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The Theological Vision of Reinhold Niebuhr's The Irony of American History“In the Battle and Above It”$
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Scott R. Erwin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199678372

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678372.001.0001

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Discerning the Signs of the Times: The Relevance of Niebuhr’s Theological Vision to the Cold War

Discerning the Signs of the Times: The Relevance of Niebuhr’s Theological Vision to the Cold War

Chapter:
(p.87) 3 Discerning the Signs of the Times: The Relevance of Niebuhr’s Theological Vision to the Cold War
Source:
The Theological Vision of Reinhold Niebuhr's The Irony of American History
Author(s):

Scott R. Erwin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678372.003.0004

This chapter examines Niebuhr’s efforts in the years immediately preceding the publication of Irony to apply his theological vision to the rapidly escalating Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Niebuhr struck a balance between remaining politically engaged in opposing Soviet aggression and maintaining a perspective on the shared failings of both countries that perpetuated the conflict. This chapter argues that, in his effort to reach an appropriate equilibrium, Niebuhr had to come to terms with the challenges posed by his own increasingly active role in the historic struggle as an adviser to the U.S. Department of State.

Keywords:   reinhold Niebuhr, discerning the Signs of the Times, faith and History, christianity and Crisis, cold War, george Kennan, soviet Union, sin, christian interpretation of history

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