The literature on the life and legacy of the American Protestant thinker Reinhold Niebuhr has long been driven by questions about Niebuhr's continued relevance. Like other contributions to the recent “Niebuhr revival,” each of the three books under consideration here raises this question—John Patrick Diggins's Why Niebuhr Now? (2011) by offering a series of “sympathetic reflections” on Niebuhr's central claim that human beings are both creatures and creators of history (ix); Daniel F. Rice's edited volume Reinhold Niebuhr Revisited (2009) by inviting a cadre of top Niebuhr scholars to make the case for Niebuhr's relevance to a new generation; and Rice's own Reinhold Niebuhr and His Circle of Influence (2013) by contending that close attention to Niebuhr's formative relationships sheds light on his ongoing relevance.
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