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Wieman, Henry Nelson (1884-1975) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Wieman, Henry Nelson (1884-1975)

Historical Note:

Henry Nelson Wieman (1884-1975), one of America's leading theologians, was born on August 19, 1884 in Richhill, Missouri.  He received an A.B. in 1907 from Park College in Parkville, Missouri and studied at San Francisco Theological Seminary. He was awarded a fellowship to continue his research in Jena and Heidelberg, Germany under Nobel Prize winning religious philosopher Rudolf Euken.  In 1912, he returned to the U.S. and served as minister for two years in St. Joseph, Missouri and Davis, California.  Wieman then continued his studies at Harvard University, where he received a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1917.  From 1917 to 1927, Wieman taught in the philosophy department at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and then he served as a professor of religion at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago.

After his retirement from the University of Chicago in 1947, he taught at the University of Oregon, Washington University in St. Louis, Grinnell College, and at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  In 1966 Wieman retired for the second time. A prominent exponent of naturalistic theism, Wieman is best known for his attempts to apply scientific methods to religion.  His views on American theological thought came to the fore in 1926 when he published Religious Experience and the Scientific Method. In this work Wieman concluded that a proper religion must make a place for science if it is to face the facts of the contemporary world. He died in 1975.

Sources: SCRC Philosophy Guide

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