George Frederick Wright and the Harmony of Science and Revelation

thesis by Peter Sachs Collopy, Oberlin College, 2007

George Frederick Wright was an Oberlin-educated theologian and self-taught geologist who lived from 1838 to 1921. He was among the most influential Christian interpreters of Darwinism as Americans began to debate the theory in the 1870s and 1880s. In his writings, Wright illustrated a method for reconciling evolutionary theory with Christianity. Wright himself was a Calvinist, and he argued that his own conservative theological tradition shared important characteristics with Darwinism.

At the turn of the century, however, Wright began to criticize both Darwinism in particular and evolutionary thought generally. A decade later, he was among the authors of a series of pamphlets entitled The Fundamentals, and thus a standard bearer for the conservative wing of American Protestantism that soon developed into the fundamentalist movement. Furthermore, one of the three articles he contributed to The Fundamentals, “The Passing of Evolution,” was a forceful attack on evolutionary thought.

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Subjects: biology, Christianity, conservatism, evolution, geology, religion, science
Category: writing