Mothering the Fatherland: A Protestant Sisterhood Repents for the Holocaust

Hardcover | May 19, 2014

byGeorge Faithful

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George Faithful poses a crucial question: How should one respond, personally or theologically, to genocide committed on one's behalf? After the Allied bombing of Darmstadt, Germany in 1944, some young Lutheran women perceived their city's destruction as an expression of God's wrath - apunishment for Hitler's murder of six million Jews, purportedly on behalf of the German people. Faithful tells the story of a number of these young women, who formed the Ecumenical Sisterhood of Mary in 1947 in order to embrace lives of radical repentance for the sins of the German people (Volk) against God and against the Jews. Under Mother Basilea Schlink, the sisters embraced an ideology ofcollective national guilt. According to Schlink, a handful of true Christians were called to lead their nation in repentance, interceding and making spiritual sacrifices as priests on its behalf and saving it from looming destruction. Schlink explained that these ideas were rooted in her reading ofthe Hebrew Bible; in fact, Faithful reveals, they also bore the influence of German nationalism. Schlink's vision resulted in penitential practices that dominated the life of her community. While the women of the sisterhood were subject to each other, they elevated themselves and their spiritual authority above that of any male leaders. They offered female and gender-neutral paradigms of self-sacrifice as normative for all Christians. Mothering the Fatherland shows how the sistersoverturned German Protestant norms for gender roles, communal life, and nationalism in their pursuit of redemption.

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From the Publisher

George Faithful poses a crucial question: How should one respond, personally or theologically, to genocide committed on one's behalf? After the Allied bombing of Darmstadt, Germany in 1944, some young Lutheran women perceived their city's destruction as an expression of God's wrath - apunishment for Hitler's murder of six million Jews,...

George Faithful is a Post-doctoral Teaching Fellow at Seton Hall University.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:May 19, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199363463

ISBN - 13:9780199363469

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Table of Contents

List of FiguresCaution to the ReaderAcknowledgementsFrequently Used German WordsIntroductionPART I: PROTESTANT GUILT1. Guilt in Klara Schlink's Thought, 1920-19472. Public Confessions of German National Guilt, 1945-19473. Mother Basilea Schlink's Theology of GuiltPART II: THEY, THE PEOPLES4. The German Volk5. Schlink's Pseudo-Judaic, Germanic Vision of NationhoodPART III: REPENTING FOR OTHERS6. Defining Repentance in Schlink's Theology7. Schlink and the Sisters' Repentance as a Priestly and Monastic Service8. The Place of Gender in Schlink and the Sisters' Repentance9. The Creation of Sacred Space in Schlink and the Sisters' RepentanceAfterwordAppendix 1: The Barmen DeclarationAppendix 2: The Stuttgart ConfessionAppendix 3: The Darmstadt StatementReferencesArchival and Unpublished Primary SourcesPublished Primary SourcesSecondary Sources