Religion: Niebuhr at Yale

A reporter from the Yale Daily News was sent to report the visiting speaker. This time it was no routine chapel assignment. The News reporter wrote: "An electrically tense audience packed itself into Battell Chapel last night to hear Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr." The reporter did not exaggerate. For three successive nights Niebuhr, a lightning-fast speaker, held Yale undergraduates spellbound, and left behind a ferment of discussion.

To the audience in Battell Chapel, Nietuhr was no unheralded lecturer: Yale's undergraduates knew him as one of Protestantism's top thinkers, a scholar whose writing often taxes the understanding. But there was no trouble understanding his...

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