The American Theological Society Records Collection

Collection Summary

Creator: American Theological Society
Dates: 1948-2006
Extent: 6 boxes, 3 linear feet
Language(s): English
Repository: Princeton Theological Seminary Library. Special Collections.

Historical Information

The American Theological Society was established in 1912 as the Theological Society with 28 members. William Adams Brown was the first president. The name was changed in 1926 to the American Theological Society. According to its constitution, the Society's purpose "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 this field, and by arranging for co-operation in theological investigtion."

The Society's first meeting was held April 1912 at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Annual dues were $4 until 1930, when they were increased to $5. Women were admitted as members in 1936. Two or more issues papers were distributed to members prior to meetings. In 1947 members adopted the following statement:

"The American Theological Society is a professional society consisting primarily of theological scholars who feel themselves to be in the Christian tradition and who desire to engage in friendly discussion of problems that are mainly systematic. Theology is understood to include systematic, historical and Biblical disciplines and the philosophy, psychology and history of religion. The historical and descriptive disciplines in this context are considered primarily as the source of the materials for the discussion of systematic problems. That the maximum number of members be 65."

Members have included Raymond C. Knox, W.D. MacKenzie, Arthur C. McGiffert, Henry Sloane Coffin, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Reinhold Niebuhr, Henry P. Van Dusen, Paul J. Tillich, Georgia Harkness, J. L. Hromadka, Paul Lehmann, Wilhelm Pauck, Cyril Richardson, Roger Shinn, James I. McCord, Bernhard Anderson, Frederick Herzog, Harvey J. Cox, Richard R. Niebuhr, Raymond Brown, James Hal Cone, Rosemary Ruether, Jaroslav J. Pelikan, Gabriel Fackre, Charles C. West, Ann Belford Ulanov, Richard McCormick, Letty M. Russell, Max Stackhouse, Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, Judith Plaskow, George Hunsinger, Peter Paris, James F. Kay, L. Serene Jones, Ellen T. Charry, Sarah A. Coakley, Wentzel van Huyssteen, and Josiah Ulysses Young III.

Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, has hosted the American Theological Society each year since 1980.


Scope and Content

The collection consists of historical background materials and organizational records plus issue papers, articles, and reports written by ATS members. Chronological folders include member correspondence and memos for that year as well as annual meeting notices, schedules, agendas, reports, and minutes; treasurers’ and financial reports; membership lists and nominations.



Theology--Study and teaching--United States.

American Theological Society


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

The following is the acceptable citation for publication: The American Theological Society Records Collection, Special Collections, Princeton Theological Seminary Library.


In March of 1996 the Society selected the Princeton Theological Seminary Archives to be the official repository of its records. Dr. Geoffrey Wainwright, who was ATS secretary from 1987 to 1995 and later president from 1996 to 1997, sent the initial deposit, which extended from the late 1950s up to 1996. John D. Godsey of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., added to the collection in 2003. In 2007, Peter Slater, ATS secretary, transferred one box containing meeting minutes from 2000 to 2006, and St. Mark’s Library of the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York donated two additional boxes.


There are no special restrictions to access of this collection. It may be examined by library patrons under the normal rules and conditions of Special Collections.



The collection is arranged chronologically.



