History‎ > ‎

A Brief History

A Brief History of the American Theological Society

By Daniel L. Migliore, Karlfried Froehlich, March 1, 2017


Beginnings

Founded in 1912 and in continuous existence since that time, the American Theological Society is the oldest theological society in North America. The idea of forming a society for discussion of theological topics began in conversations in 1911 between Professors Eugene W. Lyman of Union Theological Seminary and Douglas Clyde Macintosh of Yale Divinity School. They shared their idea with Professor William Adams Brown of Union who quickly lent his support to the proposal. In February, 1912, Professor Brown invited to his home in New York City Professors Edward Caldwell Moore (Harvard), Dickinson Sergeant Miller (General Theological Seminary), and Douglas Clyde Macintosh to discuss the matter further. Agreeing that the creation of such a society was both needed and desirable, the group formulated its aims as follows:

1. The promotion of fuller acquaintance and fellowship among those working in the field of theology;

2. The stimulus to constructive thought that might be expected to arise from discussion at close range of topics of common special interest;

3. The fact that in modern Christianity denominational differences seemed less important while new problems have emerged which are common to all communions and which can be discussed in an irenic spirit;

4. The shift of interest and emphasis taking place from historical-critical to constructive problems;

5. The possibility of suggesting topics that ought to be considered afresh in the general domain of systematic theology.

After an invitation was sent to a number of professors of theology in the Eastern United States to consider taking part in the project, a meeting was held at Union Theological Seminary in New York City on April 8, 1912. In addition to Professors William Adams Brown (Union), Dickinson Sergeant Miller (General Theological Seminary), and Douglas Clyde Macintosh (Yale), who had attended the preliminary meeting in February, others in attendance were: Eugene W. Lyman (Bangor), Daniel Evans (Andover), Edward Staples Drown (Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA) George Cross (Newton), Frank Chamberlin Porter and Elias Hershey Sneath (Yale), Allen Macy Dulles (Auburn), Dickinson Sergeant Miller (General), Raymond Collyer Knox (Columbia), Arthur Cushman McGiffert (Union), Milton G. Evans and Spencer Byron Meeser (Crozer). Following discussion, it was voted to proceed to organization, and an executive committee was formed to draft a constitution which contained the following articles:

Article I. Name: The Name of this organization shall be the Theological Society.

Article II. Purpose: The Purpose of the society shall be to promote the interests of present-day constructive theology, by the holding of meetings for the discussion of theological problems and for the furthering of acquaintance and fellowship among those working in the field and by arranging for co-operation in theological investigation.

Article III. Membership. The membership shall consist of those who have responded favorably to the first general invitation and of such others as shall later, on nomination of the executive committee, be received by vote of the members present at any regular meeting of the society. There shall be an annual membership fee of one dollar.

Article IV. Officers and Committees. The officers shall be elected at the last meeting of the academic year, and shall be a president, a vice president, and a secretary treasurer who together with two other members of the society, shall constitute the executive committee. Further committees may be appointed as need arises.

Article V. Meetings. There shall ordinarily be two regular meetings of the society annually at such times and places as may be arranged by the executive committee. The members attending any regular meeting of the society shall constitute a quorum.

Article VI. Amendments. This constitution may be amended at any regular meeting of the society by a two-thirds vote of the members present.

After the vote to approve the constitution, the first officers of the Society were elected: Professor William Adams Brown, President; Professor Daniel Evans, Vice President, Professor Douglas Clyde Macintosh, Secretary-Treasurer, and Professors Edward Staples Drown and George Cross as the two at-large members of the Executive Committee.

The name of the Society was changed in 1926 from the Theological Society to the American Theological Society. From the outset and for practical reasons, the geographical reach of the Society was not envisioned to embrace more than the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.


The first meeting was held at Union Theological Seminary
in New York City on April 8, 1912.


Place and Time of Meetings

At the organizational meeting of the Society, those present agreed that the location of the Society’s meetings would be Union Theological Seminary in New York City. This arrangement would continue from 1912 to 1980, the one exception being 1975 when the Society met at Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. In 1980, the Society voted to hold its annual meeting at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ, and this new arrangement has continued to the present, with the exception of the 1998 meeting which was held at General Theological Seminary in New York City. For several years meetings were semi-annual, one in the fall and one in the spring. However, in 1918, due to the exigencies of the War, it was decided to omit the autumn meeting. Thereafter one annual meeting has remained the practice. From early on, the meeting date has generally been set on a Friday and Saturday a week or so prior to or after Easter. With the Society’s expansion to include Jewish and Orthodox members, the meeting date has been chosen to avoid conflict with Passover and Orthodox Easter.


