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Questioning Bonhoeffer on Temptation


This article engages critically and constructively with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s biblical study ‘Temptation’ (1938). His study does not always do justice to the text of the New Testament or the theodicean and hamartiological issues pertaining to temptation. And his position that biblically temptation is not the testing of strength, but rather the loss of all strength and defenceless deliverance into Satan’s hands, is hard to defend. However, Bonhoeffer’s idea of Christ-reality undergirds his suggestion that all persons can find in Christ participation, help, and grace in resisting temptation. Bonhoeffer’s most important insight, which requires some unpacking, is that ‘my temptation is nothing other than the temptation of Jesus Christ in me.’

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