F. Mancini, Debito e responsabilità nella teologia di Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Abstract

My contribution draws attention to the issue of debt in the theological discussion, in particular referring to the thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The first part gives a general introduction dedicated to the profile and thought of Bonhoeffer, focusing the attention on the issue of debt in a theological sense. The brief reference to the topic in biblical theology will allow us the access to the peculiarities of the handling of debt in twentieth-century theology, in the form of so-called “vicarious substitution”. The second and central part explains the issue of debt in Bonhoeffer’s masterpiece Ethics and shows the role of responsibility in Bonhoeffer’s thought: vicarious substitution allows Bonhoeffer to establish the responsibility both from a theological and anthropological point of view. Responsible is someone who acts in faithfulness to God and to the other man, loyalty that was primarily shown in the event of Christ. Beyond the theological and religious questions, the text shows the interest of the reflections on Bonhoeffer’s contemporary ethics. In addition, I point out how Bonhoeffer is able to propose, by rejecting the empiricist and rationalist tradition, a dynamic view of ethics and history. The form of debt is then a call to action, capable to be, at the same time, both a critical and a prophetical issue.