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Niebuhr Reinhold 1892-1971 American Protestant theologian whose social doctrines profoundly influenced American theological and political thought Born in Wright City Missouri June 21 1892 he was educated at Elmhurst College Elmhurst Illinois Eden Theological Seminary Webster Groves Missouri and Yale Divinity School In 1915 he was ordained in the ministry of the Evangelical Synod of North America and made pastor of the Bethel Evangelical Church of Detroit He held that post until 1928 at which time he joined the faculty of the Union Theological Seminary New York City where he taught for 30 years At the time of his retirement 1960 he held a chair of ethics and theology he also served as dean 1950-55 and vice president 1955-60 After retiring he continued at Union as a lecturer An outstanding although not a systematic theologian Niebuhr was notable primarily for his examination of the interrelationships between religion individuals and modern society Outside the field of theology he took a keen interest in trade union and political affairs He was an active member of the Socialist Party in the 1930s waged a vigorous fight against isolationism and pacifism before and during World War II and in 1944 helped to found the Liberal Party in New York State He received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 and was made a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters He died on June 1 1971 Niebuhr indicated his overriding interest in what has been called theological anthropology a concern with the nature of man as a contact point for religion and society in such major works as Moral Man and Immoral Society 1932 Interpretation of Christian Ethics 1935 and The Nature and Destiny of Man 2 volumes 1941 1943 A penetrating critic of society he also published Faith and History 1949 Christian Realism and Political Problems 1953 The Self and the Dramas of History 1955 and Structure of Nations and Empires 1959 In addition he
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