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Daniel Day Williams

(1910—1973)


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Henry Nelson Wieman (1884—1975)

Charles Hartshorne (1897—2000)

Alfred North Whitehead (1861—1947) mathematician and philosopher

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892—1971)

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Daniel Day Williams was born on 12 September 1910 in Denver, Colorado, and died on 3 December 1973 in New York City. His parents were traditional Methodists; his father was a friend and biographer of William Jennings Bryan. During Williams's student years at the University of Denver (BA 1931) he grew increasingly, even painfully, dissatisfied with the faith of his youth. When he entered Chicago Theological Seminary in 1931 he was ready for an alternative, and there he encountered the “Chicago School” of theology. Under the teaching of Wilhelm Pauck, Day received an introduction to neo-orthodoxy. But the figures who were to influence him most were Henry Nelson Wieman and Charles Hartshorne, who led him to the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Day earned his MA in 1933 at the University of Chicago and his BD at Chicago's Theological Seminary in 1934. In 1934 Williams entered Columbia University to study the history of philosophy, and also took a seminar with Reinhold Niebuhr at nearby Union Theological Seminary. The subject of his 1940 PhD dissertation was the emergence of liberalism at Andover Theological Seminary during the nineteenth century, though his treatment showed the influence of neo-orthodox realism. Williams already had a rather unusual combination of concerns: an interest in liberal theology; a sympathy for neo-orthodox points of view; and a conviction about the significance of philosophy for theology, process philosophy in particular.

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From The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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