Reinhold Niebuhr and John Dewey frequently have been identified as the most influential American philosophers of their respective times. Although their direct contact in print and in political action was marginal, their substantive conflict over such issues as religion, naturalism, the liberal tradition, and democracy both reflected and shaped much of America's inner dialogue from 1932 to mid-century and beyond. In this intriguing book, Daniel Rice makes a strong case that, although the clash between Niebuhr and Dewey was real and important, in a wider context the two shared more insights than either realized.
Daniel F. Rice is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and is the author of a correspondence essay on "Felix Frankfurter and Reinhold Niebuhr: 1940-1964" which appeared in the Journal of Law and Religion (I:2, 1983).
"There is no other book that centers on a critical comparison of Niebuhr and Dewey. I have found Rice's book informative because of his use of unpublished sources—archives, oral histories, and interviews. He combines this research with original analytical insights. While the book focuses on two individuals, it illuminates a whole era of American social and intellectual history—an era that still influences us today. " — Roger L. Shinn, Union Theological Seminary, New York