Dorothee Sölle

Dorothee Steffensky-Sölle (born Nipperdey; September 30, 1929 – April 27, 2003) was a German liberation theologian and writer who coined the term Christofascism.[1][2][3] She was born in Cologne and died at a congress in Göppingen.


Sölle studied theology, philosophy and literature at the University of Cologne, earning a doctorate with a thesis on the connections between theology and poetry. She taught briefly in Aachen before returning to Cologne as a university lecturer. She became active in politics, speaking out against the Vietnam War, the arms race of the Cold War and injustices in the developing world. Notably, from 1968 to 1972 she organized Cologne's Politisches Nachtgebet (political night-prayers). Between 1975 and 1987, she spent six months a year at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she was a professor of systematic theology. Although she never held a professorship in Germany, she received an honorary professorship from the University of Hamburg in 1994. [4]

She wrote a large number of books, including Theology for Skeptics: Reflections on God, The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance (2001) and her autobiography Against the Wind: Memoir of a Radical Christian (1999). In Beyond Mere Obedience: Reflections on a Christian Ethic for the Future she coined the term "Christofascist" to describe fundamentalists. Perhaps her best-known work in English was "Suffering," which offers a critique of "Christian masochism" and "theological sadism." Solle's critique is against the assumption that God is all-powerful and the cause of suffering; humans thus suffer for some greater purpose. Instead, God suffers and is powerless alongside us. Humans are to struggle together against oppression, sexism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of authoritarianism.[5]

Sölle was married twice and had four children. First, in 1954 she married the artist Dietrich Sölle, whom she divorced in 1964. In 1969, she married former Benedictine monk Fullbert Steffensky, with whom she organized the Politisches Nachtgebet.


Her publications include:

  • Sölle, Dorothee (1967) Christ the Representative: An Essay in Theology After the 'Death of God', London, SCM Press
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1970) Beyond Mere Obedience: Reflections on a Christian Ethic for the Future, Minneapolis, Augsburg
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1974) Political Theology, Philadelphia, Fortress Press ISBN 0800610652
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1975) Suffering, Philadelphia, Fortress Press, ISBN 0800604199
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1978) Death by Bread Alone: Texts and Reflections on Religious Experience, Philadelphia, Fortress Press, ISBN 0800605144
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1981) Choosing Life, Philadelphia, Fortress Press ISBN 0800606671
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1983 ) Of war and Love, Maryknoll, N.Y., Orbis Books, ISBN 0883443503
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1983) The Arms Race Kills Even Without War, Philadelphia, Fortress Press, ISBN 0800617010
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1984) The Strength of the Weak: Toward a Christian Feminist Identity, Philadelphia, Westminster Press, ISBN 0664246230
  • Sölle, Dorothee and Cloyes, Shirley A. (1984) To Work and to Love: A Theology of Creation, Philadelphia, Fortress Press ISBN 0800617827
  • Beyers Naudé, C.F. and Sölle, Dorothee (1986) Hope for Faith: A Conversation Geneva, WCC Publications ISBN 2825408603
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1990) The Window of Vulnerability: A Political Spirituality, Minneapolis, Fortress Press, ISBN 0800624327
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1990) Thinking About God: An Introduction to Theology, London, SCM Press ISBN 0334024765
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1993) On Earth as in Heaven: A Liberation Spirituality of Sharing, Louisville, Ky., Westminster/John Knox Press, ISBN 0664254942
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1993) Stations of the Cross: A Latin American Pilgrimage, Minneapolis, Fortress Press ISBN 0800626885
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1995) Theology for Skeptics: Reflections on God, Minneapolis, Fortress Press, ISBN 0800627881
  • Sölle, Dorothee (1999) Against the Wind: Memoir of a Radical Christian, Minneapolis, Fortress Press, ISBN 0800630793
  • Sölle, Dorothee (2001) The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance, Minneapolis, Fortress Press, ISBN 0800632664

Add to Dorothee Soelle Publicatons list: The Mystery of Death (2007) Transl. Nancy Lukens-Rumscheidt and Martin Lukens-Rumscheidt. Minneapolis, Fortress Press.


  1. ^ Dorothee Sölle (1970). Beyond Mere Obedience: Reflections on a Christian Ethic for the Future. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House. 
  2. ^ "Confessing Christ in a Post-Christendom Context.". The Ecumenical Review. July 1, 2000. Retrieved 2007-12-23. "... shall we say this, represent this, live this, without seeming to endorse the kind of christomonism (Dorothee Solle called it "Christofascism"! ..." 
  3. ^ Pinnock, Sarah K. (2003). The Theology of Dorothee Soelle. Trinity Press International. ISBN 1563384043. "... of establishing a dubious moral superiority to justify organized violence on a massive scale, a perversion of Christianity she called Christofascism. ..." 
  4. ^ Mary Grey (2005). "Diversity, Harmony and in the End, Justice: Remembering Dorothee Soelle". Feminist Theology (SAGE Publications) 13 (3): 343–357. doi:10.1177/0966735005054916. 
  5. ^ Pinnock Sarah K., editor (2003) The theology of Dorothee Soelle, Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, ISBN 1563384043

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  • Dorothee Günther — (* 8. Oktober 1896 in Gelsenkirchen; † 18. September 1975 in Köln), deutsche Gymnastik und Tanz Pädagogin sowie Fachautorin, gründete gemeinsam mit Carl Orff die Günther Schule München. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Dorothee Günthers Rolle als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Sölle — I Sölle,   Singular Soll das, s, Geomorphologie: kleine, oft fast kreisrunde, meist gehäuft auftretende, trichterartige Hohlformen (5 20 m Durchmesser) in ehemaligen Vereisungsgebieten; entstanden durch Abschmelzen von Toteisblöcken in den… …   Universal-Lexikon

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