Henry Nelson Wieman

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Henry Nelson Wieman (1884-1975) is a famous classical liberal Christian theologian and a Unitarian. As a theologian his major achievement is finding an academically satisfying intellecual bridge between faith and knowledge, religion and science, knowledge and ethics, and nature and history. His bridge is religiously Theistic rather than secularly humanistic in nature. This is something that had always eluded other theologians such as those in the neo-orthodoxy movement. Other theologians have since constructed similar bridges, these later bridges are often thought to be somewhat more sound. These theologians include Bernard Meland, John Cobb, and David Ray Griffin.[1]

Unlike many 20th century Unitarians who were or became agnostics or atheists, Wieman always maintained and affirmed the existence of God and His transcendence. His work is considered to be part of the foundation of process theology, which constructed around the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. His book Religious Experience and Scientific Method (Macmillan, 1926) was republished in 1971 and is a classic in its field.[2]

Is John Dewey a theist?

Wieman famously interpreted John Dewey's thesis of A Common Faith (1934) as one of process theology. This led to a Christian Century article "Is John Dewey a theist?", which John Dewey responded to and Wieman eventually took back his original interpretation. Another liberal theologian Charles Hartshorne has stated that Wieman was correct and that Dewey had in fact expressed a theist argument in A Common Faith.[3]

  1. Faith and Knowledge, Douglas Sloan, , Westminster John Knox Press, 1994, ISBN 0664228666, ISBN 9780664228668, 272 pages, pp. 136-139
  2. Harvardsquare Library
  3. John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism, Steven C. Rockefeller, Columbia University Press, 1991, ISBN 0231073488, ISBN 9780231073486, pp. 524-525
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