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A James Luther Adams Chronology

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Unitarian Universalist Christian Table of Contents

The James Luther Adams Papers

The Unitarian Universalist Christian, Vol. 48, nos. 3-4, Fall/Winter 1993

1901 Born November 12 at Ritzville, Washington; son of James Carey and Lella May (Barnett) Adams

1916 Left high school to help support family; learned stenography and worked for a prosecuting attorney

1917-1920 Private secretary to the Superintendent, then Chief Clerk of the Operating Division, Northern Pacific Railroad

1920 Entered the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate

1923-1924 Co-editor of undergraduate sheet, Angels’ Revolt

1924 A.B., University of Minnesota

1924-1927 Harvard Divinity School student, receiving the S.T.B. degree in 1927

1924-1925 Student assistant to the minister of All Souls Church, Lowell, Massachusetts—the minister being Arthur C. McGiffert, Jr.

1925-1927 Student minister of the Second Church in Salem, Massachusetts

1927 Summer study in Germany

1927-1934 Ordained to the Ministry by the Second Church in Salem on May 15, 1927, and served there as Minister

1927 Marriage to Margaret Ann Young on September 21. They have three children: Eloise, Elaine (Miller), Barbara (Adams Thompson)

1928 One of the organizers of the Greenfield Group, an Eastern liberal ministers’ study group meeting semi-annually

1929-1932 Instructor in English, Boston University

1930 M.A. in English, Harvard University

1930-1935 One of “The Religious Associates” of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO)

1933-1934 Editor, The Christian Register, American Unitarian Association periodical

1934-1935 Minister of the Unitarian Society, Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts

1934-1936 Co-initiator and then member of the Commission of Appraisal, AUA, which brought about a denominational reorganization as outlined in the Commission’s book, Unitarians Face a New Age

1935-1936 Study with Rudolf Otto in Germany, research on Bishop Hurd at Hartlebury Castle, seat of the Bishop of Worcester; weekly visits with Albert Schweitzer; St.-Sulpice Seminary, Paris, under spiritual director, Levassor-Beruz; associated with anti-Nazi “underground”

1936-1957 Professor at the Meadville Theological School, then also the Federated Theological Faculty, University of Chicago (beginning 1943)

1938-1948 Editorial Board, then Associate Editor, The Protestant

1938 Studied in England; lectured at international (I.A.R.F.) youth conference in the Netherlands; lived in Germany in ‘36 and ‘38 in Benedictine monastery, Maria Laach, to study Liturgical Movement

1939 “How My Mind Has Changed in the Past Decade,” The Christian Century

1939-1944 Editor of The Journal of Liberal Religion

1940 “On Being Human—the Liberal Way,” AUA Pamphlet 359

1941 Co-author of “Memoir” in Irving Babbit: Man and Teacher

1941 Delivered the Berry Street Lecture, “The Changing Reputation of Human Nature,” published in expanded form in 1942-1943

1942-1945 Member of Ecumenical Theological Seminar, Middle West. See JLA articles in The Journal of Religion: “The Law of Nature in Graeco-Roman Thought,” “The Law of Nature: Some General Considerations.” Later JLA taught, every third year at Chicago and Harvard, seminar on natural law

1942-1957 Helped to found the anti-isolationist Independent Voters of Illinois and held continuing leadership role during the Chicago years, including 3 terms as Chairman

1943-1954 Consultant, Chicago Council Against Racial and Religious Discrimination

1943-1957 Professor of Religious Ethics, University of Chicago; Chairman, Department of Ethics and Society

1944 “The Religious Problem,” in New Perspectives on Peace, University of Chicago Press

1945-1954 Advisory Board, Chicago Chapter, American Civil Liberties Union

1945 Ph.D., University of Chicago

1945-1962 National Theological Discussion Group, College of Preachers, Washington Cathedral

1945-1955 Advisory Board, American Christian Palestine Committee

1945 With Leo Szilard and some 60 professors, JLA released the first public protest against the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

1946 “A Faith for Free Men,” Together We Advance, Beacon Press

1947 Co-author of “Unitarians Unite!”—the report of the AUA Commission on Planning and Review, 1945-1947

1948 The Protestant Era by Paul Tillich. Translated, edited and with concluding essay by JLA, University of Chicago Press

