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Sunday, 15 September 2019

Dr. Franz Hildebrandt, friend and inspiration to Dietrich Bonhoeffer


                                                          Pastor Franz Hildebrandt  (1909-1985)

I am currently reading this inspirational book, which has been lent to me by Rev. Hildebrandt's daughter.  Hildebrandt held so steadfastly to his principles of truth and morality that he was prepared to go to prison for them, for example the principle that Christ Jesus reigned in Nazi Germany, more so than Adolf Hitler..His Ph.D. dissertation inspired Bonhoeffer's understanding of Christ's presence, He was a pastor and hospital chaplain in Edinburgh, Scotland from 1968 to 1985, and he should be an inspiration to all of us during the current troubled pre-Brexit times.

       I referred to both Hildebrandt and Bonhoeffer during a short ministry to South Edinburgh Quakers on Sunday 15th October 2019, and this seemed to in part inspire four further ministries during the same hour of joint spirituality.


                                                       Dietrich Bonhoeffer  (1906-1945)

                                   AMAZON BOOKS BY FRANZ HILDEBRANDT


From Wikipedia:

He was ordained as a pastor in Berlin on June 18, 1933. Since his mother was of Jewish descent, he was affected by the introduction of the so-called Aryan Paragraph in some of the Protestant Churches in Germany after the Nazis came to power in 1933. Hildebrandt resigned from his post as a sign of protest against this church measure and left Germany to join his friend, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was pastor to the German congregation in London at the time.
He returned to Germany after three months, having been asked by Pastor Martin Niemöller to help him build up the Pfarrernotbund, an organisation set up to help pastors affected by the infamous Arierparagraph. Shortly after Niemöller's arrest and subsequent detention until the end of World War II, Hildebrandt was himself arrested. Friends managed to procure his release, and he left once again for England, now in permanent exile.

From Gracewing:

Franz Hildebrandt’s early ministry began and developed under the shadow of the swastika in Hitler’s Germany.  His close, deep friendship and pastoral colleagueship with Dietrich Bonhoeffer in fighting that evil power marked them both as true witnesses for Jesus Christ.
His subsequent exile to England (1937) - his mother was Jewish - his work as a pastor to refugees, as  Methodist minister, as a professor of theology in the USA and finally as assistant pastor in the Church of Scotland reveal him as a man who was fearless for the Gospel and who was also a loving, caring friend practising the faith both in words and life

Click also on: Dietrich Bonhoffer Portal.

From Bonhofferblog:

At the beginning of the Nazi era, Bonhoeffer and Hildebrandt planned actions and strategied against the “German Christians” (Deutsche Christen or DC) together, an originally rather large group of churches influenced strongly by the Nazi administration (NS-DAP).
The DC wanted to do away with the Old Testament and introduce the “Aryan Clauses,” which meant a ban on work for Jews.  The ban was also instituted in the church as well, which deterred some of the initial DC-followers, so that this group became somewhat smaller.
Franz Hildebrandt was a so-called “half-Jew.”  His Jewish mother, with whom he lived, also lived in Berlin-Grunewald.  After he was imprisoned for his activities in Martin Niemoller’s church in Dahlem, he was able to emigrate to England together with his mother, helped by the Bonhoeffer family.

(Renate Bethge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Brief Life, 47)


                             by Michael De Jonge

This paper examines Bonhoeffer’s understanding of Christ’s presence against the background of his friend Franz Hildebrandt’s dissertation, EST. Das lutherische Prinzip. Hildebrandt’s dissertation responds, in part, to Karl Barth, who argues that the Lutheran understanding of Christ’s presence compromises the divine character of revelation and prepares the way for nineteenth-century theology’s confusion of God with creation. In contrast to Hildebrandt’s defense of Christ’s presence, which relies on the logic of idealism that Barth rejects, Bonhoeffer articulates Christ’s presence with reference to what he understands as the core of the Lutheran Christological tradition: its focus on Christ’s person. By treating Christ’s presence through attention to the logic of person, Bonhoeffer purifies the Lutheran Christological tradition of its speculative tendencies, offering an account of Christ’s presence for a post-Barthian theological context.


