Reinhold Niebuhr and the Liberal Philosophy of History

Robert Song

in Christianity and Liberal Society

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780198269335
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683619 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Theological Ethics

Reinhold Niebuhr and the Liberal Philosophy of History

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This chapter examines American Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr's criticism on liberalism, specifically liberal philosophy of history. Criticism on liberalism was among the most prominent features of Niebuhr's intellectual career and the changing phases of his thought can be characterized precisely in terms of the varying positions he took up in relation to liberalism. During his early years, until the mid-1930s, Niebuhr was highly critical of liberalism. However, his attitude began to change in the 1950s and 1960s when he recognized some of the inordinacy of his earlier beliefs and admitted to himself how much of liberalism he owned, in the form of democracy.

Keywords: Reinhold Niebuhr; liberalism; liberal philosophy; Protestant theologian; philosophical criticism; democracy

Chapter.  14526 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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