The Nature and Destiny of Man, Volume 1 by Reinhold Niebuhr

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



Arguably Niebuhr's most important work, this book offers a sustained articulation of his theological ethics and is considered a landmark in 20th-century thought. This book issues a challenge to Western civilization to understand its roots in the faith of the Bible. The growth, corruption and purification of the important Western emphases on individuality are chronicled here insightfully.

About Reinhold Niebuhr

See more books from this Author
Walter Lippmann once called Reinhold Niebuhr the greatest mind America had produced since Jonathan Edwards. It was fitting, then, that Niebuhr died at home in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in the town where Edwards had preached. He was born in Wright City, Missouri, and his father was a German immigrant who served those German-speaking churches that preserved both the Lutheran and Reformed (Calvinist) traditions and piety. After seminary in St. Louis, he studied for two years at Yale University, and the M.A. he received there was the highest degree he earned. Rather than work for a doctorate, he became a pastor in Detroit, where in his 13 years of service a tiny congregation grew to one of 800 members. Part of his diary from those years was published in 1929 as Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic. During that time he began to attract attention through articles on social issues; as he said, he "cut [his] eyeteeth fighting [Henry] Ford." But the socialism to which he was attracted soon seemed naive to him: human problems could not be solved just by appealing to the good in people or by promulgating programs for change. Power, economic clout, was needed to change the systems set up by sinful groups, a position expressed in his 1932 book, Moral Man and Immoral Society. By this time Niebuhr was teaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he spent the rest of his career. Niebuhr's theology always took second place to ethics. He ran for office as a socialist, rescued Paul Tillich from Germany, became a strong supporter of Israel, gave up pacifism, and was often too orthodox for the liberals, too liberal for the orthodox. His The Nature and Destiny of Man is one of the few seminal theological books written by an American. In it he reiterates a theme that led some to place him in the Barthian camp of Neo-orthodoxy: the radical sinfulness of the human creature. The human condition as illumined by the Christian tradition was always the arena in which he worked.
Published November 11, 1980 by Pearson. 305 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy, Political & Social Sciences, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Nature and Destiny of Man, Volume 1

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Dr. Niebuhr's mentality, the Gifford Lectureship's importance, and the nature and destiny of man's scope put this volume beyond this critic.

Oct 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Nature and Destiny of Man...


With the death of printed news there is also the death of .

Feb 26 2010 | Read Full Review of The Nature and Destiny of Man...


So massive is the transformation its rise to economic supremacy will bring that – so Jacques – history can henceforward simply be divided into BC and AC: Before China and After China.

Mar 19 2010 | Read Full Review of The Nature and Destiny of Man...

Reader Rating for The Nature and Destiny of Man, Volume 1

An aggregated and normalized score based on 10 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review