Agogic moments in the anthropology of Reinhold Niebuhr

Abstract :

Reviews Reinhold Niebuhr’s anthropology in order to establish its agogic relevance and possible contribution to knowledge of the agein. In his reflection on the nature of man, Niebuhr proposes a Christian view of man. He compares this Christian view of man with classical Greek views of man, as well as modern and contemporary modern views of man in naturalism, idealism and romanticism. Niebuhr claims that these classical Greek, and modern and contemporary modern views of man, fail to take into account all the facts of man’s existence. When describing man’s distinctiveness only in terms of mind, reason or spirit, these views neglect man’s involvement in nature; and when describing man only in terms of nature or natural processes, these views ignore man’s self-consciousness and self-transcendent freedom. Niebuhr argues that a Christian view of man based on biblical statements about man, sees man as a unity of body and spirit, of freedom and creatureliness. Man’s freedom and the nature of his existence are aspects directly related to the agein. In his theological endeavours, Niebuhr recognises man’s existential need for the support of his fellowman in realising a meaningful existence. Niebuhr acknowledges the distinctiveness of man and in so doing addresses man the anthropos who in essence determines the design of his world by creating structures, norms and values that all have a bearing on agogic endeavour. Niebuhr’s fundamental concern is with the quality of man’s existence. Agogic endeavours are functions of man’s need to improve the quality of his existence, and as such, it is contended that Niebuhr’s anthropology provides some benefit to the understanding of the requirements of the agein for authentic agogic endeavour.



Author Higgs P
Date Accessioned 2016-09-22T11:47:00Z
Date Available 2016-09-22T11:47:00Z
Date Created 1985
Identifier URL 1990
Subject 2
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