The noted German theologian and preacher (190886) looks back over his experiences and involvement in his country's 20th-century upheavals. Author of many books dealing with faith and ethics, Thielicke (The Waiting Father, not reviewed, etc.) was the son of a puritanical mother and a highly imaginative, emotional father. Surviving the famine and chaos following Germany's defeat in WW I, he was drawn to theology because it addressed life's eternal questions. Thielicke's own faith only came into focus, however, after a brush with death following surgery. He pursued his doctoral studies under the famous Zen scholar Eugen Herrigel, then served as professor of theology at Heidelberg until his dismissal by the Nazis in 1940, after which he worked as a pastor in the Swabian countryside. Although Thielicke made his opposition to the regime clear, he managed to evade arrest, and thousands flocked to his sermons in Stuttgart, where he spoke compellingly of the ultimate questions of life, death, and faith amidst the Allied bombings. After the war, he served as rector at the University of TÅbingen and subsequently founded the faculty of theology at Hamburg. Ironically, his academic career ended during the student revolts of the 1960s, which he saw as employing the same tactics as the Nazis had used earlier; he devoted his final years to writing and lecturing. Thielicke's many anecdotes (some of them hilarious) deal with simple peasants, students, famous political figures such as Konrad Adenauer, and theologians Karl Barth, Romano Guardini, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This book, written in 1983, contains observations that are always thoughtful and incisive, whether Thielicke is speaking about German complacency with the Third Reich or giving his penetrating impressions of American life and religion. He emerges as a lovable man of great integrity. A humane testament of an eventful life, recounted with depth and humor.
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