Reinhold Niebuhr or James Cone: Who Is The Greatest American Theologian of All Time?

Adebayo Adeniran
3 min readMay 1, 2024

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Pixabay via Pexels

For the very longest time, America laboured in the shadow of its former colonial overlord — the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Owing to the primacy of the English language and extraordinarily powerful cultural influence of the mother country, the United States struggled to create its version of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton etc.

And religion and morality was no different.

Germany, which was something of a competitor, on every level, produced Max Webber, who authored a seminal work on Protestantism and its capitalistic underpinnings titled The Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism.

And it is against the backdrop of the changes in American society that the likes of Reinhold Niebuhr came into being.

Reinhold Niebuhr?


The child of German immigrants to the United States, Professor Niebuhr, perhaps more than the vast majority of his contemporaries, sought to make the case for morality in what would become the biggest empire in the history of humankind.



Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible