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Christianity and Liberal Society$
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Robert Song

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198269335

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198269335.001.0001

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Reinhold Niebuhr and the Liberal Philosophy of History

Reinhold Niebuhr and the Liberal Philosophy of History

(p.49) 3 Reinhold Niebuhr and the Liberal Philosophy of History
Christianity and Liberal Society

Robert Song

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines American Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr's criticism on liberalism, specifically liberal philosophy of history. Criticism on liberalism was among the most prominent features of Niebuhr's intellectual career and the changing phases of his thought can be characterized precisely in terms of the varying positions he took up in relation to liberalism. During his early years, until the mid-1930s, Niebuhr was highly critical of liberalism. However, his attitude began to change in the 1950s and 1960s when he recognized some of the inordinacy of his earlier beliefs and admitted to himself how much of liberalism he owned, in the form of democracy.

Keywords:   Reinhold Niebuhr, liberalism, liberal philosophy, Protestant theologian, philosophical criticism, democracy

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