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The Bonds of FreedomFeminist Theology and Christian Realism$
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Rebekah L. Miles

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195144161

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195144163.001.0001

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What's So Bad About Reinhold Niebuhr?

What's So Bad About Reinhold Niebuhr?

(p.28) Two What's So Bad About Reinhold Niebuhr?
The Bonds of Freedom

Rebekah L. Miles (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Because Reinhold Niebuhr has been so widely criticized by feminist theologians, a critical retrieval must first examine the extensive charges against him. To this end, this chapter outlines feminist criticisms of Niebuhr and develops a framework for a feminist reappropriation of Niebuhr that takes into account these criticisms. It is suggested that feminist criticisms of Niebuhr's understanding of gender roles do not fundamentally challenge Niebuhr's model of the free and bound self (human self‐transcendence and boundedness). Indeed, these criticisms actually exemplify the need to recognize the moral significance of both our given bodily reality and our human freedom partially to transcend and transform that givenness. Niebuhr's understanding of human moral experience provides a framework for that recognition.

Keywords:   criticisms, feminism, feminist theology, gender roles, human boundedness, human self‐transcendence, Reinhold Niebuhr

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