Box 1
1:1 Membership lists 1949-1987
Sixtieth Anniversary   1972
Membership Lists   1949-1987
Past Officers of ATS   
1:2 Historical background and early records 1948-1977, undated
George Thomas. “The American Theological Society: 1928-1972,” Princeton University   
The American Theological Society Origins and Important Actions   
The ATS Constitution of 1912, Annotated with Later Actions of the Society   
Articles 1-7 of the ATS Constitution   
1:3 1959-1960
Principles Guiding Election of Members  
1:4 1960-1962
Proposals for the Revision of the Provisional Study Document of the World Council of Churches  
1:5 1962-1963
1:6 1963-1964
1:7 1964-1965
Report of the Special Committee to Consider the Possibility of Forming a National Theological Society  
1:8 1965-1966
Paper writers and critics   1961-1966
Members Areas of Interest/Specialities Form  
1:9 1966-1967
Brochure, Lowell Institute on evaluating the Vatican Council   1966
Changes to the ATS rules   1925, 1947
Box 2
2:1 1967-1968
“A Critique of Wilfred Cantwell Smith’s ‘The Theology of Religions,’” William Bradley  
2:2 1968-1969
2:3 1969-1970
“A New Theological Frontier”   
2:4 1970-1971
Writers of papers and critics   1956-1970
2:5 Sixtieth Anniversary 1971-1972
2:6 1972-1973
Thomas A. Langford’s response to Schubert M. Ogden’s paper   
Rosemary Radford Ruether,“Revelation in Judaism and the Christian Dilemma: Response to Lou Silberman’s Paper”   
Announcing the Publication of the Journal of Religious Ethics  
2:7 1973-1974
2:8 1974-1975
“The Social Context of Theology,” James H. Cone   
Owen’s response to Arthur   
Memorial to Richard Kroner   
“Response to Rabbi Eugene B. Borowitz ‘Contemporary Christologies,’” Avery Dulles  
“Comments on Eugene B. Borowitz, ‘Contemporary Christologies: A Jewish Response,’” William A. Christian   
In Memoriam – Daniel Day Williams   
Box 3
3:1 1975-1976
3:2 1976-1977
3:3 1980-1981
Correspondence regarding potential joining up of ATS East, ATS Midwest, and Pacific Theological Society   
3:4 1985-1986
“Language, Value, and Christology: A Comment on Robert P. Scharlemann’s ‘The Christological Relation: A Phenomenological Description,’” Frederick Ferre  
“Gabriel Vahanian’s God and the Utopianism of Language: A Response,” Lonnie D. Kliever  
“God and the Utopianism of Language: A Response,” Letty Russell   
“The Utopianism of Language,” Gabriel Vahanian   
“The Christological Relation: A Phenomenological Description,” Robert P. Scharlemann   
“Cosmic Dimensions of the Genesis Creation Account,” Bernhard W. Anderson   
3:5 1985-1986
News clippings on Charles E. Curran's teaching license   
“Barth and Bonhoeffer: The Basic Difference,” John D. Godsey   
Statement of Support for Charles E. Curran   
Correspondence regarding Charles E. Curran   
“The New Testament and Nicea: Mostly Preliminary Remarks,” Leander E. Keck   
“Response to Professor Leander Keck,” Gerard S. Sloyan   
“A Question of Theological Direction: Response to L. Keck, ‘The NT and Nicea,’” Pheme Perkins   
“The Nicene Creed in its Historical Setting,” Robert L. Wilken “Response to Robert L. Wilken, ‘The Nicene Creed in its Historical Setting,’” Avery Dulles   
“Response to Robert L. Wilken,” David N. Power   
3:6 1987-1988
“The Role of Doctrine in Judaism,” David Novak   
“Doctrine in Christianity: A Comparison with Judaism,” George Lindbeck   
“Reflections on Lindbeck’s ‘Doctrine in Christianity: A Comparison with Judaism,’” Franz Jozef van Beeck   
“David Novak, ‘The Role of Doctrine in Judaism:’ A Response,” Paul M. van Buren   
Box 4
4:1 1988-1989
“The Issue that Wouldn’t Go Away: Faith and History Revisited,” Presidential Address  1988 April
“The Neglect and Recovery of Nature in Twentieth Century Protestant Theology,” Harold H. Oliver   
Memorial Minute – Orlando E. Costas   
Memorial Minute – Roger Hazelton   
Memoriam, Clyde Amos Holbrook   
“Language and Process: Toward a Theology of Nature,” Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki   
“Responde to Erazim Kohac: ‘Rehabilitating the Prophets of Ba’al,’” Paul M. van Buren  
“Rehabilitating the Prophets of Ba’al: Notes on a ‘Green’ Theology,” Erazim Kohak   
Memorial Minute for Bard Thompson   
Memorial Minute for Paul Ramsey   
“Comments on Paper by Harold O. Oliver,” John Dillenberger   
