Historical Dictionary of the 1960s

By Samuel Freeman; James S. Olson | Go to book overview

V

VAN DUSEN, HENRY PITNEY. Henry Van Dusen was born December 11, 1967, in Philadelphia. He graduated from Princeton in 1919, earned a divinity degree at the Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1924, and finally took a Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh in 1932. He spent the rest of his career at the Union Theological Seminary as professor of systematic theology until 1945 and president until 1963. Van Dusen was the author of The Plain Man Seeks for God ( 1933), God in These Times ( 1935), World Christianity: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow ( 1947), Life's Meaning ( 1951), One Great Hope ( 1961), and The Vindication of Liberal Theology ( 1963).

During his lifetime, Van Dusen became the world's leading ecumenist; he was the central figure in establishing the World Council of Churches in 1948, and he played a direct role in its activities until 1961. His theology was eminently liberal, a perfect match for the cultural and political mood of the 1960s in the United States. For Van Dusen, there was no final arbiter of truth in the universe, only honest people striving to define truth for themselves. The church, he believed, should also be committed to social reform. A longtime member of the Euthanasia Society, Van Dusen took his own life on February 13, 1975, after a long struggle with the debilitating effects of a stroke.

REFERENCE: New York Times, February 14, 1975.

VATICAN II. Perhaps the most momentous event in the religious history of the 1960s in the United States was the Vatican II conference of the Roman Catholic Church. The last Vatican Council had been convened in 1873, and in October 1962 Pope John XXIII assembled Vatican Council II, or Vatican II. The purpose of the meetings, which lasted until December 1965, was to discuss the place of the church in a changing world. More than 2,500 people participated in the sessions.

The charge Pope John XXIII gave the participants was to restore the church

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Historical Dictionary of the 1960s
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • A 1
  • B 35
  • C 83
  • D 125
  • E 145
  • F 161
  • G 184
  • H 212
  • I 239
  • J 246
  • K 254
  • L 272
  • M 284
  • N 317
  • O 347
  • P 359
  • Q 378
  • R 379
  • S 402
  • T 437
  • U 455
  • V 460
  • W 470
  • X 487
  • Y 488
  • Z 490
  • Chronology of the 1960s 493
  • Selected Bibliography 507
  • Index 527
  • About the Contributors 545
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