Membership Eligibility

At its inception, the charter members determined that the Society should be “a small body confined to experts” and limited geographically, “not attempting to draw from the whole country.” It was further agreed that nominations of new members were to be made by the Executive Committee.

In 1947, a resolution was adopted stating that the emphasis of the Society was “mainly” in systematic theology. The resolution continued: “Theology is understood to include systematic, historical, and Biblical disciplines, and the philosophy, psychology and history of religion—the latter understood primarily as sources of materials for discussion of systematic problems.”

In 1957, the Executive Committee reaffirmed the basic convictions of the Society concerning membership: 1. To include in the Society members of the American theological community whose scholarly achievements provide the basis for effective discussion; 2. To focus on constructive, systematic theology without neglect of closely related scholarly disciplines; 3. To recognize the need for the widest representation possible of accredited seminaries and other institutions of higher learning.

In 1976, a resolution on membership further clarified the range and criteria of eligibility:

1. Definition of Eligibility: Any person in North America whose achievement in the discipline of theology, broadly conceived, is of sufficient merit to promise significant contribution to the field;

2. Criteria of Evaluation: A. Scholarly devotion to reflection, critical and/or constructive study of theology, as distinct from general religious studies; B. Evidence of excellence in theological research and writing, meaning at least one work of significance; C. Strong, informed recommendation by a member of the Society; D. Evidence of willingness to participate responsibly in the meetings of the Society.

In 1980 the Society reaffirmed the principle that, while the “core membership of the Society was, and properly should be, persons with a professional commitment to systematic theology, the Society wanted and needed representatives of other theological disciplines.” It was further agreed that although a balance of disciplines was highly desirable, “nothing approaching a quota-system should be contemplated.” Additionally, it was decided that new members to be recommended “should normally be resident in the Eastern region of the United States or Canada; but no member of the Society shall lose membership on account of geographical location.”

At present the nomination process is as follows: The chair of the nominating committee requests nominations from members of the Society. Each nomination must be accompanied by an informed statement of support by the nominator and a dossier of the nominee. At the next annual meeting of the Society, nominations are presented, dossiers are circulated, and after supporting comments by nominators and other members, discussion follows. The following day a vote is taken. A two thirds majority is necessary for a nominee to be elected.


A Growing and Changing Membership

At the first meeting of the Society in 1912, there were 14 members present. During the following decade, the average attendance ran between 12 and 20. By the 1980s, the average attendance was between 30 and 40, with attendance in later years occasionally rising to 50 or above. Notwithstanding the steady growth in membership, the determination of the Society’s founders to regulate the size of the Society to allow for full participation and genuine interchange of ideas among those in attendance has been maintained. In 1947 the maximum membership was capped at 65, and in 1967 at 100, where it has remained to the present. As of 2016 there were 60 active members, 53 sustaining/inactive members, and 9 members-designate.

Clarification of these categories of membership was provided in 2013. Active members are dues-paying members who regularly attend annual meetings. Sustaining members are those who have not attended a meeting within the past three years but who have continued to pay annual dues. Along with active members, sustaining members continue to receive announcements of meetings and electronic copies of programs and papers. Inactive members are those who have not attended at least one meeting within a three-year period and have ceased to pay annual dues for at least three years. Members-designate have been elected to membership but must activate their membership by attending a meeting within three years after their election, or be dropped from the rolls. An addendum reads: “The Secretary and Treasurer may exercise some discretion in the application of these policies, allowing for exceptional cases.”

Even more significant than the numerical expansion of the Society has been its increasing theological diversity. At its inception and for some years thereafter, the membership was composed of white, male, Protestant professors of theology. Their liberal theological orientation was ably represented by Douglas C. Macintosh, Eugene W. Lyman, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Henry Sloane Coffin, and others. By the late 1920s and early 1930s, new currents of thought, including fresh retrievals and reinterpretations of classical Christian doctrines, were represented by Walter M. Horton, Reinhold Niebuhr, H. Richard Niebuhr, Robert L. Calhoun, Leonard Hodgson, and other new members of the Society. In a brief depiction of the new theological emphasis, Reinhold Niebuhr called it a movement "politically to the left, theologically to the right." In 1933 Paul Tillich’s entrance into the Society brought a fresh philosophical theology that defied the customary categories of liberal and conservative. John Alexander Mackay, leader in the ecumenical movement and newly chosen president of Princeton Theological Seminary, became a member of the Society in 1937. His membership signaled the beginning of a new era in Princeton Seminary's relationship to the Society. As George F. Thomas notes in his personal reflections on the Society’s membership: “The Society has never been completely dominated by any one type of theology. Many different theological positions ranging from the far Left to the far Right have been ably represented.”