4:2 1989-1990
“Are there Salvific and Demonic Dimensions to Technology?” Edward LeRoy Long   
“Godly Cooking?: Ethical Reflections on Theology and Technological Society,” Max L. Stackhouse   
“Response to Ferre Paper,” Owen Thomas   
“The Nature of an Ecclesial/Theological Change,” Paul M. van Buren   
4:3 1990-1991
“Comments on Koyama’s ‘Tradition and Indigenization,’” Jung Young Lee   
“Some Comments on Tradition, Identity, and Reconstruction: Roman Catholic Perspective,” Franz J. van Beeck   
“Tradition in the Orthodox Tradition,” Stanley S. Harakas   
“100 Years of Catholic Social Teaching: An Evaluation,” Charles E. Curran, Presidential Address   1990
“Tradition, Identity and Reconstruction: Roman Catholic Perspectives,” Francis Schüssler Fiorenza   
“The Tradition and Indigenization,” Kosuke Koyama   
Memorial Minute for James I. McCord   
Memorial Minute for Albert C. Outler   
4:4 1991-1992
“Commentary: Joanne McWilliams’ ‘Tradition Before the Future,’” Thomas Ogletree   
“Tradition from a Jewish Perspective,” Norbert M. Samuelson   
“Tradition Before the Future,” Joanne McWilliam   
Memorial Minute for John Knox   
Memorial Minute for William John Wolf   
“The State of Systematics: Research and Commentary,” Gabriel Fackre, Presidential Address   
“Scripture and Tradition – A Reformed Perspective: A Response to John Hesselink,” Daniel Migliore   
“Response to Norbert Samuelson’s Paper,” Eugene B. Borowitz   
Pacific Coast Theological Society information   
American Theological Society Midwest Section information   
“Precis and Outline of Scripture and Tradition – A Reformed Perspective,” I. John Hesselink   
“Scripture and Tradition – A Reformed Perspective,” I. John Hesselink   
4:5 1992-1993
Eightieth Anniversary information  
Memorial Minute for Stanley Hopper   
Memorial Minute for Hugh T. Kerr   
“Comment on Wilfred C. Smith’s Paper: ‘Scripture – What is it and why?’” Clark H. Pinnock   
“Canons, Cultures, and the Ecumenically Correct,” Geoffrey Wainwright   
“‘This Weakness of God’s is Stronger’ (1 Cor 1:25): An Inquiry Beyond the Power of Being,” F. J. van Beeck   
“Scripture – What is it? And why?” Wilfred Cantwell Smith   
“Religious Pluralism and Early Christian Thought,” Robert L. Wilken   
Box 5
5:1 1993-1994
“Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture Revisited: Religious Pluralism and Theological Inculturation,” Lonnie D. Kliever   
“In the Beginning was the Confession,” Richard N. Longenecker   
“A Response to Lonnie Kliever’s paper on ‘Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture Revisited: Religious Pluralism and Theological Inculturation,” Gordon D. Kaufman   
“Reflections on Truth, Religious Diversity, and Religious Pluralism,” Victor Nuovo   
“Comments on Reflections on Truth, Religious Diversity, and Religious Pluralism,” James Ross   
“Response to R.N. Longenecker,” R. A. Norris   
“Deliver Us from Evil: Human Pain and Divine Compassion,” J. Deotis Roberts   
5:2 1994-1995
“An Orthodox View of Orthodoxy and Heresy: An Appreciation of Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Vigen Guroian   
“Response to Vigen Guroian’s ‘Orthodox View of Orthodoxy and Heresy,’” Tom Oden  
“Heresy and ‘Orthodoxy’ in the Later Second Century,” Richard Norris   
Memorial Minute for Paul Louis Lehmann   
“Reflections on the Methodology and Sociology of Theology,” Owen C. Thomas   
Presidential Address, “Thought and Life: The Cases of Heidegger and Tillich,” Owen C. Thomas   
“The Orthodoxy of the Barmen Declaration”, David Willis-Watkins   
A Tribute to Robert Earl Cushman   
George S. Hendry Memorial Minute   
5:3 1995-1996
“Orthodoxy and Heresy: A Problem for Modern Evangelicalism,” Robert Johnston   
Response to “The Uses of Orthodoxy” by Williwam P. Alston, Avery Dulles   
Response to “Orthodoxy and Heresy” by Robert Johnston, J. Philip Wogaman   
“Orthodoxy and Heresy: Should the Distinction Be Preserved?” Eleonore Stump   
“The Uses of Orthodoxy,” William P. Alston   
“James Luther Adams, 1901-1994,” Roger L. Shinn   
Box 6 1996-2006
6:1 1995-1996
“Reflections on the Methodology and Sociology of Theology,” Owen C. Thomas   
“Thought and Life: The Cases of Heidegger and Tillich,” ATS Presidential Address   1994
