Religion and Twentieth-Century American Intellectual Life

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Concerned primarily with relations between Protestant Christianity and the main currents in secular intellectual life over the course of the past century, the essays in this volume disclose the persistence, complexity, and fragility of religious thought in the new university dominated intellectual environment of the modern period. Arguing that three important patterns of response emerged from the challenges to religious belief posed by nineteenth-century science and scholarship—the traditionalist, the naturalist, and the modernist responses—the volume is organized to bring out the continuing interplay of reciprocal influences among them. The contributors show that a dialectic between naturalistic and religious points of view has contributed significantly to the character and style of modern American thought.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The conference at which these essays were first presented brought together social scientists and professors of religion and theology to assess the role of Protestantism in current American intellectual life. The essays themselves challenge secularist and naturalist outlooks, revealing instead subtle interactions between religion and other aspects of culture and highlighting the profound affect of Reinhold Niebuhr, Richard Niebuhr, and John Dewey and of the social gospel movement on American culture. As evidenced by these essays, both professionalization, which pushed theology out of the liberal arts and into the seminaries, and specialization in the humanities has diminished the impact of religion. Further, the interaction of science and religion has contributed to the tension of religion and culture. Highly recommended for academic and seminary collections.-- Carolyn M. Craft, Longwood Coll., Farmville, Va.
Eight original essays address the place of religious thought and values, primarily those of Protestant Christianity, among America's educated, cultural elites devoted to science, scholarship, and intellectual life generally. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521407755
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1991
  • Series: Woodrow Wilson Center Press Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Religion and American intellectual history, 1945–85: reflections on an uneasy relationship Henry F. May; 2. Evangelicals and the scientific culture: an overview George M. Marsden; 3. An enthusiasm for humanity: the social emphasis in religion and its accommodation in Protestant theology William McGuire King; 4. John Dewey, American theology, and scientific politics Bruce Kuklick; 5. The Niebuhr brothers and the liberal Protestant heritage Richard Wightman Fox; 6. Justification by verification: the scientific challenge to the moral authority of Christianity in modern America David A. Hollinger; 7. On the scientific study of religion in the United States 1870–1980 Murray G. Murphey; 8. On the intellectual marginality of American theology Van A. Harvey; Afterword: theology, public discourse, and the American tradition David A. Tracy; About the authors; Index.

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