Paul van Buren

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Paul van Buren
Norfolk, Virginia
DiedJune 18, 1998
Memorial Hospital, Blue Hill, Maine
Alma materHarvard College, Episcopal Theological School, University of Basel
Literary movementDeath of God
SpouseAnne Hagopian (1927–2008)

Paul Matthews van Buren (April 20, 1924 – 1998) was a Christian theologian and author. An ordained Episcopal priest, he was a Professor of religion at Temple University, Philadelphia for 22 years. He was a Director [NYT obituary says "Associate" ] of the Center of Ethics and Religious Pluralism at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

He died of cancer on June 18, 1998 at age 74.[1]

Early life[edit]

Van Buren was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia. During World War II, he had served in the United States Coast Guard.[1]

Van Buren attended Harvard College, from which he graduated with a bachelor's degree in government, in 1948. He then attended the Episcopal Theological School, and received a bachelor's in sacred theology in 1951. It was after this that he was ordained as an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Massachusetts. He received a Th.D. in theology in 1957 from the University of Basel in Switzerland studying under Karl Barth.[1] A professor at Temple University, he was considered a leader of the "Death of God" school or movement, although he himself rejected that name for the movement as a "journalistic invention," and considered himself an exponent of "Secular Christianity."[1]


Below is an incomplete list of his works:[1]

  • The Secular Meaning of the Gospel: Based on an Analysis of Its Language
  • A Theology of the Jewish-Christian Reality (3 Volumes.)
  • The Edges of Language:An Essay in the Logic of a Religion
  • The Burden of Freedom
  • Theological Explorations
  • Christ in Our Place: The Substitutionary Character of Calvin's Doctrine of Reconciliation

See also[edit]