“Orthodoxy and Heresy: A Problem for Modern Evangelicalism,” Robert Johnston   1995
“Orthodoxy and Heresy: Should the Distinction Be Preserved?” Eleonore Stump   
“The Uses of Orthodoxy,” William P. Alston   
Presidential Address “On Theological Communication: Polemics, Apologetics, and Dialogues,” Edward LeRoy Long, Jr   
“Time and Eternity in One of the Four Cappadocians,” Michael A. Fahey   
“God, Time and Eschatology,” Robert Jenson   
Response to “God, Time and Eschatology,” James H. Evans, Jr.   
“God and the Time of Being,” Robert P. Scharlemann   
Response to “God and the Time of Being,” Diogenes Allen   
Memorial Minute for John C. Bennett, Roger L. Shinn   
Memorial Minute for Frederick Herzog   
6:2 1997-1998
“Embodiment in Time and Eternity: A Syriac Perspective,” Susan Ashbrook Harvey   
“We Won’t Be There Ten Thousand Years: Time and the Christian Eschaton,” Gerard Sloyan   
“What Can We Hope for, Really?” F.J. van Beeck   
“Creation in Jewish Theology and Modern Astrophysics,” Norbert M. Samuelson   
Response to Clooney, Peter Slater   
“Cultivating a Symbolic Mentality,” Karlfied Froehlich   
6:3 2000
Presidential Address “Augustine’s Christologies,” Joanne McWilliam   
Memorial for Lloyd George Patterson, Richard Norris   
Memorial Tribute to Charles Philip Price   
Peter C. Phan Paper Response, J. Deotis Roberts   
Pamela Dickey Young Paper Response, A.J. McKelway   
6:4 2001
“The Ecumenical Import of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification,” Gabriel Fackre   
Presidential Address, Michael Fahey   
Frederick Ferre Paper and Response, Apr 2001 “Optional Theism and the Wider Ecumenical Dialogue,” Frederick Ferre Response to Ferre, Wesley J. Wildman   
“The Mystery of the Lost Chaos,” Catherine Keller   
6:5 2002
“The Renewal of Jewish Theology Today: Under the Sign of Three,” Peter Ochs   
“The Virtue of Heaven: From Calvin to Cybertalk and Back,” Christopher Morse   
Memorial Tribute to John Deschner, Charles Wood   
“Memory of Evil in the World of Love: A Thought Experiment,” Miroslav Volf   
“The Resurrection and the ‘Spiritual Senses’: On Wittgenstein, Epistemology and the Risen Christ,” Sarah Coakley   
6:6 Ninetieth Anniversary 2003
6:7 Papers and discussions 2003
“The Mystery of Divine Providence,” George H. Tavard   
“Covenantal Theology and Social Contract Theory,” David Novak   
“Two Observations: A Response to David Novak,” Max L. Stackhouse   
“Should Political Theology Limit or Engage?” Francis Schüssler Fiorenza   
“The Mystery of Divine Providence,” George H. Tavard   
“The Character of Christian Realism,” Katherine Sonderegger   
“Truth in Theology: Toward a Theology of Symbolic Engagement,” Robert Cummings Neville   
“Programmatic ‘Ultimology’ or: A Halfway Hegelianism,” Reinhard Hutter   
6:8 Organizational records 2004
6:9 Nominations 2004
6:10 Papers and discussions 2004
“Christian Realism and Public Discussions: A View From the Other Side,” Robin W. Lovin   
“Useless Beauty,” Robert K. Johnston   
“Who Shall I Say Sent Me? The Name of God in Trinitarian Perspective,” R. Kendall Soulen   
“The Pastoral Fiction of the Divine Character,” Ellen T. Charry   
6:11 Organizational records 2005
6:12 Papers and discussions 2005
“The Absolute and the Relative in Christian Ethics,” J. Philip Wogaman   
“Memorial for Lonnie Kliever,” Charles E. Curran   
“Wonder What God Had in Mind: Leibniz’s Theodicy and the Art of Toni Morrison,” Josiah U. Young III   
“Raiding the Inarticulate: Mysticism, Poetics, and the Unlanguageable,” Mark S. Burrows   
6:13 Organizational records 2006
6:14 Nominations 2006
6:15 Papers and discussions 2006
“H. Richard Niebuhr on Church and Ministry," Avery Cardinal Dulles   
“Two Dimensions of Religious Belief,” Robert Cummings Neville   
“Memorial Minute: Eugene Rathbone Fairweather," Peter Slater   
“On Remembering Langdon Gilkey," Roger Haight   
“Richard Norris: Doctor Apatheticus," Franz Jozef van Beeck   
“A Place to Appear: Ecclesiology as if Bodies Mattered," Mary McClintock Fulkerson  
“Theological Education, the Purpose of the Church and its Ministry: Reflections in a Niebuhrian Key," Douglas F. Ottati   
“Niebuhr’s Description of the Purpose of the Church: An Alternative Description," Michael A. Fahey   


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