New York: Harper and Row, 1963. First American edition. Octavo, original half green cloth, original dust jacket. Dusty top-edge to nearly-fine book, jacket with only mild damp-stain, gentle wear to the spine ends. Very good indeed. Item #393
First English translation of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s first book, with a Foreword by Eberhard Bethge, one of Bonhoeffer's friends and his principal biographer.
The Communion of Saints was written by Bonhoeffer as a young theology student under the influence of Karl Barth and Reinhold Seeberg. Bethge says that "he was only twenty-one when he presented it, in 1927, as a dissertation to the Theological Faculty in Berlin." Bonhoeffer had all sorts of problems getting the book published and when it finally appeared in 1930, the book fell largely on deaf ears. His attempt at devising a "theological sociology" or a "sociological theology" of the community of believers in the Christian church received renewed attention after the success in translation of The Cost of Discipleship (1948) and Letters from Prison (1953).
Composed of several parts: I. Toward a Definition of of Social Philosophy and Sociology, II. The Christian Concept of the Person and the Concepts of Basic Social Relation, III. The Primal State and the Problem of Community, IV. Sin and the Broken Community, V. Sanctorum Communio. Back matter includes Notes, Index of Scripture References, Index of Names, Index of Subjects. With Bonhoeffer's brief original Preface, dated July 1930 and A Note on the Translation. Both acknowledge a debt to Reinhold Seeberg. Published as Sanctorum Communio in the UK in the same year. Both the American and British editions were based on the third German edition of 1960, restoring much of the original text which had been removed to please Seeberg.