Membership in the Society has continued to undergo significant changes in other ways. Efforts to diversify membership began in the 1930s and have increased in subsequent decades. The first major change occurred in 1936 when the Society adopted a resolution that no discrimination on the grounds of gender was to be a factor in the selection of new members. Georgia Harkness (Mount Holyoke College) became the first woman to be elected to membership in 1937, followed by Mary E. Lyman (Union Theological Seminary) in 1951. After a gap of some twenty years, Rosemary R. Ruether (then of Howard University) became a member in 1972, Sally McFague TeSelle (Vanderbilt) in 1974, Marianne H. Micks (Virginia Theological Seminary) in 1975, Ann B. Ulanov (Union Theological Seminary) in 1976, Elaine Pagels (Princeton) in 1978, and Letty M. Russell (Yale Divinity School) in 1979. At present women scholars constitute about 20% of the active membership.

African-American theologians have been members of the Society since William A. Banner (Howard University) was elected in 1958. James H. Cone (Union Theological Seminary) became a member in 1971, Preston N. Williams (Harvard) in 1973, Gayraud S. Wilmore (Colgate-Rochester Seminary) in 1974, James Deotis Roberts (Howard University) in 1979, Cornel West (Yale Divinity School) in 1986, and Peter J. Paris (Princeton Theological Seminary) in 1989.

In the mid-1960s, several Jewish theologians were welcomed to membership, beginning with Will Herberg (Drew University) in 1967, Lou H. Silberman (Vanderbilt) in 1968, Emil Fackenheim (University of Toronto) in 1969, Eugene Borowitz (Hebrew Union College) in 1971, Michael Wyschogrod (City University of New York) in 1979, and Edith Wyschogrod (Queens College, NY) in 1983.

The absence of Roman Catholic theologians in the Society ended in 1965 when George H. Tavard (Mount Mercy College) and John Courtney Murray (Woodstock College) became members. The following decade saw the addition of Gregory Baum (Toronto) in 1967; Robert O. Johann (Fordham) in 1967; Walter J. Burghardt (editor of Theological Studies) in 1967; Avery Dulles (Woodstock) and Roland E. Murphy (Duke) in 1971; David Tracy (Chicago) in 1972; Louis Dupre (Yale) in 1974, and Charles Curran (Catholic University in Washington) in 1975. (Parenthetically, Avery Dulles was a grandson of Allen M. Dulles, a charter member of the Society. In 2001 he was appointed to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II). The increase of Catholic theologians in the Society from the 1960s to the present is visible confirmation of its common commitment to robust theological inquiry in an ecumenical context.

By 1966, two Eastern Orthodox theologians had been elected to membership: John Meyendorff (St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary) and Alexander Schmemann (also of St. Vladimir’s). Two other Orthodox theologians became members in the following two decades: Vigen Gurorian (University of Virginia) and Stanley S. Harakas (Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology) in 1988.

This increasingly diverse makeup of the Society has brought vitality, breadth, and depth to its life and work. While it may not be easy to reach a theological consensus among members at any given meeting, differences are acknowledged in a context of mutual respect and willingness to listen as well as speak. George F. Thomas expressed well a common sentiment of Society members: “The lack of agreement among us may sometimes make us uncomfortable, since nothing can be taken for granted in our discussions and no consensus can be expected before the eschaton. But this situation reflects the diversity of theological perspectives in our religiously pluralistic society.”


Topics Discussed and Debated

William Adams Brown presented the first presidential address at a Society meeting in 1912 under the title: “Problems of Present-Day Constructive Theology.” During the early years of the Society, at each meeting several papers on topics agreed on in advance were read and discussed. Not surprisingly, there is no evidence that the papers were duplicated and circulated before a meeting. In time, of course, new practices have been put in place. In 1943 a motion was approved that full texts of papers to be presented (excluding the presidential address) should be duplicated and sent to all members well in advance of the meeting. Since the early 21st century, all papers are e-mailed to members. Rather than papers being read at meetings, presenters are asked to summarize the primary elements or central arguments of their paper prior to one or two prepared responses and general discussion. In 1969, the position of Program Chair was added to the list of officers of the Society and charged with planning the next year's or next several years' presentations. The program of an annual meeting might contain papers on several different topics. Alternately, the program might be focused on a pre-selected theme with several papers on various aspects of the theme being presented and discussed.

