Browsing by Author "Radler, Karola S."
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- ItemDecision in the thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Carl Schmitt : a comparative study(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2019-12) Radler, Karola S.; Vosloo, Robert; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Systematical Theology and Ecclesiology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis investigates the significance of “decision” within Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s concept of the church and Carl Schmitt’s theory of the state, and their underlying structural differences. Bonhoeffer and Schmitt perceived, respectively, a constitutional and confessional crisis of significance that demanded an urgent decision. In the context of the approach of the National Socialist attempt to synchronize the Protestant Church to the National Socialist state in Germany during the early 20th century, Bonhoeffer insisted on God’s decision in Christ. Schmitt, in turn, insisted on Dezision, a specific jurisprudential form with regard to jurisdiction and content that is revealed by the exception. Bonhoeffer’s and Schmitt’s positions on “decision” are compared primarily through a study of their earlier work. Bonhoeffer’s brother-in-law and friend Gerhard Leibholz had a detailed knowledge of Fascism and Schmitt’s theories. This most likely provided Bonhoeffer with early insights into jurisprudential thought and the theory of state. Bonhoeffer’s and Schmitt’s respective concepts of the church and of the state built on the contemporary jurisprudential discourse on the juristic person and the natural person. Bonhoeffer drew upon codified juristic institutional models, modified them, and added a specific Christological center. Schmitt developed a method that used analogies for transferring the systematic structure of theological concepts to the modern theory of state. This thesis analyses their concept of “decision” using the indicators of choices between alternatives, the urgency of resolving the problem, the intended goal, and the active manifestation of their positions. For Schmitt, a constitutional compromise regarding political leadership had produced a choice between representation and identity which he attempted to solve with abstractions that separated metaphysical content from objective normative evaluation, a theory of linear history with successive ideas and elites, and an elevation of the significance of the self over content and subject in structural analogy to theological dogma and the representation of the idea of Christ through personality. Bonhoeffer discovered a modern version of the Docetic heresy at the root of the paradigm associated with Schmitt’s Dezision which abstracted idea from appearance. With God’s revelation in Christ at the center of the church, history, and human life, he challenged the structural elements of Schmitt’s Dezision. Bonhoeffer, one can argue, redirected Schmitt’s unity of identity to wholeness through reconciliation, Schmitt’s political idea to God’s revelation, his synchronization (gleich-schalten) to conformation (gleich-gestalten), his representation of political ideas to Trinitarian identity, his idea “becoming human” (Mensch werden) in the appearance of personality to person “having become human” (Mensch geworden) in the once-ness of Christ.
- ItemThe Leibholz-Schmitt connection’s formative influence on Bonhoeffer’s 1932–33 entry into public theology(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2018) Radler, Karola S.Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s brother-in-law Gerhard Leibholz’s insight into the Fascist theory of the state’s messianic leadership and myth of creating communal life became a major source of information for Bonhoeffer. Leibholz had gained this knowledge in close jurisprudential cooperation with Carl Schmitt as is evidenced by Leibholz’s 1929 habilitation thesis which at the same time intersected with Bonhoeffer’s academic work. Their original political leanings towards authoritarianism, Volk, and Vitalism were revised by Bonhoeffer and Leibholz in November 1932 through stepping out into a coordinated public opposition to the approaching political changes. But both only recognized the populist xenophobic destructiveness of such a life, hidden beneath the myth of unity, once Schmitt turned to National Socialism in early 1933. Bonhoeffer’s theology, built on the Leibholz-Schmitt discourse, remains a call for vigilance against the abuse of power, populism, and xenophobia, and continues to call for seeking Godrevealed life.
- ItemThe tension between "risk" and "guilt" in the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer's exploration of responsible life(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2020) Radler, Karola S.This article discusses the two definitions for a responsible life and action that the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer provides in his book Ethics, which suggest that accepting Schuld - taking on guilt, debt, or an obligation - seems to override the risk involved in responsibility. A comparison of Stellvertretung, Schuldübernahme, and Zurechnung of the German codified civil law and their dogmatic intricacies shows that Bonhoeffer adopted jurisprudential thought into his theology of acting responsibly through taking on Schuld in accordance with Jesus Christ, the incarnated God who once existed in human reality and acted on the cross as Stellvertreter for humanity. Embracing elements of the sub-constitutional German civil law tradition of the bourgeois liberal-democratic movement of the 19th century served Bonhoeffer to emphasize, as part of his resistance to a dehumanizing totalitarian political system, an independent private space of freedom that is removed from the public sphere.