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William Adams Brown

1865-1943. Liberal theologian. Born in New York City and educated at Yale, Union Seminary, and the University of Berlin, he afterward joined the faculty at Union, teaching theology there from 1892 until 1930, when he became research professor in applied theology until 1936. Through his widely used textbook Christian Theology in Outline (1906) Brown exerted considerable influence upon American theology until the 1930s. Himself influenced by his professor, Harnack,* Brown sought to elaborate a theology not of “dogmas to be received on authority” but of “living convictions, born of experience.” He declared that Christ must be the center of Christian theology, but for him this meant the centering of faith upon the life and teachings of the historical Jesus rather than upon the orthodox understanding of the incarnation, objective atonement for sin, or the Resurrection.