Ecclesial Priestly Mediation in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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This article considers priestly mediation in the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Little material exists in Bonhoeffer’s corpus that directly addresses the issue of priesthood. However, this article argues that the primary way in which Bonhoeffer construed priestliness is in relation to certain motifs associated with mediation focused on his theological approach to the church. There is a symbiotic twofold relationship in this. First, the article considers what one might think of as Bonhoeffer’s account of how the priestliness of the church is felt internally: Christ establishes a mode of sociality in the church which arises from mediation not only between God and humanity, but between human beings and other human beings; this is part of Christ’s salvific work. Second, there is an account of the external relationality established between the church and the world according to Bonhoeffer, whereby in Christ, the church shares in the task of vicarious representative responsibility for the world. This description of the church’s nature and life bears the hallmarks of priestliness. It is argued that for Bonhoeffer priesthood was an identity held collectively in the church as the person of Christ in the world today, rather than being a quality possessed by individuals, whether for all Christians or merely some.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-91
Number of pages11
JournalTheology Today
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • church
  • sociality
  • priesthood
  • Bonhoeffer
  • mediation


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