bMS 630

Niebuhr, H. Richard.  Papers, 1919-1962.

Summary Information

  • Call Number: bMS 630
  • Title: Niebuhr, H. Richard. Papers, 1919-1962
  • Repository: Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School, 45 Francis Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138-1911
  • Quantity: 5 boxes (1.75 cu. ft.)

Administrative Information:

  • Acquisition Information: Papers donated by Richard R. Niebuhr
  • Access: There are restrictions on access to this collection. Consult the curator of manuscripts and archives for further information.

Biographical Information:

Helmut Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962), a leading twentieth-century American Protestant theologian and churchman, is known for his contributions to Christian ethics, for his social analysis of American denominationalism, his interpretation of American religious history, study of American theological education, and authorship of books and essays advancing "theocentric" theology. The younger brother of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, Helmut was born in Missouri, and was educated at Elmhurst College, Eden Theological Seminary, Washington University, Yale Divinity School, and Yale University, where he received a PhD in religion in 1924. In 1916, he was ordained a minister in the Evangelical Synod, which later merged with the German Reformed Church in America. He taught at Eden Theological Seminary (1919-1922; 1927-1931) and was president of Elmhurst college from 1924 to 1927. From 1931 until 1962, he taught theology and Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School. Some of his major works include: The Social Sources of Denominationalism (1929); The Purpose of the Church and Its Ministry (1956); The Kingdom of God in America (1937); The Meaning of Revelation (1941); Christ and Culture (1951); Radical Monotheism and Western Culture (1960); The Responsible Self (1962); and Faith on Earth: An Inquiry into the Structure of Human Faith (1989).

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of Niebuhr's published and unpublished works. It is arranged into five series: 

  • I. Addresses (1939?-1959)
  • II. Lectures (1939-1962)
  • III. Sermons (1936-1962)
  • IV. Teaching Materials (1949-1961)
  • V. Writings (1919?; 1937-1962).

Each series is arranged alphabetically. The lectures include both single lectures and lectures given in series, such as the Cole Lectures at Vanderbilt University, the Earl Lectures at the Pacific School of Religion, the Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Swander Lectures at the Theological Seminary of the Evangelical and Reformed Church. The teaching materials include the "Christian Ethics" lectures given by Niebuhr at Yale Divinity School (1949-1961). For a good overview of much of the material in this collection, see H.R. Niebuhr: Theology, History, and Culture: Major Unpublished Writings, edited by William Stacy Johnson and published by Yale University Press, 1996, and Faith on Earth: An Inquiry into the Structure of Human Faith, by H. Richard Niebuhr, published by Yale University Press, 1989.

This collection contains some overlap of materials with bMS 695. They include several of the Cole Lectures and Earl Lectures, as well as some addresses and sermons. As both collections consist of annotated or different drafts, they have been retained in their respective collections.

For related collection, please see bMS 695.

Container List:

Series I. Addresses, 1939(?)-1959

  • bMS 630/1 (1) "The Anachronism of Jonathan Edwards," Given on the Bicentennial of Edwards's death, 1958. Published in Theology, History, and Culture: Major Unpublished Writings: H. Richard Niebuhr, edited by William Stacy Johnson, Yale University Press, 1996. 
  • bMS 630/1 (2) "Dr. Martin Buber's Eightieth Birthday," and letter regarding manuscript, New York, April 15, 1958. Published in Theology, History, and Culture.
  • bMS 630/1 (3) "In Quietness and Confidence," Elmhurst Commencement, 1955, and Wellesley Baccalaureate, 1956.
  • bMS 630/1 (4) "Is There an American Church?" Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 6, 1955.
  • bMS 630/1 (5) "Life on the Boundary," Garrett Biblical Institute Baccalaureate, 1952 and Lancaster Theological Seminary Commencement, 1959.
  • bMS 630/1 (6) "Martin Luther and the Renewal of Human Confidence," Valparaiso University Centennial.
  • bMS 630/1 (7) "The Reason in Faith and the Faith in Reason," Convocation address, Associated Colleges, Claremont, California, November 14, 1957.
  • bMS 630/1 (8) "The Reformers' Ideal of a Church in the World," World Alliance of Presbyterian Churches, Albany, 1939(?)
  • bMS 630/1 (9) "Social Gospel and the Mind of Jesus," American Theological Society, New York City, April 21, 1933. Published in The Journal of Religious Ethics, vol. 16, no. 1, 1988.
  • bMS 630/1 (10) "A Theologian's Approach to History: History's Role in Theology," American History Association, n.d. Published in Theology, History, and Culture.
  • bMS 630/1 (11) "Theology in a Time of Disillusionment," Alumni Address, Yale Divinity School, 1931, Published in Theology, History, and Culture.
  • bMS 630/1 (12) "Theology of Education," transcript of address, n.d., and letter from J. Edwards Dirks, December 28, 1953. 

