Harvey Cox

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Harvey Cox

Harvey Cox (History and Philosophy of Religion, Harvard University, 1963; B.D., Yale Divinity School, 1955) was Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard, where he had been teaching since 1965, both at HDS and in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, until his retirement in 2009.

An American Baptist minister, Cox was the Protestant chaplain at Temple University and the director of religious activities at Oberlin College; an ecumenical fraternal worker in Berlin; and a professor at Andover Newton Theological School. His research and teaching interests focus on the interaction of religion, culture, and politics. Among the issues he explores are: urbanization, theological developments in world Christianity, Jewish-Christian relations, and current spiritual movements in the global setting. His most recent book is When Jesus Came to Harvard: Making Moral Decisions Today. His Secular City, published in 1965, became an international bestseller with more than 1 million copies sold. It was selected by the University of Marburg as one of the most influential books of Protestant theology in the twentieth century.[1]

Liberation Theology

Elizabeth Bruenig on Cox:

Over the years, Cox has become known not only for his liberal view of Christianity, but also for his nuanced work on liberation theology, which started to take shape in Latin America in the 1950s and ’60s. Paralleling the liberal-Christian faith in social progress, liberation theology insisted that Christians must also fight to free themselves from earthly forms of oppression. Having become intimately involved with its early formulations while teaching in Latin America, Cox became one of liberation theology’s great English-language popularizers, even arguing that it was “the legitimate, though unanticipated, heir of The Secular City.[2]

Meeting Pope Francis


Harvard University Press

Nov 1, 2016

When Harvey Cox met His Holiness Pope Francis to present him with a copy of his book The Market as God.

“Loving God and Neighbor Together”

Christian Response Grows To Muslim Plea For Global Dialogue December 11, 2007.

More than 100 U.S. Christian leaders, mainline and evangelical, have endorsed a favorable response to an unprecedented Muslim call for churches to help initiate international dialogue between the two faiths.

Among the endorsers were three megachurch founders: Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life; Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral and Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church.

Released in October, the Muslim document, called “A Common Word” and signed by 138 clerics and academics from around the world, declares that “love of the one God and love of neighbor” are core beliefs for both Muslims and Christians and should be the basis for dialogue. Since adherents of the two world religions number more than half the world’s population, the Muslim authors say, chances for peace would grow if Muslims and Christians showed together their adherence to those principles.

The Christian response, “Loving God and Neighbor Together” drafted by scholars at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, which is headed by theologian Miroslav Volf, appeared November 18 as an advertisement in the New York Times along with the names of signatories.

The Christian authors said they were “heartened” by the Muslim appeal and concluded: “It is with humility and hope that we recieve your generous letter and we commit ourselves to labor together in heart, soul, mind and strength for the objectives you so appropriately propose.”

Signers included Harvey Cox of Harvard Divinity School; Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary; Joseph Hough, president of Union Theological Seminary; Richard Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals; John Buchanan editor/publisher of the Century; and David Neff, editor in chief of Christianity Today.[3]

Other signatories included Jim Wallis Sojourners, John L. Esposito Director Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University Alexander Negrov, President, St. Petersburg Christian University, Russia.[4]

"One Electorate under God?"

"One Electorate under God?: A Dialogue on Religion and American Politics"

Edited by E. J. Dionne, Jean Bethke Elshtain, and Kayla Meltzer Drogosz, June 14, 2004.

The United States has been described as a nation with the soul of a church. Religion is discussed more explicitly and more urgently in American politics than in the public debates of any other wealthy democracy. It is certain to play an important role in the elections of 2004. Yet debates over religion and politics are often narrow and highly partisan, although the questions at hand demand a broader and more civil discussion. One Electorate under God? widens the dialogue by bringing together in one volume some of the most influential voices in American intellectual and political life.

This book draws on a public debate between former New York governor Mario Cuomo and Indiana congressman Mark Souder, who discuss how their respective faith convictions have been both shaped by and reflected in their careers as public servants. This discussion, in turn, prompted commentary by a diverse group of scholars, politicians, journalists, and religious leaders who are engaged simultaneously in the religious and policy realms. Each contributor offers insights on how political leaders and religious convictions shape our politics. One Electorate under God arises from the idea that public deliberation is more honest—and more democratic—when officials are open and reflective about the interactions between their religious convictions and their commitments in the secular realm.

