Protestant Educators

Picture of Luther Allan Weigle

Luther Allan Weigle (1880-1976): An ordained Lutheran minister, he later transferred his standing to the Congregational denomination. He was not only an outstanding Christian educator in the 20th Century, but an ecumenical pioneer, an innovator in theological education, a great preacher and spokesman for American Protestantism, a preeminent biblical scholar, and an honored world citizen. He represented the first generation in the religious education movement and laid important foundations for the field. He was one of the principal founders of the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches. For four decades he chaired the committee which brought into being the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. For twenty-one years he was dean of the Yale University Divinity School, while engineering the creation of the American Association of Theological Schools.

Biography

As President of the Federal Council of Churches and in other capacities he spoke out and wrote about the choices and challenges in American church life and public education. As a leader of the International Council of Religious Education and chairman of the World Sunday School Association he traveled widely and gave major addresses in Glasgow, Rio de Janeiro, Oslo, Mexico City, Toronto and elsewhere. In addition, he was a delegate and speaker at the International Missionary Council in Jerusalem in 1928, and he spent six months in China in 1935 visiting and consulting with the Christian colleges and seminaries. Weigle moved through much of the 20th century like a colossus, a giant among men and women. Weigle described himself as a "Republican in politics, a Lutheran in theology and a Congregationalist in affiliation." Robert Wood Lynn described his theological stance as "evangelical liberalism;" Weigle occupied a centrist position between modernity and biblical literalism.

As a professor, he broke new ground with courses on the psychology of religion, American church history and the principles of religious education. The list of his students reads like a Who's Who in the field of teaching and administration in religious education and higher education. He was the architect of one of the most important series in the field, the Yale Studies in the History and Theory of Religious Education, twenty-one volumes in all. He was the recipient of many honorary degrees and held many endowed lectureships. At his retirement as dean he was honored as a great teacher, mentor, friend and confidant. In his later years he saw the Revised Standard Version accepted as the "Common Bible" by all branches of Christianity, and he was made a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Paul VI.

Luther Weigle was born on September 11, 1880, at Littlestown, Pennsylvania, one of three children born to the Rev. Elias Daniel Weigle, D.D., and Hannah Bream Weigle. In an autobiographical essay, "The Religious Education of a Protestant," he described what it was like growing up in the home of a Lutheran minister and said that his family life was one of Christian nurture. His father was described as an "effective teacher," from whom more was learned than from years of Sunday school. Church life was filled with bible study, prayer meetings and revival services, and in later years he recalled that he had an experience of conversion at a young age. His father bought a typewriter and young Weigle would help in the typing of the sermons. At the age of 11 he reported in the local newspaper on a number of sermons preached by his father. He attended the public schools of Altoona, where the family moved when he was six years old, and he prepared for college at the preparatory school of Dickinson College.

Weigle enrolled in Gettysburg College and was most stimulated by a course in logic, four years of Greek, and an introduction to philosophy. He did extensive reading in biology and geology and "was convinced that one could accept the scientific principle of evolution and yet hold to the Christian conception of God and the Christian view of human life." Graduating from college in 1900, he gave the valedictory address. Study for the ministry followed at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. So proficient was he in Greek that he was asked to teach some of the classes in the subject at Gettysburg College when the professor was ill. He also taught at the academy associated with the college and, despite his father's hope that he would become a parish minister, he resolved to go on for graduate study and become a college teacher. Also, while at seminary, he preached one summer at a Lutheran church in Harrisburg and later at Mount Union. After two years at seminary he enrolled in the graduate school at Yale University. During his second year at Yale he was called to serve the First Lutheran Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This led to his ordination in 1903 by the Allegheny Synod, with his father taking part in the ceremony of "laying on of hands." This pastorate lasted one year, 1903-1904, and was followed by an assistantship in psychology at Yale.