Series II. Lectures, 1939-1962

  • bMS 630/1 (13) "American Religion: Its Roots and Faith" [Three Lectures/Notes], Council Secretaries Conference, Lake Geneva, June 17-21, 1957.
  • bMS 630/1 (14) "Cole Lecture I: [The Position of Theology Today]," Vanderbilt University, April 1961. Published in Theology, History, and Culture. Also see bMS 695.
  • bMS 630/1 (15) "Cole Lecture II: [Resymbolization of the Christian Doctrine]," Vanderbilt University, April 1961. Published in Theology, History, and Culture. Also see bMS 695.  
  • bMS 630/1 (16) "Cole Lecture III: Toward the Recovery of Feeling," Vanderbilt University, April 1961. Published in Theology, History, and Culture. Also see bMS 695.
  • bMS 630/1 (17) "Cole Lecture IV: Toward the Service of Christendom," Vanderbilt University, April 1961.
  • bMS 630/1 (18) Earl Lecture I: "Metaphors and Morals," Pacific School of Religion, 1962. Published in The Responsible Self: An Essay in Christian Moral Philosophy, published posthumously by Harper and Row, 1963. Also see bMS 695.
  • bMS 630/1 (19) Earl Lecture II: "The Meaning of Responsibility," Pacific School of Religion, 1962. Published in Responsible Self. Also see bMS 695.
  • bMS 630/1 (20) Earl Lecture III: "Responsibility and Christ: The Christian Ethos as a Type of Universal Responsibility," Pacific School of Religion, 1962. Published in Responsible Self. Also see bMS 695.
  • bMS 630/1 (21) Earl Lecture [not numbered]: "The Relation of Christianity and Democracy," Berkeley Divinity School, October 1940. Published in Theology, History, and Culture.
  • bMS 630/1 (22) "The Idea of Original Sin in American Culture," Princeton University, February 24, 1949. Published in Theology, History, and Culture.
  • bMS 630/1 (23) "The Limitation of Power and Religious Liberty," Williams College, 1939. Published in Religion and Values in Public Life, vol. 3, no. 2, Winter, 1995, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA.
  • bMS 630/1 (24) "Living Tradition in Theology," Hartford Seminary, October 1956 and Illif School of Theology, January 22, 1957.
  • bMS 630/1 (25) "On the Meaning of Responsibility," Cambridge University and Bonn, June 28, 1960. Published in Responsible Self. Also see bMS 695.
  • bMS 630/1 (26) A page of introductory remarks for lectures on "Faith," the three interwoven themes of lectures. n.d.; notation: "intended for lectures, not for book." [intended intro for Stone Lectures?]
  • bMS 630/1 (27) "Protestantism and Democracy in America," three convocation lectures in outline form; Lecture titles: "Protestant Sources of American Democracy," "Democratic Sources of American Protestantism," and "The Formation and Reformation of American Protestantism," January 22, 1958.
  • bMS 630/1 (28) "Reflections on a 'Protestant Theory of Higher Education,'" 1959.
  • bMS 630/1 (29) Stone Lectures I: "Knowledge of Faith" and book material, Princeton Theological Seminary, n.d. (academic year 1951-1952). Includes "Knowing and Believing." (Also referenced in Faith on Earth: An Inquiry into the Structure of Human Faith, by H. Richard Niebuhr, edited by Richard R. Niebuhr, Yale University Press, 1989).
  • bMS 630/1 (30) Stone Lectures II: "Structure of Faith" and "The Trialectic of Faith," Princeton Theological Seminary, n.d. (academic year 1951-1952). Referenced in Faith on Earth.
  • bMS 630/1 (31) Stone Lectures III: "The Broken Structure of Faith," Princeton Theological Seminary, n.d. (academic year 1951-1952). Referenced in Faith on Earth.
  • bMS 630/1 (32) Stone Lectures IV: "Jesus Christ and the Reconstruction of Faith," Princeton Theological Seminary, n.d. (academic year 1951-1952). Referenced in Faith on Earth.
  • bMS 630/1 (33) Stone Lectures V: "The Community of Faith," Princeton Theological Seminary, n.d. (academic year 1951-1952). Referenced in Faith on Earth.
  • bMS 630/2 (1) Swander Lectures I: "Faith in Question," Theological Seminary of the Evangelical and Reformed Church, November 13, 1950. Referenced in Faith on Earth.
  • bMS 630/2 (2) Swander Lectures II: "The Threefold Bond," November 14, 1950. Referenced in Faith on Earth.
  • bMS 630/2 (3) Swander Lectures III: "Community of Faith," November 14, 1950. Referenced in Faith on Earth.
  • bMS 630/2 (4) Swander Lectures IV: "Mediation of Faith," November 14, 1950. Referenced in Faith on Earth.