This volume—the first of its kind—seeks to promote a greater understanding of American thinking about faith and public office in a pluralistic society. Contributors include Joanna Adams, Azizah Al-Hibri, Doug Bandow, Michael Barone, Gary Bauer, Robert Bellah, David Brooks, Harvey Cox, Michael Cromartie, John Dilulio Jr., Terry Eastland, Robert Edgar, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Richard Wightman Fox, William Galston, Robert George, Andrew Greeley, John Green, Anna Greenberg, Susannah Heschel, Representative Amo Houghton (R-New York), Michael Kazin, Martha Minow, Stephen Monsma, Mark Noll, Rabbi David Novak, Ramesh Ponnuru, Representative David Price (D-North Carolina), Jeffrey Rosen, Cheryl Sanders, Ronald Sider, Jim Skillen, Matthew Spalding, Jeffrey Stout, John Sweeney, Roberto Suro, Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, Jim Towey, Doug Tanner, Mark Warren, Alan Wolfe, and Andrew Young.[5]

"Religion in a Secular City: Essays in Honor of Harvey Cox"

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"Religion in a Secular City: Essays in Honor of Harvey Cox", October 1, 2001 by Arvind Sharma (Author).

Harvey Cox burst onto the religious-publishing scene in 1962 with his provocative book, The Secular City. His assertions about the consequences of the modern secular world for religion changed forever the way that theologians and clergy approached their tasks of God-talk in late modernity. Always prescient about the religious scene, Cox virtually predicted the "turn east" that many American religious seekers took in the late '60s and early '70s. His books on world religions (Many Mansions), Pentecostalism (Fire from Heaven), and fundamentalism and liberation theology (Religion in the Secular City) have all provided trenchant commentary on the changing face of American religion. In this exciting collection of twenty essays, Sharma and his contributors honor Cox's seminal contributions to the study of religion. The first section of the book includes essays on Cox's life and work at Harvard, where he is Victor S. Thomas Professor of Divinity, and his work as a liberation theologian in the Third World.

The second section features theologians such as Leonardo Boff, James Cone, Hans Kung, Jurgen Moltmann, and Richard L. Rubenstein, who use Cox's themes of interreligious dialogue, grassroots theology, and religion and secularization as the starting points for their own essays on these themes. Contributors to the volume include: Cornel West, Harvard University; Arvind Sharma, McGill University; Robert McAfee Brown, Emeritus, Pacific School of Religion; John C. Cort, Nahant, Massachusetts; Jorge Pixley, Seminario Teológico Buatista, Managua, Nicaragua; Rodney Peterson, Boston Theological Institute; Victor Wan-Tatah, Youngstown State University; Frank D. Macchia, Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God; William Hamilton, Sarasota, Florida; Robert Bellah, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley; Eldin Villafane, CUTEEP, Boston; Jurgen Moltmann, Tübingen; Hans Küng, Tübingen; James H. Cone, Union Theological Seminary; Leonardo Boff, Brazil; Margaret Guider, Weston Jesuit School of Theology; Arthur Green, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; [Satianathan Clarke], United Theological College, Bangalore; Richard L. Rubenstein, University of Bridgeport; Iain Maclean, James Madison University; William Martin, Rice University; Anne Foerst, MIT; and Elinor W. Gadon, Institute of Integral Studies. Arvind Sharma is Bicks Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University in Montreal and the editor of A Dome of Many Colors, published by Trinity Press International.

"Daedalus: Religion in America"

"Daedalus: Religion in America" Paperback – 1967 by Robert Bellah (Author), Daniel Callahan (Author), Harvey Cox (Author), Emil Fackenheim (Author).

"The Situation Ethics Debate"

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"The Situation Ethics Debate" by Harvey Cox (Editor), Joseph Fletcher (Editor) 1968.

Congress on Religion and Policies


Theologies of Peace and Justice: A Congress on Religion and Politics. Chicago Theological Seminary May 27-30, 1988.

Plenary Speakers:

For conference information please contact: Religion & Politics Congress Rm 1201, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, IL 60647

Associates for Religion & Intellectual Life

In the 1980s Associates for Religion & Intellectual Life Advisory Board members included Robert Bellah, Robert Coles M.D., Harvey Cox, James Forbes, Arthur Green, Ronald Sider, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Peter Steinfels, Arthur Waskow.

"Sex, Family, and Society in Theological Focus"

"Sex, Family, and Society in Theological Focus" the first of two volumes on “responsible sexuality for the contemporary Christian,” was edited and introduced by John Charles Wynn, Director of Studies, Colgate Rochester Divinity School.

This book and its anticipated companion are “designed for personal reading as well as for group study” by adults and youth. In addition to Dr. Wynn, the other writers were Harvey Cox (author of The Secular City); Pieter de Jong; James Gordon Emerson, Jr.; Roy Fairchild; William Genre; Dr. and Mrs. Dale B. Harris; William Alvin Pitcher; Cynthia Wedel; and Gibson Winter.[6]

DSOC Religious Commission

In 1977, John Cort attended the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee convention in Chicago. At the convention Cort and others organized a DSOC Religion and Socialism Committee (later Commission). Cort was elected coordinator and editor of the newsletter.

