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Theodore Parker

1810-1860. Congregational clergyman. Born in Lexington, Massachusetts, he studied in Harvard Divinity School (1834-36) and was ordained in 1837 as pastor in not-too-distant West Roxbury. His sermon, “The Transient and Permanent in Christianity,” in 1841 denied biblical authority and the deity of Christ. He became minister in 1845 of the Twenty-Eighth Congregational Society of Boston. He moved from Unitarianism to transcendental ideas that Christianity rested on universal truths gained by intuition transcending revelation or Christ. Religion was essentially morality growing out of moral oneness with God. This practical ideology led him to support prison reform, temperance, and abolition of slavery.