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About the Book

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 — punishment 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 of collective 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 of the 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 sisters overturned German Protestant norms for gender roles, communal life, and nationalism in their pursuit of redemption.

Table of Contents

PART I: PROTESTANT GUILT
Chapter 1: Guilt in Klara Schlink's Thought, 1920-1947
Chapter 2: Public Confessions of German National Guilt, 1945-1947
Chapter 3: Mother Basilea Schlink's Theology of Guilt


PART II: THEY, THE PEOPLES
Chapter 4: The Development of Volk
Chapter 5: Schlink's Pseudo-Judaic, Germanic Vision of Nationhood


PART III: REPENTING FOR OTHERS
Chapter 6: Defining Repentance in Schlink's Theology
Chapter 7: Schlink and the Sisters' Repentance as a Priestly and Monastic Service
Chapter 8: The Place of Gender in Schlink and the Sisters' Repentance
Chapter 9: The Creation of Sacred Space in Schlink and the Sisters' Repentance


AFTERWORD
Appendix 1: The Barmen Declaration
Appendix 2: The Stuttgart Confession
Appendix 3: The Darmstadt Statement

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

George Faithful, Ph.D.


George Faithful has learned as much from travel and from interacting with people first-hand as he has from books. Born in Anchorage, Alaska, he has lived in eight states and taught on three continents. He first encountered the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary as a Wake Forest University undergraduate studying abroad in Germany. He remembered the sisters fondly and did not fully appreciate their role in promoting awareness of the Holocaust in post-war Germany until undertaking his doctoral work in historical theology at Saint Louis University, which he completed in 2011.

He currently teaches interdisciplinary humanities in the Department of the Core at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. He enjoys collaborating with his wife, Enelia. They live with their daughter, Penelope, and their beagle-shepherd mix, Emma, just outside New York City.

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EARLY PRAISE FOR MOTHERING THE FATHERLAND

EARLY PRAISE FOR MOTHERING THE FATHERLAND

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