Theology, History, and Culture

Major Unpublished Writings

H. Richard Niebuhr; Edited by William Stacy Johnson

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This book brings together the best of the unpublished works of H. Richard Niebuhr, one of the outstanding American religious thinkers of this century. The collection includes lectures, sermons, and essays, some of which Niebuhr delivered at major universities to general audiences, and others that he prepared for circulation and discussion among colleagues at Yale and elsewhere. Contemporaneous events, religious figures, important issues in theology, and interpretations of American history and culture—all engaged Niebuhr's broad-ranging interest and revealed his concern with integrating theology and practical living.

For those approaching the author's work for the first time, this volume opens the way; for readers already familiar with his concerns, it invites a deeper understanding of his theology. The collection will enrich contemporary public theological discussion, adding Niebuhr's confessionally grounded yet publicly focused voice to the conversation. Richard R. Niebuhr contributes a Foreword in which he recollects his father and offers insights from private writings, and William Stacy Johnson's Introduction orients the reader to Niebuhr's life and work, locating his writings in appropriate theological and historical contexts.

H. Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962) was Sterling Professor of Theology and Christian Ethics at Yale University and author of The Kingdom of God in America, The Meaning of Revelation, Christ and Culture, and Radical Monotheism and Western Culture. His posthumous book Faith on Earth: An Inquiry into the Structure of Human Faith was edited by Richard R. Niebuhr and published by Yale University Press. William Stacy Johnson is assistant professor of systematic theology at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Richard R. Niebuhr is Hollis Professor of Divinity at the Divinity School of Harvard University.

"Some of these pieces are equal to H. Richard Niebuhr's best; that is, they are as good as anything in twentieth-century American theological literature."—George Lindbeck, Yale University

"This rich volume, which collects writings from throughout Niebuhr's career, affords a panoramic view of his thinking. It does not revolutionize our estimate of his theology, but rather offers a chance to ponder the coherence of his thought and the significance of his legacy."—Douglas F. Ottati, Christian Century

"This striking book, with its many highly quotable passages, is an excellent introduction to the thought of a somewhat neglected theologian."—Faith and Freedom

"This is a collection that will be read with gratitude for the clarity of Niebuhr's profundity as well as its strong (Edwardsian) theocentricity. It is a helpful antidote to the pathologies of a therapeutic age and nourishing food for a theologically malnourished one."—John Bolt, Calvin Theological Journal

"This rich volume, which collects writings from throughout Niebuhr's career, affords a panoramic view of his thinking."—Douglas F. Ottati, Christian Century

"The collection can be read either as an introduction to Niebuhr's work or as providing a valuable gloss on his major writings. . . . These essays often reveal Niebuhr at his lapidary best. They are to be welcomed as a valuable addition to his published corpus and will be of service not only to students of his work but to others preoccupied with the issues he frequently illuminated."—David A.S. Ferguson, Journal of Theological Studies

"The appearance of these works in print is an important event and should be welcomed by everyone interested in contemporary theology."—William Schweiker, Journal of Religion

"Three sermons represent Niebuhr as preacher, including a powerful meditation on Psalm ninety and the transience and endurance of the work of men and women. Those who heard Niebuhr lecture or preach speak with awe of his presence and of the power of his words."—Wayne Proudfoot, Journal of American Academy of Religion

"The variety of themes in the book make it an excellent introduction to Niebuhr's thought for first-time readers. . . . One ends this book by thirsting for more essays by such an informed theological thinker who really believed in the rule of God on earth."—John D. Godsey, Journal of Church and State

"Niebuhr's sense of the divine Transcendent, so evident in these writings, is particularly refreshing in our jaded, materialistic age. . . . Behavioral scientists will find [this book] useful as a route to understanding deeper levels of the conflict between Christian faith and modern culture."—Journal of Psychology and Christianity 

ISBN: 9780300074376
Publication Date: February 17, 1998
244 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Faith on Earth

An Inquiry into the Structure of Human Faith

H. Richard Niebuhr; Edited by Richard R. Niebuhr

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