Of great influence were several courses at Yale taught by George Ladd. Weigle received the PhD degree in 1905, and his dissertation was entitled "An Historical and Critical Study of Kant's Antinomy of Pure Reason." There was a subsidy available at Yale to help pay for the printing of dissertations, but revision was necessary and there was little time in his busy years of teaching at Carleton College. In the archives of Weigle at Yale's Sterling Memorial Library is a hand-written list that he prepared, "Great Teachers I Have Had," as follows: "Besides my father and Jesus; George T. Ladd, theism; James Mortison, study of religion; Borden P. Bowne, personalism; Imanuel Kant, moral obligation; William James, dilemma of determinism, will to believe; William DeWitt Hyde, God's Education of Man; Josiah Royce, religious aspect of philosophy; Horace Bushnell, Christian Nurture; John Dewey, social idealism, but 'Short-sighted pragmatism'."

Weigle married a former student of his, Clara Boxrud of Red Wing, Minnesota, and they had four children: Richard, Luther, Jr., Margaret and Ruth. Years later, when living in New Haven, Weigle was interviewed several times by a local reporter, John Knoble, and the resulting article in the New Haven Register began with this anecdote:

"This is Mr. Weigle speaking…" This has been the way Yale Divinity School Dean Emeritus Luther A. Weigle has been answering his telephone over the years, and his manner, as much as the man, has since become legend. Dean Weigle has verified an anecdote related to his phone answering habit. One day, the Weigle family sat down for dinner and the dean was summoned to the telephone. After a short conversation, he returned to the table and found his family waiting for him to say a prayer before the meal. He folded his hands, bowed his head and reverently said: "This is Mr. Weigle speaking…"

Weigle's career covered 66 years, fully two-thirds of the 20th century, from the time of his first teaching assignment in 1905 to his retirement as chairman, then as vice-chairman, of the Standard Bible Committee in 1970. His career can be divided into three stages, each 21-23 years in length. The first stage began with his appointment as a professor at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, followed by his move in 1916 to Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. The second stage was his long tenure as dean of Yale Divinity School, from 1928 to 1949. The final stage, when most people would be enjoying retirement, saw the completion of the entire Revised Standard Version of the Bible in 1952, the Apocrypha in 1957, and the translation being accepted as the "Common Bible" by Protestants, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

From 1905 to 1916 Weigle was professor of philosophy at Carleton, a Congregational Church-related college, with the exception of one year, 1914-1915, when he was a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School. For five years, 1909-1914, he also served as dean of the college and worked closely with the new president, Donald Cowling, who had been a friend and fellow graduate student at Yale. While at Carleton he also taught a course in psychology and established a school of education which trained and placed about 400 students as teachers in elementary and secondary schools. In recognition of his work, he was elected president of the Minnesota Educational Association in 1913. These years also saw the beginning of a life-long interest in the relationship between religion and public education. He was also the coach of a winning tennis team!

It was at Carleton that Weigle wrote his first book, The Pupil and the Teacher , which was commissioned and originally published by the Lutheran Publication Society in 1911, and later reprinted by other denominations and translated into other languages. Its purpose was to apply the new psychological insights regarding the development of children and adolescents to the teaching of the Bible and religion in Church Schools, commonly called Sunday schools. As such, it became a curriculum for the training of teachers by the cooperative Protestant organizations. The book was completely revised and re-published in 1929. The volume sold at least a million copies, and in later years Weigle was pleased that he had become a member of the "Yale book millionaire's club," joining colleagues such as Thornton Wilder, Robert Penn Warren, Roland Bainton and Kenneth Scott Latourette. It was this book which led to his appointment as a professor at Yale Divinity School.

Weigle became the first Horace Bushnell Professor of Christian Nurture at YDS in 1916. This chair had been endowed by Dotha Bushnell Hillyer, a daughter of Horace Bushnell, who had written the first part of his classic book, Christian Nurture , in 1847. Upon his appointment, Weigle prepared Bushnell's book for publication with a biographical essay by the YDS professor of church history, Williston Walker. Weigle also spoke at the laying of the cornerstone of Bushnell Hall in Hartford in 1928. He transferred his ministerial standing from the Lutheran Church to the Congregational Churches, indicating in his autobiographical essay: "I am glad that the freedom of the Congregational fellowship can embrace a Lutheran in theology." In 1924 he was appointed to the prestigious Sterling chair in religious education, the first one at YDS, a position he occupied until his retirement from Yale in 1949.

