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The Making of American Liberal Theology: Imagining Progressive Religion, 1805 - 1900 Paperback – October 1, 2001


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The Making of American Liberal Theology: Imagining Progressive Religion, 1805 - 1900 + The Making of American Liberal Theology: Idealism, Realism, and Modernity, 1900-1950 + The Making of American Liberal Theology: Crisis, Irony, and Postmodernity, 1950-2005
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664223540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664223540
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

As the first entry in a projected three-volume series on American liberal Christianity, this masterfully written work offers a biographical narrative of the 19th-century figures who, while influenced by English and German ideas, shaped an indigenous theology. Writers such as William E. Channing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horace Bushnell, Henry Ward Beecher, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Charles Briggs, and Borden Parker Bowne are all featured here. These thinkers developed modernist schools that sought to find a middle ground between orthodoxy and rationalism, claims Dorrien (The Barthian Revolt in Modern Theology). A significant feature is the author's coverage of the divinity schools at Harvard, Boston, Yale, and Chicago universities; surprisingly, he finds the most consistent theological liberalism at Boston University. He also describes the controversies these liberals engendered in the churches and the resulting heresy trials. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.AJames A. Overbeck, Atlanta-Fulton P.L., GA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Gary Dorrien is Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University in New York City. An Episcopal priest, he is the author of eleven books and over one hundred articles that range across the fields of theology, philosophy, social theory, politics, ethics, and history.

More About the Author

Gary Dorrien is Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University. He is the author of 16 books ranging across the fields of social theory, ethics, theology, philosophy, politics, and intellectual history.

These books include an acclaimed trilogy, The Making of American Liberal Theology, and a lecture collection titled Economy, Difference, Empire: Social Ethics for Social Justice. His book, Social Ethics in the Making, won the Choice Award in 2009, and his book, Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit: The Idealistic Logic of Modern Theology won the PROSE Award from the Association of American Publishers for the best book in Theology and Religious Studies of 2012.

Dorrien speaks extensively to social justice organizations, religious communities, and academics, and he is currently writing a two-volume work on Du Bois, King, and the black Social Gospel tradition.

Customer Reviews

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26 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Garber on April 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
Dorrien's book provides a well-written and informed look at the roots of American liberal theology. Dorrien starts with the Unitarians (most notably Ralph Waldo Emerson -- did you remember he was a minister from high school?) and considers other forerunners such as Harriet Beecher Stowe's brother and Elizabeth Cody Stanton.
I am a firm believer in complicated information presented in an easily read fashion, and Dorrien's book fits the bill. I've actually been reading a history of Atonement Theory and Trinitarianism for light bedtime reading because it's so fascinating. Dorrien explores theology through biography, painting a realistic picture of the all-too-human proponents of the theory of the Divine. I also appreciate learning about the historical roots of an informed, loving, intelligent Christian faith that sought to fight against the fire-and-brimstone intolerant exclusivism of its day. A must read for Bible and religion students, seminarians, historians, and anyone who wishes to claim the historical roots of progressive Christianity.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ken Wolf on April 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very thorough look at an often ignored area of American intellectual history; Dorrien makes it clear that--whatever we may think today in light of the conservative evangelical fundamentalist revival of the past 40 years, "Liberal Religion" has far more important in 19th century American history than we have been led to believe. I am looking forward to reading volumes II and III.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joy Bussert on January 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This set by Dr. Gary Dorrien of Union Theological Seminary is an outstanding resource for anyone who wonders why they gravitate toward the tradition of american liberal theology. Recently I traveled to Boston to visit the West Roxbury Unitarian Church where an early liberal highlighted by Dorrien in this collection, Theodore Parker, served as preacher and theologian during the years that Brook Farm was in operation, 1840-1847. The local West Roxbury library has a rare collection of newspaper articles from this era. My interest was to learn more about the influence of this liberal thinker on the emerging consciousness of Elizabeth Cady Stanton who lived in Boston from 1840-1847 and attended his lecture series. Without this historical encounter, the subsequent 1848 Women's Rights Convention may not have happened!
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0 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Ivan E. Frick on August 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
The book is in excellent condition and was promptly shipped.
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