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Reinhold NiebuhrOn Politics, Religion, and Christian Faith$
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Richard Crouter

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195379679

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379679.001.0001

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Why Niebuhr in a New Era?

Why Niebuhr in a New Era?

(p.3) 1 Why Niebuhr in a New Era?
Reinhold Niebuhr

Richard Crouter (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 sets the stage for this book on the revival of interest in Reinhold Niebuhr as premier 20th-century American Protestant theologian and public intellectual. His complex thought eludes the usual labels of left and right, liberal and conservative, or optimism and pessimism, whether applied to politics or to religion. His gifts as preacher, thinker, and writer connect in the 21st century just as in his lifetime. “Mapping the Niebuhr Revival” traces the current interest to the post-9/11 world of the Bush presidency, but continues into the world of Barack Obama, a self-confessed admirer of Niebuhr’s thought. This initial chapter lays out the book’s argument as it moves through the themes of historical awareness, human ambiguity and sin, Niebuhr as writer, the Irony of American History as a classic text, his reception among today’s Christians, and the lasting significance and challenges of his legacy.

Keywords:   Barack Obama, David Brooks, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr, political and religious labels, Niebuhr revival, post-9/11 world

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