  • Franz Hildebrandt, Est: Das Lutherische Prinzip. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1931.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer & Franz Hildebrandt, Glaubst du, so hast du: Versuch eines Lutherischen Katechismus (1932). Later published in: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Gesammelte Schriften, Volume 3, Munich: Kaiser, 1966, pp. 248–257.
  • [anonymous] Martin Niemöller und sein Bekenntnis. Zollikon: Verlag der Evangelischen Buchhandlung, 1938; English translation: Pastor Niemoller and his Creed. London 1939.
  • Franz Hildebrandt, Theologie für Refugees: Ein Kapitel Paul Gerhardt. Issued by the Church of England Committee for "Non-Aryan" Christians. London: The Finsbury Press, 1940.
  • Franz Hildebrandt (ed.), 'And other Pastors of thy Flock': A German tribute to the Bishop of Chichester, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1942.
  • Franz Hildebrandt, Melanchthon: Alien or Ally? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
  • Franz Hildebrandt, From Luther to Wesley. London: Lutterworth Press, 1951.
  • Franz Hildebrandt, Christianity according to the Wesleys: the Harris Franklin Rall lectures, 1954, delivered at Garrett Biblical Institute, Evanston, Illinois. London: Epworth Press 1956; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996.
  • Franz Hildebrandt (ed.), Wesley Hymnbook. Kansas City 1963.
  • Franz Hildebrandt, I offered Christ: a Protestant study of the Mass. London: Epworth Press, 1967.
  • Franz Hildebrandt and Oliver A. Beckerlegge (eds.), A Collection of Hymns for the use of the People called Methodists. (The Works of John Wesley, vol. 7), Oxford: Clarendon Press 1983; Nashville: Abingdon Press 1991.


  • Dr. Franz Hildebrandt and Methodist hymns conducted by A.G. Dreisbach (with Denville Methodist Episcopal Church Choir). English Sound Recording: Music: Hymns: LP recording: 33​13 rpm ; 12 in., Madison, New Jersey 1959.


Monday, 9 September 2019



                      See  The Leonard-Forster Research on Galtonian Eugenics                                                                                     

                      and Eugenics, Human Genetics, and Human Failings (1992)

                                                    by Pauline Mazumdar



                                                                         Sir Francis Galton


                                                                        Karl Pearson 


                                                                     Sir Ronald Fisher


                                                                    Major Greenwood


                                                                   Wilhelm Weinberg


                                                                         Corrado Gini


                                                                      Bruno de Finetti


                                                                     Charles Spearman


                                                                        David Finney


Sunday, 8 September 2019



Here are my recent blog posts, most of which were researched with my colleague Scott Forster:

(11) Pre-Eminent Statisticians in the Eugenics Movement

(10) Sir Ronald Fisher, Highly Negative Eugenicist

(9) Professor David Finney, FRS, FRSE, Eugenicist

(8) On the great statistician and economist Corrado Gini and De Finetti-Style Coherence

(7) Eugenics and the Amoralization of Economics

(6) Sir Francis Galton's Highly Inflammatory 1904 Lecture

(5) The Leonard-Forster Written Submission to the Commission of Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL

(4) My verbal presentation to the Commission of Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL


And here are some old blog posts, which were patched together in much more amateur fashion and should be read with circumspection::

(3) Eugenics of the Past, Present, and Future

(2) On the Dark History of Eugenics and MKUltra

(1) William Sargant (1907-1988) Evil Pioneer of Modern Psychiatry

(0) Material on Sir Francis Galton (incomplete)


Saturday, 7 September 2019



             The Elimination of Mental Defect (Eugenics Reviews, 1924-25)

      The great statistician and geneticist Sir Ronald Fisher was a positive eugenicist when he helped found the Cambridge Undergraduate Eugenics Society in 1911, Several of his contemporaries at Cambridge advocated Nietzschian ideas on the development of a superhuman race, the  Ubermensch, However, Fisher was a negative eugenicist by 1924. In the Elimination of Mental Defect, he used some very dodgy, subjective statistics which purported to justify the immense and early benefits of the segregation and sterilization of the feebleminded.

       For a detailed account of Fisher's contributions to Eugenics, and their interaction with Fisher's pioneering but also suspect contributions at Rothampstead Agricultural Research Station to the Statistics of Crop Breeding, see Chapter 3 of Pauline Mazumdar's splendid book Eugenics, Human Genetics and Human Failings (1992),

 According to Rodrigo Cruz's 1980   Ph.D. Dissertartion
At the roots of Fisher's intellectual motivations, such as the development of population statistics and genetics, was his concern with the phenomenon he termed ‘differential fertility’. To him, the high reproductive rates of genetically unfit humans for life in society were the main cause of the problems that humankind faced at that time - and would also be the reason for the decline of civilizations throughout history. The fittest needed higher rates of reproduction, and to Fisher, reversing these indexes was vital to the maintenance of civilization.

FISHER WAS STILL A EUGENICIST IN 1952. In his response to UNESCO in THE RACE CONCEPT he expresses the opinion that men were not created biologically equal

See also the references in Scott's three helpful comments (below)