From Authority Religion to Spirit Religion: An Intellectual Biography of George Burman Foster, 1857-1918

Cambridge Scholars Publishing
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George Burman Foster (1857–1918) was a key figure among the philosophers and theologians who composed the early “Chicago School.” This volume makes available the development of Foster’s religious thought by exploring his major writings as well as diverse shorter works. Conclusions are provided following each major section of the book. Through this approach we discover that Foster was laying the foundation for the emergence of American humanism.

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About the author

W. Creighton Peden is Fuller E. Callaway Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Georgia Regents University, USA, and President Emeritus of the Highlands Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought. Peden received a BA from Davidson College, an MA from the University of Chicago, and a PhD from St Andrews University, Scotland.

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing
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Published on
Jul 16, 2013
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History / Social History
Juvenile Nonfiction / Religion / Christianity
Religion / Theology
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Marty Machowski
John N. Gaston
Edward Scribner Ames (1870–1958) was a minister in the Christian Church, a.k.a. Disciples of Christ. He served as minister of the Hyde Park Christian Church from 1900 to l940. Having received his undergraduate degree from Drake College, BD and two years towards a doctorate at Yale University, he completed a PhD in philosophy in 1895 with John Dewey as chair of the department of philosophy at the University of Chicago. After teaching at Butler College for three years, he returned to Hyde Park Church and became a part time teacher in philosophy at the University of Chicago. Eventually Ames taught more and more and became chair of the department. At the University of Chicago he also became the founder of Disciples Divinity House, for which he served as Dean until 1945.

Ames is significant as a philosopher who adapted Christianity to the philosophy of pragmatism and the world of modern science. Ames’ hundreds of publications are held at the Disciples Divinity House at the University of Chicago, with the works in this volume being his unpublished manuscripts. In these lectures Ames devotes five lectures to explaining Christianity in terms of pragmatism to Disciples ministers. In other lectures he focuses on the philosophy of John Locke and its impact of the development of the Christian Church. Ames also developed a report for the Commission for the Restudy of the Disciples, The Philosophical Background on Disciples. In other ministerial lectures he presented a series of four lectures on The Reasonableness of Christianity. Also included are his alumni lecture at Yale Divinity in 1932 titled Imagery and Meaning in Religious Ideas; the Gates Memorial Lectures at Grinnell College titled This Human Life; a lecture at Northwestern University on The Will to Believe; and four lectures at the Pastors’ Institute in 1938 on When Science Comes to Religion. Ames addressed the Pastors’ Institute again in 1939 in four lectures on the Religious Implications of John Dewey’s Philosophy.

W. Creighton Peden
This book deals with Bernard Eugene Meland’s “life” (as presented in his unpublished intellectual autobiography) and “thought” as a constructive theologian who taught in the Divinity School of The University of Chicago (1945-64). When Meland was in the process of completing his doctoral studies at the University of Chicago, he came into close association with Henry Nelson Wieman who was joining the faculty. Meland took the first course Wieman offered in which they read William Ernest Hocking’s The Meaning of God in Human Experience (Part IV) and Whitehead’s Religion in the Making. He audited Wieman’s other courses. The philosophy of A. N. Whitehead played a large role in their relationship and theology. With the sudden death of G. B. Smith, Wieman became Meland’s doctoral advisor. After completing the doctoral program, Meland spent the next year at Marburg University in Germany studying with Rudolf Otto. He came away from this experience having discovered that the stimulus and lure in the language of the arts had become for him an alternative to the moral way of expressing value, sensibility, and fulfillment of human experience. He returned from Europe to begin teaching at Central College in Missouri and in 1936 joined the faculty at Pomona College in Claremont, California. His association with Wieman continued in the 1930s as they co-authored American Philosophies of Religion (1936). While teaching at Central College, Meland authored Modern Man’s Worship (1934), and at Pomona College published Write Your Own Ten Commandments (1938), and The Church and Adult Education (1939).

In 1945, Meland joined Wieman at the Divinity School as Professor of Constructive Theology. Although Wieman soon retired, their connection continued throughout Wieman’s life. The Second World War had concluded and Meland was in a state of anguish and despair over the war and especially by the atomic bomb. In this troubled state of mind he published Seeds of Redemption (1947), America’s Spiritual Culture (1948), and The Reawakening of Christian Faith (1949). His next two publications were Higher Education and the Human Spirit (1953) and Faith and Culture (1955), with the latter considered by many as his most important work. While teaching at Chicago, Meland twice served twice as The Barrows Lectures in India. His lectures in 1957-58 were published as The Realities of Faith (1962). In 1963-64, he continued his theme of the relationship between faith and culture by focusing on the impact of secularization on modern cultures. These lectures were published as The Secularization of Modern Cultures (1966). His last book was Fallible Forms and Symbols (1977).

In the first section of this book, Meland’s “thought” is considered under four headings: Metaphysical View, Method, Doctrine of God, and View of Religion, followed by an evauation. Section two is devoted to his “Later Writings,” followed by a conclusion.

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