Neo-orthodox Theological Anthropology of Reinhold Niebuhr

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student in Comparative Studies of Religions, Christian Theology, University of Religions and Denominations, Qom, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy of Religion, Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute, Qom, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Abrahamic Religions, University of Religions and Denominations, Qom, Iran


Neo-orthodox Christian theology, also known as neo-reformist, crisis, or dialectical theology, was the first voice against liberal Christian theology which prevailed in Western civilization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Neo-orthodox theologians, though not entirely in agreement with each other, are unanimous in their opposition to the teachings of liberal theology and in their new return to orthodox theology. Reinhold Niebuhr is the main founder of American neo-orthodox theology. Anthropology is the main focus of his theology, which forms the basis of his theological teachings of social ethics and political theology. He has the most optimistic pessimistic view of human nature in the neo-orthodox theological approach. The theology of soul and the theology of sin are prominent in his anthropology. In Niebuhr's thought, man is a self-transcendent and self-conscious soul with dialectical relations in paradoxical situations. Man is inevitably a sinner although sin is not necessarily his nature. The first sin is not inherited in man, but in the tendency to rebel he is against God.


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