In addition to courses on the theory and practice of religious education, Weigle also taught classes in the psychology of religion, educational aspects of worship, and American church history. One of his responsibilities was to work with the Graduate School and the new School of Education, which flourished until the 1950s. In this capacity he helped a large number of graduate students who sought to earn the PhD, as well as the hundreds of seminarians going into various kinds of ministry. The department of religious education at YDS and the Graduate School launched an ambitious program to publish the very best of the doctoral dissertations as well as other research in the field under the name, the Yale Studies in the History and Theory of Religious Education. The first volume was published in 1924 by the Yale University Press: The History of Religious Education in Connecticut to the Middle of the Nineteenth Century by George Stewart, Jr. Weigle served as executive editor of the series.

Weigle followed up his best-selling book, The Pupil and the Teacher , with others: Training the Devotional Life in 1919 with Henry Hallam Tweedy, Talks to Sunday School Teachers in 1920, and Training Children in the Christian Family in 1921. Because of his teaching in the field of American church history, he was asked to prepare a volume in the series, "The Pageant of America: A Pictorial History of the United States," edited by Ralph H. Gabriel of the Yale faculty. This resulted in Volume X, American Idealism in 1928, the history of American religion and education replete with many illustrations. Other writings grew out of his participation in conventions of the World Sunday School Association, the International Missionary Council and the International Council of Religious Education.The second stage of his remarkable career began in 1928 when he was appointed dean of Yale Divinity School, succeeding Charles R. Brown. It was a critical time in theological education, both at Yale and throughout North America. Theological seminaries were, with a few exceptions, primarily denominational in nature, standards were low, and most applicants were accepted. Coinciding with Weigle's career at Yale was a cooperative movement that brought seminaries together, first in a regular biennial Conference and then in the formation of the American Association of Theological Schools in 1936. Weigle became chairman of the executive committee. Also, through his involvement in Yale-in-China, he was invited to spend six months in China in 1935, attending meetings of the Christian council, visiting schools and seminaries and writing a full report with recommendations for improving Chinese theological education.

There were many accomplishments and improvements in his own seminary. The schedule and curriculum were revised; enrollment was limited and standards for both admission and graduation were increased; women were admitted for the first time in 1932; new faculty members were recruited, such as H. Richard Niebuhr in Christian ethics, Liston Pope in social ethics, Millar Burrows in Bible, Hugh Hartshorne in psychology of religion, and Paul Vieth in religious education. Endowed funds from the university were extended to the divinity school; formerly, the school was limited to its own separate endowment. Funds from the Sterling trust and the Rockefellers were obtained to build a beautiful new campus called the Sterling Divinity Quadrangle upon the hill on Prospect Street, north of downtown New Haven. In Georgian style, this quadrangle provided eight dormitories, classrooms, offices, a chapel, a common room, refectory, gymnasium and a library. The result was that the maximum enrollment increased from 300 to 400, and the student body represented many more colleges, denominations and foreign countries. Yale Divinity School rose to the top echelon of theological seminaries in North America. Roland Bainton, eminent church historian and a YDS professor wrote in his book, Yale and the Ministry , published in 1957: "The last quarter of a century has been the greatest in the history of the Yale Divinity School." These were the "golden years" under the leadership of Dean Weigle and his successor, Liston Pope.

Because the case of Jerome Davis occupies almost two large boxes in Weigle's archives, brief mention should be made of it. Davis had joined the YDS faculty in 1924 in the Gilbert Stark chair of social philanthropy, later social ethics. He became well known in the country for his advocacy of labor organizing and other progressive issues. In the mid-1930s he sought promotion to a full professorship and the rank of a "permanent officer," but it was denied and Yale dismissed him. A complaint was filed with the American Association of University Professors, but their investigating committee found that Yale did not violate the principles of academic freedom or civil liberties. Dean Weigle wanted a different kind of teacher in the Stark chair and he wanted a professor who could work with the sociology department downtown. His views on the matter prevailed, but there was some feeling that too many years had gone by without resolving the issue.

