Reinhold Niebuhr and Contemporary Politics: God and Power

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When Barack Obama praised the writings of philosopher theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in the run up to the 2008 US Presidential Elections, he joined a long line of top politicians who closely engaged with Niebuhr's ideas, including Tony Benn, Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King Jr. and Dennis Healey.

Beginning with his early ministry amongst industrial workers in early twentieth century Detroit, Niebuhr displayed a passionate commitment to social justice that infused his life's work. Rigorously championing 'Christian Realism' he sought a practically orientated intellectual engagement with the political challenges of his day. His ideas on International Relations have also helped to shape debate amongst leading academic thinkers and policy makers. In both Christian and secular contexts he continues to attract new readers today.

In this timely re-evaluation both critics and disciples of Niebuhr's work reflect on his notable contribution to Christian social ethics, the Christian doctrine of humanity, and the engagement of Christian thought with contemporary politics. The authors bring a wide range of expertise from both sides of the Atlantic, indicating how a re-evaluation of Niebuhr's thought can help inform contemporary debates on Christian social ethics and other wider theological issues.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199571833
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/13/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction, Richard Harries
1. Reinhold Niebuhr in Historical Perspective, Robin W. Lovin
2. On Recent Political Uses of Reinhold Niebuhr: Toward a New Appreciation of his Legacy, Mac McCorkle
3. Niebuhr's 'Nature of Man' and Christian Realism, Jean Bethke Elshtain
4. Radical Orthodoxy's Critique of Niebuhr, Ben Quash
5. The Nature and Destiny of Serious Theology, Samuel Wells
6. Reinhold Niebuhr's 'Outsider Ecclesiology', Wendy Dackson
7. Niebuhr, Liturgy and Public Theology, Stephen Platten
8. Falling Far Short: Taking Sin Seriously?, Martyn Percy
9. Distinguishing Hope from Utopian Aspiration: Revisiting Reinhold Niebuhr, Ian Markham
10. Reinhold Niebuhr and the Political Possibility of Forgiveness, Nigel Biggar
11. What Makes Us Think That God Wants Democracy?, Richard Harries
12. Realism and Progress: Niebuhr's Thought and Contemporary Challenges, Anatol Lieven
13. Reinhold Niebuhr and the Use of Force, John D. Carlson
14. The Irony of American Evangelical Politics, Kevin Carnahan
15. Reinhold Niebuhr and the Problem of Religious Pluralism, Wilfred M. McClay
Conclusion: Realism Revisited, Stephen Platten

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