Henry Cadbury

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Henry J. Cadbury
Henry Joel Cadbury sitting at a desk photo from AFSC archive.jpg
Born1 December 1883
Died7 October 1974 (91 years old)
Alma materHaverford College
Harvard University
AwardsNobel Peace Prize (on behalf of the American Friends Service Committee)
Scientific career
FieldsNew Testament
History of Christianity
InstitutionsHaverford College
Andover Theological Seminary
Bryn Mawr College
Harvard Divinity School

Henry Joel Cadbury (December 1, 1883 – October 7, 1974) was an American biblical scholar, Quaker historian, writer, and non-profit administrator.


A graduate of Haverford College, Cadbury was a Quaker throughout his life, as well as an agnostic.[1] Forced out of his teaching position at Haverford for writing an anti-war letter to the Philadelphia Public Ledger, in 1918, he saw the experience as a milestone, leading him to larger service beyond his Orthodox Religious Society of Friends. He was offered a position in the Divinity School at Harvard University, from which he had received his Ph.D., but he first rejected its teacher's oath for reasons of conscience, the Quaker insistence on telling the truth, and as a form of social activism. He later accepted the Hollis Professorship of Divinity (1934–1954). He also was the director of the Harvard Divinity School Library (1938–1954), and chairman (1928–1934; 1944–1960) of the American Friends Service Committee, which he had helped found in 1917. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[2] He delivered the Nobel lecture on behalf of the AFSC when it, together with the British Friends Service Council, accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 on behalf of the Religious Society of Friends.[3] He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1949.[4] He was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL. D.) degree from Whittier College in 1951.[5]

Controversial remarks[edit]

In 1934, Cadbury encouraged Jews to engage Nazis with good will, according to The New York Times, which characterized his stance as, "Good will, not hate or reprisals, will end, or offset, the evils of Hitler government's persecution of Jews."[6] The suggestion was repudiated by the rabbis he made it to, led by Stephen S. Wise.[7]

Select works[edit]


  • Cadbury, Henry J. (1919). The Style and Literary Method of Luke: Appendix to part III. Some inferences as to the detection of sources (Ph.D.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. OCLC 17893716.


  • National Ideals in the Old Testament. New York: Scribner’s. 1920. OCLC 3672266.
  • The Making of Luke-Acts. New York: MacMillan. 1927. OCLC 2709946.
  • The Peril of Modernizing Jesus. Lowell Institute lectures 1935. New York: MacMillan. 1937. OCLC 2697178.
  • Jesus: What Manner of Man. Shaffer lectures, 1946. New York: MacMillan. 1947. OCLC 646147.
  • The Book of Acts in History. Lowell Institute lectures, 1953. London: A. & C. Black. 1955. OCLC 759775493.
  • Quakerism and Early Christianity. Swarthmore lecture, 1957. London: George Allen & Unwin. 1957. OCLC 1139773.
  • The Eclipse of the Historical Jesus. Pendle Hill Pamphlet. Vol. 133. Wallingford, P: Pendle Hill Publications. 1964. OCLC 1303599.
  • John Woolman in England: A Documentary Supplement. Supplement ... to the Journal of the Friends Historical Society. Vol. 31. London: Friends Historical Society. 1971. OCLC 548894.

Edited by[edit]

Journal articles[edit]


  1. ^ "My Personal Religion", lecture given to Harvard divinity students in 1936.
  2. ^ "Henry Joel Cadbury". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved March 2, 2023.
  3. ^ Duncan, Lucy (August 15, 2018). "Civility Can Be Dangerous". Friends Journal.
  4. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved March 2, 2023.
  5. ^ "Honorary Degrees | Whittier College". www.whittier.edu. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  6. ^ "Urges Good Will By Jews For Nazis". The New York Times. New York City. June 14, 1934. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  7. ^ "Good Will Barred to Nazis by Rabbis; Wise Leads Wave of Objection to Advice by Cadbury, of Society of Friends". The New York Times. New York City. June 16, 1934. Retrieved July 10, 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bacon, Margaret H., Let This Life Speak: The Legacy of Henry Joel Cadbury. U of Pennsylvania P, 1987. ISBN 0-8122-8045-8.
  • Padilla, Osvaldo. "The Wirkungsgeschichte of Henry Joel Cadbury as an Objective Historian: An Exploration of America’s Premiere Luke–Acts Scholar." Bulletin for Biblical Research 29, no. 4 (2019): 499–510.

External links[edit]