Even during his tenure as Dean, Weigle continued to teach courses in religious education and a class on American church history, but he became more and more preoccupied with the many committees and organizations which required his attention. He was in great demand as a speaker at conventions, conferences, anniversaries, commencements, and at colleges and universities, seminaries and churches. His James Sprunt lectures at the Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. were published in 1938 under the title, Jesus and the Educational Method . A collection of his sermons appeared in 1937 with the title, We are Able . He also edited the centenary edition of Bushnell's Christian Nurture in 1947.

On April 28, 1949, there was a testimonial dinner for Weigle on the occasion of his retirement. Mary Alice Jones, one of his doctoral students, referred to him as "the man who turned Sunday School teaching into a science." Samuel McCrea Cavert of the Federal Council of Churches talked about his "rare combination of outstanding scholarship with unique administrative and organizational ability." YDS colleague Robert L. Calhoun recounted his days as a student at Carleton when Weigle was a professor and dean and listed his qualities then and at Yale: "the same amazing capacity for work, the same inclusive friendliness and good humor, the same easy competence in administration and in all sorts of human relations, and the same zeal for the whole diverse enterprise of education." A large album of letters from former students, colleagues and friends was presented, referring to him as a "great teacher," "wise counselor," and "friend." A Luther Weigle fund was set up at YDS, and Randolph Crump Miller was the first professor to teach under this new endowment.

The third stage in his long career began with his retirement from Yale in 1949 and ended when he relinquished chairmanship of the Standard Bible Committee in 1966 and the vice-chairmanship in 1970. His 1948 Cole lectures at Vanderbilt University were published as The English New Testament from Tyndale to the Revised Standard Version . In addition, his The Living Word: Some Bible Words Explained was published in 1956 and Bible Words in Living Language in 1960, the latter with Ronald Bridges. Also, he edited two large volumes called "Octapla," one on the entire New Testament and the other on the book of Genesis. Each volume presented eight English translations on facing pages. In the last years of his life Weigle was working on a book on the history of the English Bible.

The completion of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible in 1952 was the crowning achievement of Weigle's career. It became an instant best-seller with sales of two and a half million copies in the first year. But there was also much opposition and controversy. Some people inquired as to how the Bible could be "changed," and Weigle pointed out that it was only the English translation that was changed. Organized opposition was led by Carl McIntyre and others on the grounds that the new version was "modernist," even "communist." There were even two examples of Bible-burning, in North Carolina and Ohio. A frontal attack was made on the RSV translation of Isaiah 7:14: "Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." There were those who claimed that this undermined the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus, but Weigle explained that "young woman" was the correct translation of the Hebrew word and that this did not effect the translation of the Greek in the New Testament. In effect, the RSV ended the stranglehold of the King James Version in Protestant churches and opened the door for other translations, such as the New International Version or NIV.

Weigle devoted much time to addresses, articles and interviews about the new translation and used the media of radio and television to convey his message. In 1953 he wrote an "Open Letter" to the churches, setting forth his convictions about the Revised Standard Version and its use. After the Apocrypha was added to the RSV Bible in 1957, Roman Catholic scholars worked on their own RSV edition. When Weigle spoke at the dedication of the RSV memorial room at the Interchurch Center in New York City in 1964, he proudly pointed out the authorized Catholic publication, with the imprimatur of Cardinal Cushing of the Boston Archdiocese. Conversations with representatives of the Greek Orthodox Churches led to the acceptance of the RSV as the "Common Bible" of all three branches of Christianity: Protestant, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

In recognition of his achievements in Bible translation and interpretation Weigle was made a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Paul VI in 1966, and the award was presented by Archbishop Henry O'Brien of Hartford at a ceremony in St. Thomas More Chapel in New Haven. The citation read in part: "Surely it is no mere conventional compliment to say that Dean Weigle has been a chosen instrument of the Lord for the historic task of bringing separated brothers together in the reading of God's Word. God's grace in Dean Weigle has not been without fruit, of which all of us, and generations to come, are the beneficiaries."

