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Introduction to Prophet to the Powerful

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JLA-coverBy the James Luther Adams Foundation

Promoting the thought and work of James Luther Adams

The James Luther Adams Foundation is pleased to be a sponsor and a supporter of James Luther Adams: Prophet to the Powerful.  The Foundation was formed in 1977 to help Adams continue his scholarly work during his retirement.  It provided him with secretarial help and produced on videotape and DVD Adams and the church historian, George H. Williams, discussing the films Adams had taken in Germany during the rise of Nazi power in 1936.  It also arranged the disposition of Adams’ papers at the University of Syracuse research library.

Since the death of James Luther Adams in 1994, the JLA Foundation has concentrated on maintaining Adams’ intellectual history.  It does this by continuing the preservation of his tapes and papers and sponsoring the annual James Luther Adams Forum on Religion and Society.  Here lectures are given on topics associated with Adams’ particular concerns for relating Christian faith to society. For maximum exposure, they are moved around the country.

More information about the Foundation can be found on its web site, www.jameslutheradams.org, or by contacting it at 11 Miller Road, Beverly MA 01915-1315 or scmott@comcast.net (telephone and fax: 978-927-0216).

James Luther Adams
There are eight other anthologies of Adams’ essays (cf. the web site for more information on these).  James Luther Adams: Prophet to the Powerful stands out, however, in several ways.  Starting with four essays on his life, the papers progress in a manner that indicates his evolving social concerns over the several decades of his writing.  Most of the essays were previously published in a journal, The Unitarian Universalist Christian, which unfortunately is not widely distributed.  Now these essays are in a book and so available for purchase, easily located, and entering libraries that do not carry the journal.  Finally, the entire book is also online, making it accessible at all times in many parts of the world.  This book is a distinct contribution to the maintenance of the diverse and penetrating intellectual heritage of James Luther Adams.  For this the Foundation is deeply grateful to Herbert F. Vetter and the Harvard Square Library.

Stephen Charles Mott, President

The James Luther Adams Foundation


The entire text of James Luther Adams: Prophet to the Powerful is available online, below on this page. The following Table of Contents includes the pagination found in the original book.

Table of Contents

I. The Life of James Luther Adams 3
Taking Time Seriously, by James Luther Adams 5
A Biographical and Intellectual Sketch, by Max L. Stackhouse * 15
Harvard Faculty Memorial Minute, by George Kimmich Beach 43
A Celebration of Life, Max L. Stackhouse 49
II. James Luther Adams at 75* 55
Introduction by the Editor 57
The Evolution of My Social Concern 64
James Luther Adams
III. James Luther Adams Papers: Six Decades * 79
1. Pessimism and Optimism in Religion 81
2. Christianity and Humanism 91
3. The Stabilizer and the Shatterer 109
4. The Liberal Christian Looks at Himself 113
5. Festschrift: Presentation to Paul Tillich 130
6. The Body and the Soul of Learning 134
IV. James Luther Adams Papers** 141
Introduction by the Editor, Herbert F. Vetter 143
1. Our Enemy: Angelism 147
2. Religion’s Word Against Religion 154
3. The War of the Gods 156
4. Betraying the World with a Kiss 162
5. Perspectives on the Pluralistic Society 169
6. The Wrath and Love of God 176
7. The Creative Thrust of Conflict 178
8. By Their Groups Shall Ye Know Them 186
9. In the Fullness of Time 192
10. Originality 197
11. A Sense of a Cosmic Reality 203
12. Music: The Language of Hope 207
13. Art, Religion, and Utopia 210
14. Archibald Thompson Davison 214
15. Why Sing? 217
16. Crosses 220
17. The Crucifixion 225
18. The Bridge of Confidence 228
Blessed are the Powerful 231
A James Luther Adams Chronology 239

For a bibliography of the writings of James Luther Adams, see Not Without Dust and Heat: A Memoir by James Luther Adams, published by Exploration Press, Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois, 1995.

*This section is published courtesy of The Unitarian Universalist Christian, Spring/Summer, 1977, Vol. 32, Nos. 1-2

** This section is published courtesy of The Unitarian Universalist Christian, Fall 1993/Winter 1994, Vol. 48, Nos. 3-4

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