Series III: Sermons, 1936-1962

  • bMS 630/2 (5) "An Academic Credo," Vassar College, February 26, 1961
  • bMS 630/2 (6) "Consoling Thought of Divine Judgment," Connecticut College for Women, February 28, 1954; Wellesley, March 14,1954; and Pennsylvania State, March 21, 1954
  • bMS 630/2 (7) "The Definition of Man," University of North Carolina Baccalaureate, May 31, 1959
  • bMS 630/2 (8) "Doubting Believers and Believing Doubters," April 28, 1957
  • bMS 630/2 (9) "Ethics of Survival," March 4, 1962
  • bMS 630/2 (10) "Freedom and Our Calling," Ordination Sermon, Newton, Massachusetts, October 16, 1949
  • bMS 630/2 (11) "Going Home," North Cornwall, August 19, 1951
  • bMS 630/2 (12) "Hope of Glory," Duke University, February 2, 1957, and Toronto, n.d.
  • bMS 630/2 (13) "Hope of Glory [single page concluding with]," incomplete text, n.d.
  • bMS 630/2 (14) [Kingdom of God and Lost Sheep], C. Howard Hopkins ordination, New Haven, 1936
  • bMS 630/2 (15) "The Logic of the Cross," n.d. Published in Theology, History, and Culture.
  • bMS 630/2 (16) "Lord's Prayer," Transcript based on tape recording, Union Theological Seminary, 1953
  • bMS 630/2 (17) "Man's Word to God," Union Theological Seminary, n.d., and Wellesley, Palm Sunday, 1953
  • bMS 630/2 (18) "Man's Work and God's," n.d. Published in Theology, History, and Culture. Also see bMS 695.
  • bMS 630/2 (19) "The Old Time Religion Isn't Good Enough," Connecticut College, October 25, 1959, and Guilford First Congregation, December, 4, 1959
  • bMS 630/2 (20) "Our Reverent Doubt and Authority of Christ," Yale Divinity School Anniversary Sermon, June 6, 1948. Published in Theology, History, and Culture.
  • bMS 630/2 (21) "Preacher's Poverty and the Unsearchable Riches of Christ," Ordination Sermon, November 26, 1950 and June 10, 1952; Berkeley Divinity School sermon, January 11, 1951
  • bMS 630/2 (22) "Shape of Things to Come," Connecticut College Baccalaureate, New London, June 5, 1943. Also see bMS 695.
  • bMS 630/2 (23) "Spirit That Lives In Us and In Which We Live," Connecticut College, May 5, 1953 and Vassar College, May 17, 1953
  • bMS 630/2 (24) "What Is Man?" Wesleyan University Baccalaureate, June 10, 1956
  • bMS 630/2 (25) "The Wisdom of Survival and the Logic of the Cross," n.d.

