The Philosophy of William Ellery Channing

The Philosophy of William Ellery Channing

The Philosophy of William Ellery Channing

The Philosophy of William Ellery Channing

Excerpt

The purpose of this book is to draw attention to certain aspects of Channing's thought which were, I believe, of fundamental importance in his own eyes, but which do not appear hitherto to have attracted sufficient consideration. In my opinion Channing's status as a thinker has not received adequate recognition; indeed, in my judgment, he is one of the outstanding figures in the history of Christian thought. Whether this estimate be sound the reader will have ample opportunity for deciding in view of the evidence which is placed before him. In any case, I think that he will agree that Channing's constructive work was at least as significant as the destructive polemic which is so widely associated with his name. And the basic principle upon which it rests is the doctrine of essential sameness which is the intellectual justification of the mystical interest which so largely dominated his thinking, and became ever more manifest until its close. Such is the thesis which I endeavor to substantiate.

I take great pleasure in acknowledging my obligations to Professors Katherine Gilbert of Duke University, James Luther Adams of the Meadville School of Religion, and Edward D. Myers of Washington and Lee University, who read the typescript of this book in whole or in part, and in thanking them for the numerous valuable suggestions which they so kindly proffered. Needless to say, I alone am responsible for all the interpretations offered and the conclusions advanced, but to them, and to many other friends, too numerous to mention, whose encouragement has been a keen stimulus, my gratitude is as profound as it is ineffaceable.

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