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The Nature and Destiny of Man: A Christian Interpretation : Human Nature (Library of Theological Ethics) [Paperback]

By Reinhold Niebuhr, Robin W. Lovin (Introduction by), Brian Chisamore (Editor), Wellington Alves (Illustrator), Pepe Larraz (Illustrator) & Helton G. Baynes (Translator)
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Item Number 153835  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   684
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.12" Width: 6.06" Height: 1.47"
Weight:   2.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1996
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN  0664257097  
EAN  9780664257095  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
Reissue of Niebuhr's immensely influential masterpiece. Anthropology was Niebuhr's strongest suit, and this powerful overview highlights creation, the fall, the tension between finis and telos, pride and sensuality, hence the ambiguity of all social institutions.

Publishers Description

"The Nature and Destiny of Man" issues a vigorous challenge to Western civilization to understand its roots in the faith of the Bible, particularly the Hebraic tradition. The growth, corruption, and purification of the important Western emphases on individuality are insightfully chronicled here. This book is arguably Reinhold Niebuhr's most important work. It offers a sustained articulation of Niebuhr's theological ethics and is considered a landmark in twentieth-century thought.

The Library of Theological Ethics series focuses on what it means to think theologically and ethically. It presents a selection of important and otherwise unavailable texts in easily accessible form. Volumes in this series will enable sustained dialogue with predecessors though reflection on classic works in the field.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Revolutionary Theological Treatise  Jan 31, 2006
There has been no book written in the last 1900 years that better explains the human condition and the Christian response to it. Niebuhr draws from an extensive understanding of political science, psychology, history, and religion to explain the origin and nature of sin. He elaborates on the abortive efforts of the ego to overreach the human condition through partial and disingenuous strategies. He reflects on why collectives, lacking the constraints of individual conscience, so dramatically exceed the sinfulness of the individuals that constitute them.

Systems of human justice are always compromises between competing wills. Thus, perfect love that enters into history is destined to be sacrificed; a fact revealed most vividly in the tragedy of the Cross.
Absorbing and Rewarding  Oct 25, 2003
In the Nature and Destiny of Man, Reinhold Niebuhr, the influential "Christian realist" theologian, deals with big issues: the nature of man, history, and the end of the history. He offers deep - I would say profound - support for his views, but not proof. He offers one interpretation of the meaning of life's mysteries but not the only possible interpretation.

Niebuhr begins by arguing that the Christian view of man's nature, compared with alternative views, is more complete and offers more explanatory power. According to the Christian view, man is made in the image of God. Unlike alternative views that establish a good/bad duality between mind and body, in the Christian view, both mind and body are good because both are created by God. Man is made to live in harmony with others and God's will but violates this harmony when he - inevitably - makes himself the center and source of meaning for his life.

Man has tremendous creative and imaginative powers, and his mind can transcend both itself (since he can make his own thoughts the object of contemplation) and the natural world (since he can manipulate natural forces to create new possibilities and vitalities of nature). Because man cannot find ultimate meaning in what he can transcend, he cannot find ultimate meaning within himself or in the natural world. This is why we turn to religion.

Christianity is a religion of revelation, meaning that Christians believe that God must speak to us in order for us to arrive at a correct understanding of his nature and will. If the Bible is to be believed, God spoke to man throughout history but his message was not clearly understood. Because of our misunderstanding, and because God's law is so radically different from man's law, Jesus' message was highly offensive to his listeners. What Jesus told us is that God overcomes evil not by destroying evildoers but by taking their evil upon himself. God's love is suffering love.

To live in accordance with the law of love seems to require that we accept the reality of an existence beyond this life. If the reality of this other existence is denied, then Jesus' statement that "whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" makes no sense.

Yet, we are not to despise this life. To be righteous, to a Christian, means to serve others, and we need to strive after intermediate and partial arrangements that help point the way toward ultimate resolutions and revelations. God provides ultimate meaning. Just as the human mind can provide meaning to a sequence of chronological events by comprehending them all in an instant, so God provides meaning by comprehending all events both prospectively and retrospectively.

This poor summary of what Niebuhr has to say on the largest subjects makes it sound as if this is a very otherworldly book. It is not. The book contains a great deal of keen observation of human behavior and current events at the outset of World War II, and Niebuhr later became extremely influential in the U.S. State Department. Niebuhr's observations on politics and social justice still speak to us with great immediacy.

Best 20th Century Theological Work  Sep 24, 2000
This work is known to be a classic, and in my opinion, it is the best written last century. I even enjoyed R. Niebuhr better than Tillich and Barth. His erudition and conclusions are powerful and engaging. I recommend reading this for those familiar with political thought and philosophy of the modern era. By no means is this work parochial, it scope makes it a enthralling read even for those who find themselves outside to sprectrum of Christian belief.
The Nature and Destiny of Man : A Christian Interpretation  Jul 20, 2000
Niebuhr has developed the most balanced statement of our character, identity, and core behavior motivations. He references all major worldviews from Eastern Naturalisms to Western Rationalism to Bibilical Revelation. The Bibilical Worldview provides the most balanced perspective of our human nature, which is offensive to the contrasting perspectives. In Volume 1, he identifies our form and our vitality as essential components of our nature. He also identifies that our desire for freedom, our ability to transend our natural state, and our self interest leads to "Man's Problem." Volume 2 focuses on worldviews that have messianic expectations and resolutions of history through corporate indentities. One can understand Niebuhr's perspecive on the eve of WWII's Fascist nations. In summary, this is absolutely one of the best works I have read to help clarify our human nature. His perspective is pragmatic, but is still very focued on core christian doctrines. Buy it, read it, wait a year, read it again, and ponder the depth and breath of his insights!

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