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CHTH416 The Theology of Bonhoeffer

A close reading of selected texts from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's corpus concerning his account of 'what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us today'.

This paper will involve a close reading and analysis of sections from Bonhoeffer's most important writings, including Christ in the Center, Discipleship, Ethics and Letters and Papers from Prison. Study will be undertaken with a view to developing a nuanced understanding of his Christology and of the relationship between Christology and Christian ethics.

Paper title The Theology of Bonhoeffer
Paper code CHTH416
Subject Christian Thought and History
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,206.91
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Limited to
BTheol(Hons), BA(Hons), PGDipTheol, PGDipArts, PGCertChap, PGDipChap and MChap.
May not be credited together with CHTH430 or CHTX430 passed in 2010, 2012 or 2014.
Any student can study Theology, whether they are of the Christian faith, another faith or of no religious faith at all. Theology is an examination of the scriptures, history, content and relevance of the Christian faith, but it presupposes or requires no Christian commitment from students. All it requires is an inquiring mind and an interest in those skills that can be gained through the study of any subject in the Humanities.

Revd Associate Professor Christopher Holmes - email:

Teaching staff
Revd Associate Professor Christopher Holmes
Paper Structure
  • Module 1: Christology
  • Module 2: Ethics
  • Module 3: Christian Community and Ministry
  • Module 4: Sermon on the Mount and Discipleship
  • Module 5: Preaching (Homiletics)
  • Module 6: Theological Education
  • Module 7: Prison Letters
Assessment: 3 essays
Teaching Arrangements

Seven 2-hour videoconferences throughout the semester.


No textbook is required.

Course outline

View the course outline

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this paper, you should be able to:
  • Describe the life, key texts, and central themes of the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Articulate the theological distinctive present in the work of Bonhoeffer against the backdrop of the challenges of his time and place
  • Learn to better read theological texts and to express theological concepts both orally and in writing
  • Reflect upon the importance of Christian doctrine for the practical and ethical shape of life
  • Bring a systematic understanding of Christian teaching to bear on contentious ethical issues

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system