Chapter

What's So Bad About Reinhold Niebuhr?

Rebekah L. Miles

in The Bonds of Freedom

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780195144161
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834495 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195144163.003.0002

Series: An American Academy of Religion Book

 What's So Bad About Reinhold Niebuhr?

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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

Chapter.  15010 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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