the seventeen-volume translation and critical edition project, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works English Edition (DBWE), published by Fortress Press. 


The English Language Section is dedicated to advancing the theology and legacy of German pastor-theologian and Nazi resister, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in the academy, church, and world, and has been on the forefront of this work for the last fifty years.

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