About the Bonhoeffer Bibliography

This is the most comprehensive and current bibliography of works by and about Dietrich Bonhoeffer in English. Created in 2003, it is updated at least annually with the new listings that appear in the spring issue of the Newsletter of the International Bonhoeffer Society, English Language Section.  The bibliography contains two parts, Primary Sources and Secondary Literature.

Primary Sources

The Primary Sources Bibliography is organized in the following sections:

Collected Works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This lists each of the seventeen volumes of the German Dietrich Bonhoeffer Werke, which was completed in 1999. These are followed by their English translations in the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works English edition. Seven volumes are published as this bibliography goes online; volumes lacking publication dates are still in process. These are editions of Bonhoeffer’s complete works, in that they contain both his monographs (volumes 1-8) and his collected writings (volumes 9-16); volume 17 is the index volume. At the end of this first section is listed the previous German edition of Bonhoeffer’s collected writings, the six-volume Gesammelte Schriften, and the three volumes of selections translated from these. Both of these editions have been superseded by the new German critical editions and their English translations.

Books and Monographs
This section lists chronologically Bonhoeffer’s writings published as monographs, beginning with his two academic dissertations and concluding with the posthumously published Letters and Papers from Prison. This section provides information about the editions of Bonhoeffer in English prior to the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, in which edition most of these books are now available.

These books contain selections from writings by Bonhoeffer and have been compiled to serve a variety of purposes including academic and congregational study and personal meditation.

Writings by Bonhoeffer in English
Because this is an English-language bibliography, this section collects those materials written in English by Bonhoeffer himself – essays and addresses, sermons, seminar papers, and letters. These writings are arranged chronologically and cross-referenced to their publication in the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Werke (where they appear in English) and in the Gesammelte Schriften.

Occasional Pieces in English Translation
This section contains translations of sermons, addresses, seminar papers, occasional theological pieces and excerpts from monographs, some of which are now available in the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works and others have yet to appear in that edition.

This section first lists collections of Bonhoeffer’s prison poems in English translation, followed by an alphabetical listing of individual poems by various translators and in various editions.

Secondary Sources

The Secondary Literature section of the bibliography is an alphabetical listing by author or editor, or, where no author is identified, by title. It should be noted that a number of items in the Secondary Literature which are found in this bibliography are also found in English in the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Werke and, previously, in Bonhoeffer’s Gesammelte Schriften. Examples of such items are writings by Bishop George Bell. They will all eventually appear in the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works English Edition with appropriate editorial annotation. While they have not been systematically cross-referenced in this bibliography; a check of volumes 9-16 in the German Werke is relatively easy because the latter are organized by years, and indexed. In addition, the Index volume of the German edition, volume 17, contains a comprehensive index.

This bibliography builds on previous Bonhoeffer bibliographies, the one most recently published in book form being the Bonhoeffer Bibliography. Primary Sources and Secondary Literature in English by Wayne Whitson Floyd, Jr. and Clifford J. Green (Evanston: American Theological Library Association, 1992). That volume has been updated annually in the Newsletter of the International Bonhoeffer Society, English Language Section, and those annual updates have been incorporated here.

This online bibliography differs in several ways from the organization of the Bonhoeffer Bibliography. Primary Sources and Secondary Literature in English. For example, it contains some twenty-eight pages of specialized lists of Bonhoeffer materials in English which were necessary to help readers find their way around the often idiosyncratic or unsystematic character of earlier translations and anthologies. These helps are not reproduced in this bibliography, but they are mentioned here for those who may find them useful. They include:

  • Occasional pieces, such as sermons, articles, letters, and excerpts
  • Translations of poems, often listing renderings of a poem by several different translators
  • English materials from Bonhoeffer in the volumes of his Gesammelte Schriften
  • Table correlating individual writings in Bonhoeffer’s Gesammelte Schriften with their English translations in several anthologies
  • The titles of pieces by Bonhoeffer translated in collections of his writings: No Rusty Swords, The Way to Freedom, True Patriotism, Meditating on the Word, and A Testament to Freedom

The Bonhoeffer Collection at Union Theological Seminary aims to have the most comprehensive collection in the world of Bonhoeffer sources in English. (While this bibliography is chiefly devoted to English language materials, the holdings of The Burke Library of course also contain Bonhoeffer’s writings in German—including microfiche of his manuscripts—and secondary literature in a number of languages.) Those works can be found through the library’s online catalogue CLIO. Not every item in this bibliography is found in The Burke Library. Only items to be found in the Burke Archives are annotated with a location description . Further, because this bibliography contains papers from the international congresses of the International Bonhoeffer Society, as well as from members of the Society in various lands, the bibliography contains a number of items in languages other than English.

Materials in this bibliography up to 1996 were incorporated into the International Bibliography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer edited by Ernst Feil assisted by Barbara E. Fink (Gütersloh: Chr. Kaiser/Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1998). The international bibliography is a multi-lingual compilation of secondary sources in European languages, in English, and in Japanese and Korean; it is arranged chronologically by year, and is indexed by subject (German and English), by author, and by persons named in titles.

Beginning in 2003 Gütersloher Verlagshaus plans to publish a Bonhoeffer Jahrbuch. This will include an annual bibliography update, as well as newly discovered primary sources, reports on research, and reviews.

This bibliography may be freely used and downloaded for research and teaching purposes. It remains the property of, and is copyrighted by, the International Bonhoeffer Society, English Language Section. Commercial use of any part of this bibliography is prohibited without a license issued by the Society’s President on the authority of its Board of Directors.

A number of people cooperated with the undersigned to create this 2003 bibliography: Laura Zelasnic, Elizabeth Russey, Cynthia Holt, Elizabeth Harding, Letitia Campbell, and Grace Lewis made significant contributions. Craig Slane of the Bonhoeffer Society also helped with bibliography updates. Claire McCurdy, former Archivist at The Burke Library, supervised the upgrading of the Bonhoeffer Collection and the creation of this bibliography. Special thanks are also extended to those Bonhoeffer Society members who have contributed to bibliographies in earlier years, especially John Godsey, James Burtness, Geffrey Kelly, Larry Rasmussen, and Wayne Whitson Floyd. Thanks are also due to the Lilly Endowment, Inc. and to Dr. Craig Dykstra, its Vice President for Religion Programs, for the grant that supported this work.

A work like this, the product of many hands and many years, is bound to have errors and omissions. The Burke Library welcomes corrections and additions to the bibliography, and also contributions of books, dissertations, articles, conference papers and other materials (including electronic files, video and audio cassettes) to keep the Bonhoeffer Collection current and comprehensive.

Clifford Green
Easter 2003