Series IV: Teaching Materials, Course Lectures, and Student Notes, 1949-1961

  • bMS 630/2 (26) "Christian Ethics" Lectures for Yale Divinity School Course Instruction, 1949-1961, folder 1
  • bMS 630/2 (27) "Christian Ethics" Lectures for Yale Divinity School Course Instruction, 1949-1961, folder 2
  • bMS 630/3 (1) Miscellaneous "Christian Ethics" lecture notes, Yale Divinity School course, 1952-1959
  • bMS 630/3 (2) Prayers used by H.R. Niebuhr in his lectures on "Christian Ethics," Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut, n.d.
  • bMS 630/3 (3) Syllabi and notes for "Christian Ethics," Yale Divinity School, n.d.
  • bMS 630/3 (4) Transcript of student notes—"Christian Ethics" lectures, Yale Divinity School course, January-May 1952

Series V: Writings, 1919? and 1937-1962

  • bMS 630/3 (5) "The Alter-Ego Dialogue and Conscience," published in abbreviated form in Journal of Philosophy, XLII, June 21, 1945.
  • bMS 630/3 (6) "Attempt at Theological Analysis of Missionary Motivation," April 16, 1951
  • bMS 630/3 (7) "Christian Interpretation of War," Federal Council Commission(?), 1943. Published in Theology, History, and Culture.
  • bMS 630/3 (8) "The Church Defines Itself in the World,"1958. Published in Theology, History, and Culture.
  • bMS 630/3 (9) "Conscience: Its Role in Ethics and Religion," American Theological Society, New York Society, April 7, 1945
  • bMS 630/3 (10) "Doctrine of Trinity and Unity of Church," July 9,1946; published in Theology Today, October 1946. Published in Theology, History, and Culture.
  • bMS 630/3 (11) "The Fact of the Christian Community—Trialectic Reasoning: The Self, the Christian, and the God in Christ," collection of Niebuhr's writings collected and edited by Joe Matthews, Perkins School of Theology. Most of the materials in this folder appear to have been published in various publications with citations given at the bottom of the manuscript. Titles include the following bulleted items:

    • "Value-Theory and Theology," essay from The Nature of Religious Experience, Harper and Brothers Publishers, New York and London, 1937, pp. 93-116
    • "The Nature and Existence of God," reproduced with permission from MOTIVE (Magazine of the Methodist Student Movement), December, 1943
    • "Utilitarian Christianity," Christianity and Crisis, July 8, 1946
    • "Toward the Independence of the Church," from The Church Against the World, Niebuhr, Miller, and Pauck
    • "The Disorder of Man in the Church of God," notation says "Amsterdam Volume"
    • "Towards a New Other-Worldliness," Theology Today, April 1944, vol. 1, no. 1
    • "The Ego-Alter Dialectic and the Conscience," Journal of Philosophy, June 21, 1945
    • "The Responsibility of the Church for Society," The Gospel, the Church, and the World. Ed. By K.S. Latourette, Interseminary Series. Vol. III.
    • "Evangelical and Protestant Ethics," The Heritage of the Reformation, ed. Arndt, 1950
    • "War as the Judgment of God," Christian Century, 1941
    • "The Gift of the Catholic Vision," Theology Today, 4:4, January 1948
    • "The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Unity of the Church," Theology Today, 3:3, October 1946

