Reinhold Niebuhr: On Politics, Religion, and Christian Faith

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A primer on the current "Niebuhr revival" of the political left and right, this book traces the significance of Reinhold Niebuhr's thought for secular as well as deeply Christian minds. Placed in the context of religious and cultural history, Niebuhr's theological views deepen and challenge contemporary expertise on issues of war, peace, economic, and personal security.

While rejecting cynical pessimism and naive optimism, Niebuhr's Christian realism reinvigorates age-old teachings of the Bible, St. Paul, Augustine, and Kierkegaard. His thought enriches present-day debates between science and religion and between atheists, agnostics, and believers. To live with Niebuhr's legacy is to combine critical acumen with humble self-awareness. It is to pursue a larger common good - for him, God-given - that is shared among individuals, nations, and the world community.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book is a worthy read and critically important as an instrument to raise our sights and question our usual thinking."—Journal of Church and State

"Richard Crouter's elegant, concise book on Reinhold Niebuhr's thought and legacy is a magnificent introduction to the life and work of this 20th-century theologian and public intellectual. . . Reinhold Niebuhr: On Politics, Religion, and Christian Faith renders the complexity of Niebuhr's thought light, and it makes for a wonderfully entertaining read. Crouter's prose beautifully captures and translates Niebuhr for a casual reader . . ."
—Kate Moos, NPR's Being blog

"An incisive, deeply informed, and altogether splendid book. As he dissects and clarifies the ongoing Niebuhr revival, Richard Crouter greatly enriches our appreciation of the man and his work."

— Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism

"Richard Crouter gives us an introduction that matches the depth and variety of Niebuhr's work. History, theology, and politics come together in these pages as they did in Niebuhr's thought. By the end we see clearly why Niebuhr was provocative and challenging to his contemporaries, and why he should still be for us."

— Robin W. Lovin, author of Christian Realism and the New Realities

"Richard Crouter adeptly describes the revival of interest in Reinhold Niebuhr's Christian realist approach to politics and insightfully explains why both—Niebuhr and the revival—matter. This is a welcome contribution to a burgeoning field."

— Gary Dorrien, author of Social Ethics in the Making: Interpreting an American Tradition

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195379686
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/8/2010
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,096,111
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Crouter is the John M. and Elizabeth W. Musser Professor of Religious Studies Emeritus at Carleton College in Minnesota. He is co-editor of the Journal for the History of Modern Theology and author of Friedrich Schleiermacher: Between Enlightenment and Romanticism (2005).

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments page v

1. Why Niebuhr in a New Era? 3
2. Taking the Long View of History 19
3. Recognizing Human Ambiguity 41
4. Connecting with Wit and Words 59
5. Revisiting America with Irony 77
6. Debating Politics and the Christian Faith 96
7. Living with Niebuhr's Legacy 116

Notes 141

Index 159

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