The Critical Theology of Theodore Parker

By John Edward Dirks | Go to book overview

PREFACE

THIS ACCOUNT of Theodore Parker's career as a student of critical theology and philosophy of religion is designed to supplement the extensive literature about other aspects of his diversified interests. Biographies and sketches,which emphasize primarily his erudite preaching and his extravagant" reform ambitions, are numerous. But, the emphasis which has been given in these works to his ministry, his humanitarianism, his crusade against slavery, and his independence will not be stressed here. Our aim is limited to an exposition of Parker's technical philosophy; his characteristic methods in Biblical and historical criticism, his examination of the basis of religious truth, his formation of an "educated" theology and his so-called transcendentalism. Because these are central features of Parker's mind, they shed important light on his relation to the transcendental "temper" in general and to Emerson in particular.

There are many who have contributed to this study of Parker. Professor Herbert W. Schneider has, since the outset of our research, been my patient and faithful guide, and Professor Commager has been a most informed and helpful critic. Dr. Joseph L. Blau assisted in many ways. Professors James Gutmann and Horace L. Friess, also of the Department of Philosophy, have given their generous

-vii-

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The Critical Theology of Theodore Parker
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 3
  • Chapter 2 - Biblical Criticism and Criticaltheology 33
  • Chapter 3 - The Religious Element in Human Nature 66
  • Chapter 4 - The Theology of Absolute Religion 111
  • Chapter 5 - Conclusion 130
  • Appendix 137
  • Bibliography 161
  • Index 165
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