Faith on Earth

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An Inquiry into the Structure of Human Faith

H. Richard Niebuhr; Edited by Richard R. Niebuhr

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This important book makes available the last major unpublished writings of H. Richard Niebuhr, one of the leading American theologians of this century. Edited by the author’s son, this powerful and moving book represents Niebuhr’s most accessible, systematic, and detailed statement on faith.

"With characteristic poetic power, ethical wisdom, and spiritual depth, this outstanding American theologian and ethicist of the past generation of extraordinary Protestant creativity writes with passion and acumen about the nature of faith as trust (fiducia) and loyalty (fidelitas), and of believing (fides) based on them. . . . The graceful whole constructed by the editor from this part of Niebuhr’s literary remains will be considered another classic alongside his other vibrant and luminous books."—R. Melvin Keiser, Critical Review of Books in Religion


"The publication of this 1950s manuscript from the hand of H. Richard Neibuhr provides a wonderful sample of the intense and compelling movement of his thought. . . . [It has] considerable promise and power for today. . . . It is both an indispensable source for understanding Niebuhr, and, more importantly, for a felt sense of the texture, the breadth, and the depth of the Christian pattern of life and faith."—James W. Fowler, Horizons: The Journal of the College Theology Society

"The book is worthy of sustained attention—not only from theologians, but from pastors and theologically-interested lay people as well."—David S. Cunningham, Anglican Theological Review

"It is a rare treat: a theologian of long experience distilling in quite straightforward language his mature reflections on the central matter of faith. He manages both to be lucid and to do justice to the complexities of the topic."—David F. Ford, Journal of Theological Studies

"The book’s greatest strength lies in Niebuhr’s careful holding in relation the personal quality of faith with its impetus toward a common public good for all creatures beyond the boundaries of denomination, nation, and even species. The book makes compelling reading not only for its value in relation to Niebuhr’s other works or even for its relevance to present issues. . . . Richard R. Niebuhr’s editing of the essays deserves special mention. His carefully crafted editorial notes clarify and augment the reader’s understanding of the various influences at work upon H. Richard’s thought. We are fortunate that he was willing to edit this excellent volume."—Paula Cooey, Journal of Religion

"A significant exposition of the nature of human faith and a worthy addition to the corpus of writings by Niebuhr. . . . This book belongs in all seminary libraries and in academic libraries with strong theology collections."—Library Journal

"For readers familiar with Niebuhr’s work, the publication of this book twenty-seven years after his death is a welcome event. . . . This is unquestionably the best explication of what is the foundation of all his thought—the nature of faith in God. For those unacquainted with his thought, this is the best single volume from which to enter into his theological world."—C. David Grant, Journal of Church and State

"The book . . . serves a useful purpose both in understanding Niebuhr’s theology and in helping today’s theologians come to terms with an important strand of their intellectual heritage. . . . Niebuhr’s acknowledgement of the social nature of faith and theology before the idea became fashionable testifies to the importance of the insight and helps to explain why he has been one of the great theological teachers of our century."—Garrett Green, Theology Today

"A moving discourse on one of the deepest needs of interpersonal existence: membership in community of infinite loyalty."—Lutheran Journal

"I have looked forward to the appearance of this book under review. It has far exceeded my hopes and expectations. I believe that it is the great theological achievement of Niebuhr’s life and work. . . . A gift of unsearchable value wherein he has allowed me to enter the innermost recesses of his life and has give me a glimpse into his own Christian faith, a faith which he always wished to share with his companions on the way. . . . Written in HRN’s poetic, lyrical style, at times soaring breathtakingly in its love and insight as he seeks to convey by reflection and by dialectical inquiry, the nature and structure of faith and of its possibilities for humans on earth. Such writing is beyond synopsis and in any event it is my hope that this note of appreciation will urge others to read what he has to say to us."—John M. Gessell, St. Lukes Journal of Theology

"Niebuhr sheds soft, penetrating light on these deep, sometimes murky waters."—Kirkus Reviews

"This book, a gift of one speaking out of the past, should be important for believers who want to clarify their own attitudes of trust and action in relation to Jesus Christ. . . . Straightforward and clear, and it will challenge the thinking and feelings of many people."—Randolph C. Miller, Religious Education

"A book of quiet, cumulative power."—Charles C. Hefling Jr., America

"This book extends and enriches Niebuhr’s considerable influence in American theology."—William Schweiker, Christian Century

"The appearance of a new book by H. Richard Niebuhr is cause for celebration, and there is no question that this volume is absolutely essential for all collections in religion. . . . A marvelous find."—Choice

"Clear interpretation of faith by the renowned theologian."—Harvard Magazine

"Faith on Earth is a major addition to the canon of America’s foremost twentieth-century theologian. It provides an interpretation of faith that combines, in Niebuhr’s own unique way, sociological and theological insight. The chapter ’The Reconstruction of Faith’ is as powerful as anything Niebuhr ever wrote."—Robert N. Bellah, co-author of Habits of the Heart, and Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

 

"In this final legacy H. Richard Niebuhr comes to us as an esteemed voice from the past, speaking with greater subtlety and immediacy than more strident voices of today. He asks us to think more about familiar themes—faith and broken faith, trust and distrust, self and community, God and Christ—more searchingly and imaginatively than we have done before."—Roger L. Shinn, Professor of Social Ethics, Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary

 

"This book will be one that every scholar interested in American theology will have to read. It brings again to life the words of one of America’s most powerful and eloquent voices for Christian faith in the twentieth century."—Harry S. Stout, professor of American religious history, Yale University

ISBN: 9780300051223
Publication Date: July 24, 1991
138 pages, 6 x 9
Theology, History, and Culture

Major Unpublished Writings

H. Richard Niebuhr; Edited by William Stacy Johnson

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