Reinhold Niebuhr's dialectical approach to the nature of man.
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Reinhold Niebuhr believes that in order to understand the ultimate meaning of the nature of man, Reality must be viewed in such a manner that that which seems to be contradictory may be examined and the contradiction resolved. This is his dialectical approach to the nature of man. Niebuhr's dialectical approach to the nature and destiny of man has been treated under three major aspects: The anthropological aspect, the historical aspect, and the Christological aspect. First, Niebuhr feels that there is a terrible contrast between the relatively decent, good behavior of man as an individual, and the immorality of men as demonstrated in society. This is an anthropological aspect of his interpretation of the nature of man. Second, Niebuhr reasons that there is no similarity between the Christian and the modern interpretation of history. In connection with the historical aspect of his treatment of man, he undertakes a systematic treatment of the different features of history. Third, Niebuhr contends that the fact of history implies the fact of freedom and that freedom presupposes sin. The sinful nature of man could not be atoned for by human manipulation. Only a man who was also God, like Christ Jesus, could make atonement for the sinful dimensions of human history. This is the Christological aspect of Niebuhr's interpretation of man and includes his explanation of the nature and mission of Christ Jesus. [TRUNUCATED]
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University
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