1950 Officer of the Chicago Chapter, Christian Action

1950-1956 Associate Editor of the English Unitarian periodical, Faith and Freedom

1950 Dudleian Lecturer, Harvard Divinity School: “Natural Religion and the ‘Myth’ of the Eighteenth Century”

1951-1956 Co-editor, The Journal of Religion, University of Chicago

1952 On tour of Israel and the Middle East; lectured on Martin Buber at Cyprus, auspices of American Christian Palestine Committee

1952 “Paul Tillich’s Interpretation of History” in The Theology of Paul Tillich

1952 Lecturer at Albert Schweitzer College, Switzerland; lecturer on sociology of religion, Anglo-Catholic Theological College, Ely Cathedral; lecturer on “Our Responsibility in Society,” International Association for Liberal Christianity and Religious Freedom (I.A.R.F.), Oxford, England

1952 Chairman of the Advisory Board, Beacon Press

1953 William Belden Noble Lectures, Harvard University Visiting Professor, Harvard Divinity School

1954 Member of the International Council of La Societe Europeenne de Culture; annual columnist, Comprende

1954 Chairman of the Board of Trustees, The First Unitarian Church of Chicago, Illinois

1956-1962 Co-conductor, Seminar on Religion and Business Decisions, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration

1957 Taking Time Seriously, published by The Free Press

1957-1968 Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Professor of Divinity; Chairman, Department of Religion and Society, Harvard Divinity School; now Professor Emeritus

1957-1959 Massachusetts State Board, Americans for Democratic Action

1957-1959 President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (of which he was one of the founders in 1953)

1957-1963 Massachusetts State Board, American Civil Liberties Union; Chairman of its Church and State Committee, 1966-1968

1957 JLA the first theologian to be a member of the Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, for whom he wrote his essay on “Civil Disobedience,” Nomos XII, 1960

1958 Honorary Doctor of Divinity, Meadville Theological School

1958 Major articles published on “Ethics” and “The Social Import of the Professions”

1958 Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; as Chairman of the Committee on International Organizations, visited major learned academies of Europe, 1966-1968

1958 Lectured in Japan and India: International Association of the History of Religion, Tokyo and Kyoto; World Center for Buddhist Studies, Rangoon; Theological College, Bangalore

1960-1967 Co-conductor, extracurricular seminar on Religion and Law, Harvard Law School

1960 Honorary Doctor of Theology, University of Marburg, Germany

1960 Lectured in Holland at the Arminius Symposium. See “Arminius and the Structure of Society” in Man’s Faith and Freedom, edited by G. O. McCulloch

1960-1965 Massachusetts State Board, American Association for the United Nations

1961-1964 Coordinating Council, American Unitarian Association Commission on the Free Church in a Changing World

1962-1963 Delivered the Hibbert Lectures, “By Their Groups,” at Oxford, Manchester and Liverpool Universities; plus lecturing at Marburg, Bern, Berlin, as well as Padua, Italy

1962 Vatican Council II, First Session, Protestant Observer on behalf of the International Association for Religious Freedom

1963 “Ernst Troeltsch” and “Christian Socialism” articles published in Encyclopedia Britannica

1963 Translator of The Dogma of Christ, by Erich Fromm

1963 Fulbright Research Scholar, University of Marburg

1964-1968 Advisory Committee, Council for Population Studies, Harvard University; initiated Department for Population Studies at Harvard Divinity School

1965 Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science and Religion, published by Harper and Row

1965-1969 Chairman of the Advisory Committee, Department of Social Responsibility, Unitarian Universalist Association

1965 “James Luther Adams and His Demand for an Effective Religious Liberalism,” Ph.D. dissertation by James Dennis Hunt, Syracuse University, 700 pages

1966 International Congress on “Marx and the Western World,” Notre Dame University

1966 Voluntary Associations: A Study of Groups in Free Societies, Essays in Honor of James Luther Adams, edited by D. B. Robertson. Foreword by Paul Tillich; biographical intellectual sketch by Max L. Stackhouse; bibliography of JLA writings by Ralph B. Potter, Jr., Jean Potter, and James Hunt

1967 “Is Marx’s Thought Relevant to the Christian? A Protestant View,” in Marx and the Western World, edited by Nicholas Lobkowicz

1967 Lectured at the University of Mainz, Germany: “Theokratie, Kapitalismus und Demokratie: A Critique of Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic

