James Nieman

 James Nieman

Address77 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT

Professor of Practical Theology, Hartford Seminary

B.A., Pacific Lutheran University,
M.Div., Wartburg Theological Seminary,
Ph.D., Emory University,

Three books stand out as important markers along my scholarly journey. One was published shortly after I began serving a congregation of Iñupiaq Lutherans in Anchorage, Alaska. These marvelous people lived out a complex faith, blending traditional native beliefs and Protestant commitments in a fashion that often baffled me. Constructing Local Theologies by Robert Schreiter helped me appreciate more deeply what was going on and kindled my interest in contextual theologies.

Several years later, another text gave me a vantage point on the rapidly changing scene in theology. Were there common points of interest in the otherwise dizzying diversity of emerging political and liberation theologies? Faith in History and Society by Johannes Metz offered a credible answer in both theology and method, and became my introduction to practical theology as well.

The final book perhaps sounds most offbeat of all, but for me it was far from arcane. Like any teacher of preaching, I knew the underrated world-shaping force our words can bear. Even so, The New Rhetoric by Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca completely reshaped my thinking in this area, driving me beyond the classical patterns I knew and into a contemporary way of naming the social impact of language.

In sum, each of these books gave me new ways to think at key moments when the way ahead was anything but clear.

Areas of Interest

Contextual Theology

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