Among early leaders, co-editors and contributors to the newsletter were Peter Steinfels, Sister Mary Emil, Rosemary Ruether, Harvey Cox, Cornel West, Arthur Waskow, Joe Holland, James Luther Adams, Jim Gorman, Maxine Phillips and Jim Wallis. Monsignor George Higgins was also a contributor.[7]

Prominent DSOC member

According to Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee founder and chairman Michael Harrington, the influence of the group is disproportionate to its size because of the positions held by some DSOC members within the Democratic Party.

In 1980 prominent DSOC members included Rep, Ronald Dellums (D-CA); Hilda Mason, D.C. City Council, Harlan Baker, Maine state legislature; Jerry Nadler, New York state legislature, Perry Bullard, Michigan state legislature; Ruth Messinger, New York City Council; Harry Britt, San Francisco Board of Supervisors; Patrick Gorman, chairman of the board, Amalgamated Meatcutters; William Winpisinger, president, International Association of Machinists ; Irving Bluestone, vice president, United Auto Workers; Martin Gerber, vice-president, UAW, Sol Stetin, senior vice-president, Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers , Joyce Miller, national president, Coalition of Labor Union Women ; Dolores Huerta, vice-president, United Farmworkers, Cleveland Robinson, president, District 65, UAW; Victor Gotbaum, head of District Council 37, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees , New York, Mildred Jeffrey; Victor Reuther; James Farmer; Nat Hentoff; Gloria Steinem; Rosemary Reuther; Harvey Cox and Irving Howe.[8]

Democratic Agenda

More than 1,200 people attended the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee initiated Democratic Agenda Conference held November 16-18, 1979, at the International Inn and Metropolitan AM Church in Washington 1 DC. The conference focused on "corporate power'; as the key barrier to "economic and political democracy," concepts many Democratic Agenda participants defined as "socialism.'

The Democratic Agenda meetings attempted to develop anti-corporate alternatives" through influencing the direction of the Democratic Party during the period leading to the July 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York.

Constituency meetings included DSOC Religion and Socialism Committee - Arthur Waskow; Harvey Cox, Rosemary Ruether and Dorothy Solle.[[9]

"Fidel and Religion"


"Fidel and Religion: Castro Talks on Revolution and Religion With Frei Betto" May 1, 1987 by Fidel Castro (Author), Frei Betto (Author), Harvey Cox (Introduction).

Review in Foreign Affairs by Gaddis Smith Fall 1987:

Dominican priest from Brazil reports on 23 hours of conversation with Fidel Castro, who now asserts that religion can be a stimulant as well as an opiate. A Marxist can be a Christian and a Christian can work with a Marxist government: "What is important in both cases is a question of sincere revolutionaries disposed to abolish the exploitation of man by man." Castro admits his debt to the Jesuits who educated him, but Harvey Cox, in his introduction, suggests that Castro picked up the style of Jesuit thinking but not the content.[10]

Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign

Circa early 1980s, Harvey Cox was an endorser of a US-Soviet Nuclear Weapons Freeze petition circulated by the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, National Clearinghouse, based in St. Louis, Missouri.

DSA Conference delegate

In 1983 Harvey Cox was a Boston, Massachusetts delegate to the Democratic Socialists of America conference in New York City, October 14-16, 1983[11]

American Solidarity Movement

The American Solidarity Movement was announced in early 1984 by Democratic Socialists of America, as a vehicle to support American labor unions it considered under attack, or on strike and in need of support.

Members of the Initiating Committee for an American Solidarity Movement were: Michael Harrington (convenor), Stanley Aronowitz, Balfour Brickner, Harry Britt, Harvey Cox, Rep. Ron Dellums, Bogdan Denitch, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cynthia Epstein, Jules Feiffer, Rep. Barney Frank, Msgr. George Higgins, Irving Howe, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Frances Fox Piven, Jose Rivera, Ray Rogers, Gloria Steinem, Peter Steinfels, Ellen Willis.[12]

DSA member

In 1995 Harvey Cox, was a member of Democratic Socialists of America .[13]

Religious Socialism

Religious Socialism is the journal of the Religion and Socialism Commission of Democratic Socialists of America.

In the late 2000s it was edited by Andrew Hammer. Contributing editors were Maxine Phillips, Harvey Cox, Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson[14].


Delegation of National Council of Churches speaks with Cardinal Alfrink in Rotterdam about Vietnam, Harvey Cox (r) shows fragmentation bomb to Cardinal Alfrink (r) Date: January 9, 1973 Rotterdam.[15]


  1. [ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/403561.The_Situation_Ethics_Debate]
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. [3]
  5. [4]
  6. [5]
  7. Dreadful conversions: the making of a Catholic socialist, By John C. Cort, page 319
  8. Information Digest, September 19, 1980, page 331
  9. Information Digest, December 14, 1979, page 372
  10. [6]
  11. DSA Conference delegate list Oct. 12 1983 update
  12. Democratic Left, Jan./Feb. 1984, page 6
  13. Dem. Left, March/April 1995, page 22
  14. http://www.religioussocialism.com/RS.2.swf
  15. [7]