Although papers given at the Society’s meetings have covered a wide range of topics, critical and constructive proposals about the nature, purpose, method, sources, and concrete contexts of theology have been fairly frequent, as have also questions about the role of Scripture, tradition, and personal and corporate experience in theological work. Still other papers have offered fresh interpretations of classical Christian doctrines, including revelation, the existence and character of God, Trinity, creation, the person of Christ, sin, atonement, the Holy Spirit, the church, and eschatology. More than a few papers have examined an aspect of the thought of a major theologian or philosopher, such as Irenaeus, Augustine, Aquinas, Edwards, Tillich, Heidegger, or Wittgenstein. There has been considerable variety not only in the content of presentations but in the format employed. In one instance (2004), discussion of the question: “Did the Risen Christ Have More than One Body?” was conducted as a formal medieval disputation.

An unmistakable feature of the presentation and discussion of many papers at meetings of the Society has been their cross-disciplinary character. Biblical scholars, historians, philosophers, ethicists, and constructive theologians have had the opportunity to engage in an open conversation across customary disciplinary lines. In this way the work of the Society has often demonstrated the mutually beneficial relationship of biblical studies and constructive theology; the necessary interplay of theology and philosophy; the inseparability of theology and ethics; the productive interaction of theology and science; and the challenge of the encounter of the world religions: all these and other productive engagements have been and continue to be part of the dynamics of the life of the Society.

Examination of titles of papers presented at Society meetings will show that they have primarily addressed vital issues arising within the discipline of theology itself. From the beginning, the very existence of the Society has been based on the conviction that theology constitutes a distinct and integral field of inquiry, that its methods, sources, and questions, while not isolatable from those of other disciplines, are nevertheless determined by its own distinctive subject matter.

At the same time, even a small sampling of titles of papers from the earliest to recent meetings reveals that a number have dealt with important questions confronting not only the discipline of theology but also church, academy, and the wider society at a particular time. In 1914, with historical-criticism of the Bible at peak strength, the Society heard and discussed a paper with the title: “Is Belief in the Historicity of Jesus Indispensable to Christian Faith?” In 1932, with the challenge of resurgent humanism, a paper examined “Contemporary Christian Atheism;” in 1933, with the rise of National Socialism in Germany,“The Duty of the Church in the Present Crisis;” in 1936, in the face of rising nationalisms, “Christianity and Nationalism;” in 1947, with the onset of the ‘Cold War,’ “Christianity and Communism;” in 1956, in response to pressing hermeneutical issues: “Rudolf Bultmann and his Program of Demythologization and Existentialist Interpretation;” in 1960, on the threshold of the Vietnam War, “Just War and Limited War in the Context of Basic Christian Ethics;” in 1966, in the wake of Vatican II, “The Holy Irritation of Renewal Caused to ‘Reformed and Reformable Churches’ by the [supposedly] ‘Unreformed and Irreformable’ Roman Catholic Church.”

In 1971, with the spread of liberation theologies, a paper bore the title, “Political Theology in the Crossfire;” in 1975, in a time of increasing awareness of the pressing need of critical and constructive interfaith dialogue, the Society discussed a paper on “Contemporary Christologies: a Jewish Response;" in 2005, with high interest in the new encounter of Christianity and Islam in academy, church, and society, a panel discussion was held on the topic: “On Theological Discussion Between Muslims and Christians;” in 2007, with the continued discussion of the topic of gender in many academic disciplines and in the public domain: “Gender and Theology” was debated; in 2012, with the need of greater understanding of the rich religious contributions of the black community in America, a presidential address was devoted to “The Theologies of Black Folk,” and in 2016, with the global-wide increase of emigrants from war-torn countries as background, the title of the presidential address was “Deus Migrator: Doing Theology from the Perspective of Migration.”