  • bMS 630/3 (12) [Faith preliminary materials] "Between Barth and Schleiermacher," etc; for analysis of faith, n.d.
  • bMS 630/3 (13) [Faith] Notes for "Memphis" Lectures, includes: "Faith and the Common Life," "The Broken Structure of Faith," and "The Reconstruction of Faith," n.d., referenced in Faith on Earth.
  • bMS 630/3 (14) [Faith] Notes for "Johns Hopkins talk," n.d., folder 2 
  • bMS 630/3 (15) [Faith] "On the Nature of Faith," n.d.., folder 3
  • bMS 630/3 (16) [Faith] Syllabus and "Faith as a Virtue," n.d., folder 4
  • bMS 630/3 (17) "Faith in Question: Chapter One," bearing the general title, "Faith on Earth: An Inquiry into the Structure of Faith," n.d. Referenced in Faith on Earth
  • bMS 630/3 (18) "Faith in Question," two drafts, 1952 and 1953. Referenced in Faith on Earth.
  • bMS 630/3 (19) "Faith on Earth: Reflections and Essays on Human Confidence and Loyalty," Preliminary matter and sketch of table of contents, n.d. Referenced in Faith on Earth.
  • bMS 630/4 (1) "The Grand Line of the Church in the World," unfinished essay.
  • bMS 630/4 (2) "Introductory Essay on Language and Theology," intended at one time as an introduction to the six chapters of "On Faith," bMS 630/4 (8), contained in this collection.
  • bMS 630/4 (3) "Kingdom of God and Eschatology (Social Gospel and Barthianism)," n.d. Published in Theology, History, and Culture. Also see bMS 695.
  • bMS 630/4 (4) "Knowledge of Faith," four chapters and letter from Richard R. Niebuhr about manuscript, 1947(?) Referenced in Faith on Earth.
  • bMS 630/4 (5) "Knowledge of Faith—reading notes," n.d.
  • bMS 630/4 (6) "Norm of the Christian Character of the Church," n.d.
  • bMS 630/4 (7) Notes on Trinity and on analysis of faith, n.d.
  • bMS 630/4 (8) "On Faith," six chapters, numbered in several ways; n.d., chapter one is the same as the ms listed in folder bMS 630/4 (17), see also bMS 630/4 (2). Referenced in Faith on Earth.
  • bMS 630/4 (9) "The Pathology of Unbelief," n.d.
  • bMS 630/4 (10) "Reflections on Faith, Hope, and Love," three drafts of essay and letter dated December 30, 1955.
  • bMS 630/4 (11) "The Responsible Self," or "Universal Responsibility," draft of first chapter of projected book on responsibility, "Chapter I: Metaphors and Morals," found on H.R. Niebuhr's desk at the time of death, 1962. Referenced in Responsible Self. Also see bMS 695.
  • bMS 630/4 (12) "The Responsible Self," or "Universal Responsibility," draft of second chapter of projected book on responsibility, "Chapter II: The Meaning of Responsibility," found on H.R. Niebuhr's desk at the time of death, 1962. Referenced in Responsible Self. Also see bMS 695.
  • bMS 630/4 (13) "Responsibility to Divine Action, Part II," fragment, n.d.
  • bMS 630/4 (14) "Theology and Critique of Christian Life," and "Is Theology Basic to Christian Ethics?" and five letters regarding manuscript presentation, 1957-1958.
  • bMS 630/4 (15) "Threat and Promise in Our Crisis," two versions labeled Part I and Part II, October, no year given
  • bMS 630/4 (16) "Types of Christian Ethics,"1942. A version of this essay has been published in Authentic Transformation: A New Vision of Christ and Culture, by Glen H. Stassen. Abingdon 1996. 
  • bMS 630/4 (17) Untitled essay on the [Kingdom Gospel and Other Worldliness], Union Theological Seminary, 1919(?).
  • bMS 630/4 (18) "When Half-Gods Go," n.d.
  • bMS 630/4 (19) "Who Are the Unbelievers and What Do They Believe?" paper written for the Commission on Evangelism-World Council, Summer 1953.
  • bMS 630/5 Microfilm of collection.

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