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Niebuhr and Dawson, Article Review Example

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Article Review

Neibuhr’s Christ and Culture brings five positions that integrate Christ within culture.  These different viewpoints help to express in what way an individual or group values culture in relationship to Christianity and the church.  Dawson’s views find a particular place on the scale in relationship to his views on culture.

Dawson’s Placement on Neibuhr’s Scale

Neibuhr identifies five primary ways in which one may find the relationship of Christ and culture.  Dawson seems to find a place on the scale, while there are some questions as to whether he may be seen to rest solely in that place.  His writings and work may not truly be found in only one spot on Neibuhr’s scale.

Christ above Culture

The best spot for Dawson seems to be in the third position.  This position named “Christ Above Culture” seeks to merge and intertwine Christ and culture together.  It rests on the synthesis of both dynamics towards the fruition of each.

Dawson’s concentration on the historical and cultural background of Christianity makes him a good candidate for a spot on this area of the scale.  Dawson takes a lot of time looking into the intricacies of culture in order to view how Christianity has evolved.  He draws from the distant past to current culture, most prominently European culture, to see how culture and Christianity have intertwined.

Christ and Culture in Paradox

However, it is not that simple.  Dawson has also expressed awareness of the overriding meaning of Christianity.  That is, regardless of the cultural indicators related to Christianity, Dawson takes pride in the Christian faith.  At times Dawson seeks to find the via media between the two extremes.

Consequently, Dawson may also find his views on this fourth position in Neibuhr’s account.  His historical focus seems to place him on the third account at times, yet he demonstrates some dualist tendencies, according to Neibuhr’s scale.  Thus it may be appropriate to place him on both levels of the scale.

Dawson’s Approach

Dawson’s dualist approach at times, and focus on the Christian culture in the present and past can succeed.  While it may be too much to place a great deal of emphasis on culture and politics, Dawson expresses the consciousness to rise above these indicators.  As Dawson has made clear, Christianity rises above the indicators and factors of culture.

Yet Dawson’s approach is with some measure, even in the third account of Neibuhr’s scale.  Dawson draws upon some interesting pictures within Christian culture and its relationship to other viewpoints.  He stresses the improvement of these things, which is something that should be taken lightly.  His blend of the importance of culture and the overriding significance of Christianity above culture can thus be seen.

Conclusion

As witnessed to the prospectively appropriate placement of Dawson on both accounts in Neibuhr’s scale, Dawson displays two focal points in his work.  He importantly looks at the cultural dynamics that interact with Christianity, making him suitable for the “Christ above culture” placement.  Yet he does not put too much value into this, understanding that Christian faith rises above cultural standards and indicators, finding his way to the “Christ and culture in paradox” placement.  His approach is interesting and powerful for the significance of culture.

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