In addition to the existing copies of papers presented at Society meetings, and sometimes responses to them, the minutes of some secretaries contain rather extensive reports of the discussions following the papers. This practice was characteristic of secretaries Edward L. Long, Jr. (1984-1987), Geoffrey Wainwright (1989-1994), Norbert Samuelson (1995-1999), and Peter Slater (2000-2009).

Many of the papers discussed at meetings of the Society have subsequently been published in peer reviewed theological journals or as sections of books. A number of the authors of the papers would happily acknowledge the benefit they have received from initially presenting their ideas at a Society meeting for vigorous discussion and debate.


Time for Social Hours, Common Meals, and Common Worship

In addition to presentation and discussion of prepared papers, a social hour is held Friday afternoon. On different occasions Paul Meyer, David Willis, and Max Stackhouse served as hosts of this social hour at their respective Princeton homes near the meeting place of the Society. In recent years the social hour has been held in the conference room of the Center for Theological Inquiry which is adjacent to the Princeton Seminary library, with Wallace M. Alston and more recently William Storrar, Directors of CTI, as hosts. The social hour is followed by the annual banquet and the president’s address. While not a formal part of the annual program, it has been a tradition for many years that on Saturday morning prior to the scheduled discussions that day, a brief time for corporate worship is arranged and is open to all wishing to attend.

Writing on the 60th anniversary of the Society, Professor George F. Thomas commented on the importance of the Society’s role in fostering friendship and co-operation among its members: “Our meetings have drawn together many of us who have come year after year and have enabled us to work together at the common task of seeking the truth about God and our relation to him, to one another, and to the world. I, for one, am profoundly grateful for the privilege of sharing for so long with so many good friends in this common task.”


Memorial Minutes

Prior to the president’s address, memorial minutes in honor of members who have died during the preceding year are offered by a member of the Society who knew the deceased well. These memorial minutes, many of which are part of the archives of the Society, are both fitting tributes by colleagues and valuable documents often containing lasting memories and personal appreciation of the life and work of a former Society member.


Guests

Distinguished guests have been present at many annual meetings of the Society, some coming from outside the United States. Among the many guests have been: Josiah Royce (1915), John Dewey (1930), Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1931), Willem A. Visser ‘t Hooft (1949), George Florovsky (1953), Oscar Cullmann (1955), and John Mbiti (1973).


Anniversaries of the Society

In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Society in 1972, George F. Thomas, member since 1928, prepared a brief history which he titled “Reflections.”

In recognition of the 75th anniversary in 1987, a meeting of the Society open to the public was held on the Princeton Seminary campus. The topic was “Taking Stock of Theology in America Today.” Panel members were: Prof. Pheme Perkins (The Study of the Bible); Prof. Eugene Borowitz (The Jewish Presence in Theology); Prof. Avery Dulles, S.J. (Catholicism; Ecumenism), Prof. Gabriel Fackre (Protestant Theology; Evangelicalism; Black Theology), and Prof. Letty M. Russell (The Women’s Presence in Theology; Ethics).

On the occasion of its Centennial in 2012 Karlfried Froehlich offered personal reflections on the history of the Society and the many decades of his participation in its work. His concluding comment on that occasion spoke for the Society as a whole: “The American Theological Society had a mission and a vision from the beginning, and the seeds that were sown did bear much of the hoped-for fruit. By the same token, the seeds of those fruits in turn are constantly ripening and, one hopes, will continue to grow and produce.” The reflections of Thomas and Froehlich are available on the Society website.


A Historic Case of Freedom of Conscience Involving a Society Member

In 1925, Professor Douglas Clyde Macintosh of Yale Divinity School, a native of Canada, and a founding member of the American Theological Society, applied for American citizenship. In the process of application he claimed the right to “selected conscientious objection” to military service “in each and every war.” Although his application was rejected by the District Court, the decision was overturned by the Appeals Court. The case eventually reached the United States Supreme Court in 1932 (Macintosh v. The United States) which overturned the appeal in a 5-4 decision. Dissenting from the decision were Justices Hughes, Holmes, Brandeis, and Stone. Although Macintosh attended meetings of the Society and even served as its Secretary during the years the case proceeded through the courts, there is no mention in the minutes of any discussion or action of the Society on this historic case.