1967-1968 President, American Society for Christian Ethics

1968 At the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association in Cleveland, Ohio, the UUA Holmes-Weatherly Award was presented: “To James Luther Adams as universal man, Christian socialist, apostle of voluntary associations, and prophet to the prophets”

1968-1972 Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics, Andover Newton Theological School

1968 Contributor to Wilhelm Pauck Festschrift, Interpreters of Luther

1968 Lecturer, Christian-Marxist Seminar, Charles University, Prague, Czechoslovakia

1969 Edited and translated What Is Religion?, by Paul Tillich

1969 Former HDS students of JLA formed FREE: the Fellowship for Racial and Economic Equality, to combat white racism. JLA has been chairman of the board. This developed into the Southeast Institute

1970 Co-author and co-editor with Seward Hiltner, Pastoral Care in the Liberal Churches

1970 Participant, Ciba Foundation Symposium. See The Family and Its Future, published in London

1970 Vice President, Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship (also 1977- )

1971 Editor and translator of Political Expectations by Tillich

1971 Contributor to Festschrift for Erich Fromm

1971 Vice President, Association for Voluntary Action Scholars

1971 Minister of Adult Education, Arlington Street Church, Boston

1971-1973 Chairman of the Board, Society of the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture

1972-1973 President of the American Theological Society

1972-1976 Professor of Theology and Religious Ethics, University of Chicago; Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Meadville/Lombard Theological School

1973 The Award for Distinguished Service to the Cause of Liberal Religion presented by the Unitarian Universalist Association

1973 Editorial Board, Journal of Religious Ethics; Editorial Adviser, The Unitarian Universalist Christian

1974 Executive Committee, North American Society for Tillich Studies

1974 Board of Associate Editors, Journal of Voluntary Action Research

1975 Honorary Fellow, Manchester College, Oxford University

1976 James Luther Adams Festival, Boston

1976 On Being Human—Religiously: Selected Essays on Religion and Society, by JLA, edited by Max L. Stackhouse, Beacon Press

1976 “God and Economics” in Belief and Ethics: Essays in Ethics, the Human Sciences, and Ministry in Honor of W. Alvin Pitcher, edited by W. Widick Schroeder and Gibson Winter

1977 James Luther Adams at 75, Special Issue of The Unitarian Universalist Christian, with an autobiographical essay and articles by JLA from six decades, edited by Herbert F. Vetter

1978 The Reconstruction of Morality, by Karl Holl, edited by JLA and Walter F. Bense

1979 D.H.L. (Hon.), Middlebury College

1980 “Being Human—the Liberal Way,” Cambridge Forum national public television series, I Call That Mind Free (videotape and audio tape)

1982“ Foreword” in Crisis and Consciousness: The Thought of Ernst Troeltsch, by Robert J. Rubanowice

1984 “Dialogue on Nazism,” JLA and George H. Williams

1984-1985 President of the Society for Art, Religion and Contemporary Culture

1985 The Thought of Paul Tillich, co-authored with Wilhelm Pauck and Roger L. Shinn

1985 “Legitimation,” with Thomas Mikelson, The Encyclopedia of Religion

1986 The Prophethood of All Believers, edited by George K. Beach

1986 Voluntary Associations: Socio-Cultural Analyses and Theological Interpretation, edited by J. Ronald Engel

1988 “The Weightier Matters of the Law,” in Festschrift for Harold Berman

1990 “Reminiscences of Paul Tillich,” Harvard Divinity Bulletin

1991 An Examined Faith: Social Context and Religious Commitment, edited by George K. Beach

1991 Translator with Walter F. Bense of Religion in History, by Ernst Troeltsch, with introduction by JLA

1991 “Voluntary Associations and Struggles for Human Rights,” chapter for a memorial volume honoring R. W. Taylor, for the Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, Bangalore, India

1992 “Preface,” The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches, by Ernst Troeltsch, Harper Torchbooks

1993 James Luther Adams Papers, edited and with an introduction by Herbert F. Vetter, The Unitarian Universalist Christian, Fall 1993-Winter 1994

1994 Death of James Luther Adams, July 26, 1994

1995 Not Without Dust and Heat: A Memoir, by James Luther Adams, Exploration Press of the Chicago Theological Seminary