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From Henry Nelson Wieman

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Author: Wieman, Henry Nelson (Washington University)

Date: August 14, 1953

Location: St. Louis, Mo.

Genre: Letter

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr. - Education


In preparation for his dissertation, “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman,” King wrote Tillich and Wieman to inquire about work that others had done on the subject. He would later send similar inquiries to Reinhold Niebuhr and other American theologians.1 Wieman, a professor at Union Theological Seminary, was teaching at Washington University at the time of his response.

Dear Mr. King:

Thank you for the letter of August 5. It was delayed in reaching me because it had to be forwarded. I am teaching summer session here.

I know of only two writings that compare Tillich’s thought with my own. W. M. Horton in the volume on Tillich edited by Kegley and published by Macmillan, is one case. Also a few years ago a student at Union Theological Seminary in New York wrote a thesis on my thology, but as I come to hink of it he compared me with Brightman more than with Tillich.2 I have heard rumors of other such comparisons but cannot refer you to them.

I have a good deal of material not yet published but cannot send more than two pieces, partly because my mss. are at home and not here. But I am sending under separate cover two lectures that have been mimeographed and so are expendable.3 You need not {return them}

[signed] Henry N. Wieman

1. See, for example, King to Reinhold Niebuhr, 1 December 1953, pp. 222–223 in this volume.

2. See Walter Marshall Horton, “Tillich’s Role in Contemporary Theology,” in The Theology of Paul Tillich, ed. Charles W. Kegley and Robert W. Bretall (New York: Macmillan, 1952), pp. 26–47; and Arthur Raymond McKay, “A Critical Appraisal of Scientific Theology in the Writings of Henry N. Wieman” (S.T.M. thesis, Union Theological Seminary, 1946). This thesis does not appear in the bibliography for King’s dissertation.

3. See Henry Nelson Wieman, “Moral and Spiritual Values in Education, Sections I and II: ‘Spiritual Values Interpreted for Education’ and ‘The Problem of Religion in Education,’” 14 August 1953, CSKC.

Source: CSKC-INP, Coretta Scott King Collection, In Private Hands

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