Important Actions of the Society in Support of Refugees and the Freedom of Theological Inquiry

In 1939, Henry P. Van Dusen appealed to members of the Society to do their best to find suitable academic positions for theologians and scholars in allied fields who were being expelled or were fleeing from Nazi Germany. All members were urged to inform their respective institutions of “the availability of displaced foreign scholars—especially in the theological field, and to the opportunity and responsibility in considering them for openings on their teaching staff.” A Refugees Committee was appointed, and the following year it was reported that “exceptional success” was being achieved, “both in actual placement and in the preliminary service of acquainting needy refugee scholars with the openings that are available” By 1941 no fewer than eight such scholars had been placed. Among the theologians who were invited to join faculties in the United States in the crisis years of the 1930s and 1940s, and who later became members of the Society were: Paul Tillich, professor of systematic theology at Union Theological Seminary; Otto A. Piper, professor of New Testament theology, and Josef Hromadka, professor of systematic theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Other refugees who became members of the Society were: Karl Löwith (1944) of Hartford Seminary and the New School for Social Research; Richard Kroner (1946) of Union Seminary, NY, and Erich Frank (1948) who taught at Harvard and Bryn Mawr

According to the minutes of 1954, the Society discussed a situation at Crozer Theological Seminary involving Professor Morton Scott Enslin, a well-respected biblical scholar and a treasurer of the Society at the time. Although Professor Enslin had served as a member of the Crozer faculty for thirty years and had founded and edited The Crozer Quarterly, he was dismissed from the faculty on the formal grounds of changes in administrative policy concerning tenure but substantially on account of his scholarly convictions. Expressing their desire to alert the American Association of Theological Schools of their concern, members of the Society proposed that a resolution be drawn up for transmission to that body. After some discussion and revision of the original draft, the following resolution was adopted:

It is a concern of the American Theological Society that the policies guiding appointment and tenure of faculty members of theological schools and seminaries be fashioned in the light of the necessity of academic freedom and the responsibilities of the schools and churches to train and maintain a scholarly and effective ministry. We are convinced that this cannot be done if freedom of investigation and teaching is arbitrarily curtailed by administrative fiat.

To this end, it is of paramount importance that the terms of appointment be clearly framed and mutually understood at the beginning of employment and that changes in administrative policy concerning appointment and tenure be never retroactive without mutual consent.

In 1985 Professor Charles Curran, a noted ethicist, professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and a member of the Society, was informed by the Vatican that he was no longer to teach in the area of Roman Catholic ethics on the grounds of the incompatibility of his teaching with the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. At the meeting of the Society the following year, a statement was adopted unanimously in support of Professor Curran. Copies of the statement were sent to a number of ecclesiastical officials, many Roman Catholic leaders, and to the public media as well as several religious journals.

Professor Charles E. Curran is our colleague in the American Theological Society, a group whose membership consists of a selected body of recognized scholars from many backgrounds, teaching and writing in schools and universities. We have cherished his presence in our midst, along with that of other Roman Catholic scholars, and have rejoiced in the freedom to interact with such thinkers with the candor and openness made possible by Vatican II and the collegiality which has come to characterize our relations together.

We are deeply concerned by certain events that threaten to destroy the fullness of this collegiality by placing one or possibly more of our members under institutional strictures that might inhibit, however subtly, their freedom to explore with us the ongoing meaning of the tradition in its relationship to the contemporary world.

Because we see the action already taken and the possibility of future actions that might be taken in Father Curran’s case as grave threats to the quality of our life as an ecumenical group, we wish respectfully to express our great distress and to register our fervent hope that the scholarly freedom and ecclesiastical standing of Father Curran be protected and honored.


Sources of Information Regarding the Society

In addition to the information found on the Society’s website: www.amtheosoc.org, archival materials of the Society, including copies of minutes, papers presented at meetings, membership lists, memorial tributes, etc. are housed in the Archives and Special Collections, Princeton Theological Seminary Library, Princeton, NJ, where Kenneth W. Henke serves as Curator. The decision to deposit the archives at PTS was made in 1996. Supposedly lost material of the Society was recovered in 2016 when an almost complete set of the early minutes of Society meetings was found among Richard A. Norris’ papers at General Theological Seminary, largely through the detective work of Karlfried Froehlich.

In 1992 and 2002, John D. Godsey of Wesley Seminary compiled valuable data of the Society, including the text of the 1912 Constitution; names of all members elected 1912-2002; the officers in each year; paper presenters, respondents, and topics in each year; and notes on "important actions" taken by the Society. The work of Godsey played a major role in the growth and organization of the archival collection of the Society.


Princeton Theological Seminary has hosted the American Theological Society
each year since 1980.

Comments