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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

What Would President Niebuhr Do? Applying Niebuhrian Thought to Contemporary Politics

luncheon colloquium

chess pieces

R. Ward Holder, St. Anselm College
Peter Josephson
, St. Anselm College

Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Time: 12 - 1:15pm
Location: Boisi Center 

RSVP required. Click here to register.


R. Ward Holder and Peter Josephson, both from St. Anselm's College, will discuss their new book: Reinhold Niebuhr in Theory and Practice: Christian Realism and Democracy in America in the Twenty-First Century, during a lunch colloquium at the Boisi Center. The book takes up what the practical application of Niebuhrian policies would look like, as well as seeking to understand the country’s rapid move from a “Niebuhrian moment,” to an America First neo-populism. 

r ward holder headshot

R. Ward Holder is a historical and political theologian, and professor of theology at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. He writes on the Reformation, biblical interpretation, and the manner in which religious convictions shape modern politics and political theory. Among other works, he has authored John Calvin and the Grounding of Interpretation: Calvin’s First Commentaries, (Brill, 2006); and has edited A Companion to Paul in the Reformation, (Brill, 2009); and John Calvin in Context, (Cambridge, 2019). Among his political theological efforts he has co-authored, with Peter B. Josephson, The Irony of Barack Obama: Barack Obama, Reinhold Niebuhr, and the Problem of Christian Statecraft (Ashgate, 2012) and Reinhold Niebuhr in Theory and Practice: Christian Realism and Democracy in America in the Twenty-First Century, (Lexington, 2018).

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Peter Josephson is Professor of Politics and Chair of the Department of Politics at Saint Anselm College. From 2012 to 2015 he held the Richard L. Bready Chair in Ethics, Economics, and the Common Good. Josephson is the author of The Great Art of Government: Locke's Use of Consent (University Press of Kansas, 2002), and with R. Ward Holder, the co-author of The Irony of Barack Obama: Barack Obama, Reinhold Niebuhr, and the Problem of Christian Statecraft (Ashgate, 2012) and Reinhold Niebuhr in Theory and Practice: Christian Realism and Democracy in America in the Twenty-First Century (Lexington, 2018). Josephson’s articles and book chapters include work on Hobbes and Locke, theories of political economy, the political philosophy of Henry Kissinger, as well as works on politics and popular culture. His current research returns to the works of John Locke to explore the relation between philosophy and politics in the liberal regime.

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 IN THE NEWS

Comey in a 2016 press conference

This 2018 review of James Comey’s bestselling book A Higher Loyalty breaks down how Comey, who studied Niebuhr, applied some of his ideas in his practice as a public official and in his writing. Comey, who has been a major figure in recent American politics, was greatly influenced by Niebuhr's ideas on religion and politics. On Februrary 13th, join the Boisi Center for a luncheon colloquium hosted by R. Ward Holder and Peter Josephson entitled “What Would President Niebuhr Do? Applying Niebuhrian Thought to Contemporary Politics”.