On Being Human Religiously: Selected Essays in Religion and Society

On Being Human Religiously: Selected Essays in Religion and Society

On Being Human Religiously: Selected Essays in Religion and Society

On Being Human Religiously: Selected Essays in Religion and Society

Excerpt

It is presumptuous to "introduce" Professor James Luther Adams of Boston University, the University of Chicago, Meadville Theological School, Harvard University, and Andover Newton Theological School -- a major American social ethicist of the two middle quarters of the twentieth century. Professor Adams is well known in a wide variety of religious, political, and intellectual communities, not only in North America but also in Europe and, more recently, in Asia. For at least half a century, Adams has been known as a serious scholar and teacher who is consistently involved in prophetic social reconstruction and deeply concerned about the welfare of his many friends. Surely no major theologian has preached in more local churches, attended more meetings where strategies for personal growth or social change were worked out, been president of so many academic societies, nor carried out a wider correspondence with leaders in many fields around the world. In fact, it is likely that no twentieth century theologian has been mentioned in the "acknowledgments" of other people's books more frequently than this man.

Yet it is characteristic of Adams that he has directed attention away from himself toward the thought of others. It is already well-known how much his scholarly effort has drawn attention to neglected themes in the work of Dean Fenn, the first important American Unitarian theologian of the twentieth century, and Harry Nelson Weiman. More than any other single person, Adams was responsible for introducing Paul Tillich to the English-speaking world before he was widely recognized; and Adams is currently at the center of the revival of scholarly interest in Ernst Troeltsch.

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