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Between the Swastika and the Sickle: The Life, Disappearance, and Execution of Ernst Lohmeyer

, 2019
ISBN: 9781467456616


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The life, theological contribution, and mysterious disappearance of one of the more important New Testament scholars in the twentieth century 

On February 15, 1946, the Soviet NKVD raided the home of Ernst Lohmeyer just hours before his inauguration as the president of Greifswald University in Germany. Lohmeyer had survived active duty in both World War I and World War II. A New Testament scholar and theologian, he resisted the rise of Nazi fascism as a member of the Confessing Church. But the Soviet occupation of Germany was even more repressive than Nazi domination. With the exception of correspondence from prison, Lohmeyer was never heard from again. 

In Between the Swastika and the Sickle, James R. Edwards recounts the story of Lohmeyer’s life, his theological achievements, his courageous resistance to the forces of political repression, and the events surrounding his death. But the book also includes Edwards’s intrepid search for the legacy of this brilliant and courageous scholar, whose story is made even more compelling by the tumultuous interplay of faith and politics in twenty-first-century America.

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Susannah Heschel
— author of The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany
“James Edwards has composed an important and wonderfully written biography of a pivotal figure in the study of the New Testament, Ernst Lohmeyer. Even more: this book gives us a fascinating depiction of German theological scholarship before, during, and after the Nazi years.”

John P. Burgess
— author of The East German Church and the End of Communism and Holy Rus’: The Rebirth of Orthodoxy in the New Russia.
“This beautifully written book is more than a biography. It is, above all, an exercise in remembering and honoring the Christian struggle to live with truth and integrity under conditions of political repression. Edwards not only recovers Ernst Lohmeyer’s story but also draws us compellingly into his own life journey as a Christian scholar and pastor. Skillfully weaving together archival research, interviews, and personal experiences on ‘the other side,’ Edwards offers us a theological thriller that will interest scholars and, indeed, all who wish to learn from the Christian legacy of twentieth-century Germany.”

Product Details

  • Title : Between the Swastika and the Sickle: The Life, Disappearance, and Execution of Ernst Lohmeyer
  • Author: Edwards, James R.
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • ISBN: 9781467456616

James R. Edwards is professor of religion at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. He has written numerous articles in scholarly and popular journals and is a contributing editor of Christianity Today. His other books include The Layman’s Overview of the Bible, The Divine Intruder: When God Breaks into Your Life, and the volume on Mark in the Pillar New Testament Commentary Series.


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  1. Richard



    A beautiful book about a master Theologian. This work gives many insights into the life of Ernst Lohmeyer. The author spends a great time getting to know Lohmeyer. "If you ask an American kid who his or her heroes are, you will probably hear names from the fields of entertainment and sports. Had you asked a young person of Lohmeyer’s day—at least from his social stratum—you would have heard names from science, the arts, and literature. Lohmeyer was introduced to the cultured worlds of antiquity, classical languages, music, and the humanistic tradition early in life." (great thought about childhood and upbringing) Lohmeyer was a great type of scholar, the one we need back in the Church again. Many Christian scholars have great insight but miss the burning heart to make a real difference in the world. Edwards gives also great insights and theological views from Lohmeyer. This made the book more interesting. When you want to know more about the history during the WO2 and after that, this book will give you a better understanding. Many innocent Germans suffered greatly in this period. Like Loymeher which suffered a great deal, still, he kept the faith to the end, like a real hero. This book also made me more conscious about the terrible acts of communism, which can be even of greater horror than those of the nazis. As God designed humans he also knows which governmental type works best.


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