Christian Responses: Maurice Blondel and Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Jens Zimmermann

in Humanism and Religion

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199697755
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738159 | DOI:
Christian Responses: Maurice Blondel and Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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This chapter presents two more explicitly Christian attempts at healing the breach between being and human consciousness that arose with the demise of incarnational theology in Western thought: the incarnational philosophy of Maurice Blondel based on his phenomenology of human action, and the Christian humanism of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, based on his retrieval of classical orthodox Christology. Blondel's philosophical analysis demonstrates the inherent tendency of human agency towards community that points to an ultimate divine source for human nature and creational dynamics in which all human beings participate. Bonhoeffer's Christological humanism similarly posits the unity of reason and faith, but focuses more on Christ as the inaugurator of a new humanity in which every believer already participates, of which the church is a foretaste, and the eschatological reality of which determines the church's relation to the world (described by Bonhoeffer as ultimate-penultimate relation). Bonhoeffer's humanism is paradigmatic for the argument advanced in this book because he proclaims the intrinsic unity of humanity in Christ and Christianity as ‘being for others’ and thus demonstrates that, contrary to common opinion, depth of religious doctrine is not a hindrance to a commitment for the common good of secular society.

Keywords: hermeneutics; humanism; Christology; reason; philosophy; agency; community; Eucharist; solidarity; sociality

Chapter.  20874 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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