Parker, Theodore

Parker, Theodore

▪ American theologian
born August 24, 1810, Lexington, Massachusetts, U.S.
died May 10, 1860, Florence, Italy

      American Unitarian theologian, pastor, scholar, and social reformer who was active in the antislavery movement. Theologically, he repudiated much traditional Christian dogma, putting in its place an intuitive knowledge of God derived from man's experience of nature and insight into his own mind. Parker resembled Ralph Waldo Emerson (Emerson, Ralph Waldo) and other New England Transcendentalists (Transcendentalism) in his emphasis on intuition but differed in the way he tempered his romanticism with rationalist and scientific interest.

      Although Parker passed the entrance examination for Harvard College in 1830, he had no funds to attend. He was allowed, however, to take the examinations for his course of study without enrolling and was granted an honorary degree. He then attended Harvard Divinity School, from which he graduated in 1836. The next year he was ordained pastor of the Unitarian Church in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

      By 1841 Parker had formulated his liberal religious views and had incorporated them in the sermon “The Transient and Permanent in Christianity.” The transient, to him, was Christianity's theological and scriptural dogma, and the permanent was its moral truths. He elaborated his views in lectures published as A Discourse of Matters Pertaining to Religion. Opposition to his liberalism increased, and he soon resigned his pastorate. His supporters founded the 28th Congregational Society of Boston and installed him as minister.

      Parker worked for prison reform, temperance, women's education, and other such causes. He made impassioned speeches against slavery, helped fugitive slaves to escape, and wrote an abolitionist tract, A Letter to the People of the United States Touching the Matter of Slavery (1848). He also served on the secret committee that aided the abolitionist John Brown (Brown, John).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Parker, Theodore — (1810 1860)    Theologian, b. at Lexington, Massachusetts, ed. at Harvard, was an indefatigable student, and made himself master of many languages. In 1837 he was settled at West Roxbury as a Unitarian minister, but the development of his views… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

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  • Theodore Parker — (August 24, 1810 – May 10, 1860) was an American Transcendentalist and reforming minister of the Unitarian church.In 1850, Parker was the firstcite web |url= http://www.bartleby.com/100/459.html |title= The American Idea: speech at N.E. Anti… …   Wikipedia

  • Parker (surname) — Family name name =Parker imagesize= caption= pronunciation = PAR ker meaning = keeper of the park region =England origin = related names = footnotes=Parker is a family name of English origin, derived from Old French with the meaning keeper of the …   Wikipedia

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  • Theodore A. Parker III — Theodore A. Ted Parker III (April 1, 1953 – August 3, 1993) was an American ornithologist who specialized in the Neotropics. He was widely considered the finest field birder / ornithologist that the world had ever seen. (Zimmer… …   Wikipedia

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  • Parker (Familienname) — Parker ist ein englischer Familienname mit der Bedeutung „Parkverwalter“; im Mittelalter wurde er auch als Spitzname für Wildhüter verwendet[1]. Bekannte Namensträger Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Théodore Roosevelt — Theodore Roosevelt Pour les articles homonymes, voir Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt …   Wikipédia en Français

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