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Reinhold Niebuhr: Theologian of Public Life (Making of Modern Theology) [Paperback]

By Reinhold Niebuhr (Author) & Larry L. Rasmussen (Editor)
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Item description for Reinhold Niebuhr: Theologian of Public Life (Making of Modern Theology) by Reinhold Niebuhr & Larry L. Rasmussen...

Reinhold Niebuhr, the most significant North American Theologian since the 18th century, has decisively influenced the shape of Christian thought and action in the United States for much of the 20th century. Niebuhr addressed social and political issues from the perspective of "Christian Realism." This was his blend of liberalism, shrewd social analysis, and elements within the Augustinian tradition. REINHOLD NIEBUHR: THEOLOGIAN OF PUBLIC LIFE is a collection of edited texts illustrating his thought on the following themes: Disorders of a technical civilization, Morality and power, Preachers and prophets, Augustine and Christian realism, Grace and sin, Justice and love, Nature and destiny, Theological ideas, Faith for a hazardous future, and Theological virtues. Larry Rasmussen's introductory essay and notes on the selected texts set Niebuhr in his historical context, chart the development of his thought and indicate the significance of his theology in the development of Christian theology as a whole.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Fortress Press
Pages   312
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.51" Height: 0.78"
Weight:   0.97 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 5, 1991
Publisher   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Series  Making Of Modern Theolgoy  
ISBN  0800634071  
ISBN13  9780800634070  

Availability  53 units.
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More About Reinhold Niebuhr & Larry L. Rasmussen

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! ELISABETH SIFTON, an editor and book publisher for forty years, is the author of The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War. She lives in New York City and in Princeton, New Jersey.

Reinhold Niebuhr was born in 1892 and died in 1971.

Reinhold Niebuhr has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Library of America (Hardcover)
  2. Library of Theological Ethics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Reinhold Niebuhr: Theologian of Public Life (Making of Modern Theology)?

Words of a prophet  Jun 19, 2004
This volume on the works of Reinhold Niebuhr is part of a series by Fortress Press entitled 'the Making of Modern Theology: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Texts'. Each of the volumes in the series focuses upon one particular theologian of note. These volumes are of use to students, seminarians, ministers and other readers interested in the development of theological ideas in the modern and postmodern world. Each volume is a reader of key texts from the theologian highlighted - the text entries are annotated a bit by the editors, and the editor of each volume provides an introduction setting the general stage for context and understanding.

Editor Larry Rasmussen describes Niebuhr as being a theologian of public life. According to Rasmussen, Niebuhr is second to none practical theological influence in twentieth century North America; Martin Luther King Jr. is perhaps the only better known preacher over the time, and shares much with Niebuhr in terms of addressing social concerns through the gospel and theological discipline. Niebuhr had a prophetic voice -- never shy at expressing his beliefs and opinions regardless of the lack of popularity they might have.

Niebuhr shared acclaim with his brother, H. Richard Niebuhr, and Paul Tillich as premier theologians of the mid-twentieth century. Niebuhr himself often dismissed the idea of himself as a theologian -- he did not work out a systematic framework of theology like many of his predecessors and contemporaries. While his many writings do show a deep, mature and consistent theology, his work was always more geared toward the public -- he avoided theological terminology (and particularly resisted the theologians' habit of inventing his own terminology) so that his work would be accessible to the general public, and evoke a response. Niebuhr would be more likely to describe himself as a Christian ethicist -- the intersection of ethics and theology in Niebuhr was profound and permeated his teaching, his writing, and his action in the world.

Niebuhr spent time as a pastor, writing much of this experience in the book 'Leaves from the Notebook of an Untamed Cynic'. Niebuhr's tendency toward truth-telling would get him into trouble at times; he wrote that he entered parish ministry reluctantly, and he left it reluctantly. After his tenure as a pastor, he became an academic for the remainder of his career, finding his community and calling both at Union Theological Seminary, one of the more liberal seminaries of the time interested in social justice issues. Niebuhr's career at Union was an unlikely one -- unlike most academics, he did not possess a doctorate degree, nor was he considered likely to produce much in terms of writing (a vast underestimation if ever there was one). Union Theological Seminary was a place of international reputation -- German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer spent time there, forming a significant relationship with Niebuhr.

Rasmussen's selection of writings comes from books of Niebuhr's own, chapters he wrote for others, journal articles, and sermons. He arranges these topically, including rather standard theological topics such as 'Grace and Sin', 'Nature and Destiny', 'Justice and Love', but also develops some publically-oriented topics such as 'Morality and Power', 'Theological Ideas, Political and Social Theory', and topics that deal with historical and eschatological issues.

Each volume in this series also has a selected bibliography section -- this one for Niebuhr is divided into major single works by Niebuhr (primary sources), collections of sermons and shorter works by Niebuhr, and secondary sources about Niebuhr's religious thought. The book is well indexed, with indexes for subjects and names, as well as organisations and publications. This is a very good book for scholarship. It is entirely appropriate for Larry Rasmussen to be the editor for this volume, given his position at professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York is the Rienhold Niebuhr chair.


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