Weigle has been the recipient of many other awards, including citations for distinguished service by the Congregational Christian Churches, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Boy Scouts of America, the Chicago Bible Society (Gutenberg Award), and the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. He has held named professorial lectureships at fourteen universities and seminaries and has received fourteen honorary degrees. Weigle was one of the first recipients of the Wilbur Lucius Cross medal, established by the Yale Graduate School Association in memory of a Yale professor and dean who had become Governor of the state of Connecticut. The New Haven Register presented its 1973 Connecticut Citizen of the Year award to him, saying: "The work of achieving (for the three branches of Christianity) of a common reading for the words of the prophets and of their God is in some ways the highest ecumenical statement of the current age of ecumenism."

Luther Allan Weigle died on September 2, 1976, in New Haven at the age of 95. The memorial service was held on September 7 in the Church of the Redeemer on Whitney Avenue in New Haven with Gerald Knoff delivering the message. Knoff, who was another doctoral student of Weigle's and a former executive of the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches, gave thanks to God for Weigle's teaching ministry, ecumenical and interchurch leadership, leadership in Bible translation, and as a Christian son, husband and father. He was buried next to his wife in a hilltop cemetery in New Hampshire, not far from their beloved summer home at Lake Sunapee, which the family had enjoyed for forty-five years.

Shortly after his death, a book of memoirs and memorabilia appeared with the title, The Glory Days: From the Life of Luther Allan Weigle , edited by his son, Richard D. Weigle, and published by Friendship Press in New York City. Besides a selection of essays, articles and sermons by Weigle, augmented by other associates, there is a complete bibliography, an expanded section about his long-term chairmanships and a "love letter" tribute from his daughter, Ruth Weigle Guyton, which was written for Valentine's Day in 1975. After describing his career as a public figure and as a loving father, she concluded with these words recognizing that her father was no longer traveling throughout the world: "Those were the glory days. Now life has narrowed to the limits of an upstairs room, but thousands the world over hold you in their hearts and lift you in their prayers."

On a personal note, Weigle had been retired for two years as dean when I entered Yale Divinity School in1951, but his presence was still felt. He came to the campus for meetings of the Standard Bible Committee in what was called the "RSV Room," and his course on American church history was remembered fondly. As a young pastor in Illinois, I went to the annual February meetings of the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches, when he would meet with YDS alumni and report on further progress with the RSV Bible, and I was present when he was honored in Omaha at the 1959 banquet. As the general secretary of the Religious Education Association, I corresponded with him on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the journal, Religious Education , and received a warm gracious reply. I visited him in that "upstairs room" in one of his last years and attended his memorial service in 1976. He was included in a chapter prepared for the special issue of the journal in 1978 on "Pioneers of Religious Education in the 20th Century." Coincidentally, his last published article appeared in 1966 in the magazine, Church School Worker , when one of my first articles was published.

So numerous were his organizational involvements and so prodigious were his efforts and achievements that a separate section in needed to call attention to them, even though some have been mentioned before. In his own words Weigle wrote: "Like others of active temperament, I have chaired from time to time, various committees, boards or associations. Four of these appointments have been of exceptional duration and importance." They were the American Association of Theological Schools, the World Sunday School Association, the Standard Bible Committee, and the National Council of Churches. In his memorial address in 1976 Gerald Knoff listed the many organizations that Weigle was connected to and added that in none of them was he "a back bencher, a honorary member, or a silent partner. He was a working and dependable colleague and worked in every instance, and in most of these duties he sat at the head of the table."

From 1928 to 1948, through most of his tenure as dean at YDS, Weigle was chairman of the executive committee of the American Association of Theological Schools and its predecessor Conference. As early as 1917 he had been involved in efforts to increase standards for educational leadership, theological education and the ordination of clergy. Biennial meetings of a Conference of seminaries in the U.S. and Canada began in 1918, and a study of the preparation of American ministers was completed in 1934. The AATS was constituted in 1936, Lewis J Sherrill, one of Weigle's doctoral students, became the executive secretary, and a plan for accrediting seminaries and improving standards was adopted.

The World Sunday School Association had its beginnings in 1889 in London. Weigle attended the ninth convention in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1924 and addressed the assembly. At the 1928 convention he was elected chairman and thus began a thirty-year period of leadership and a life-long friendship with the British leader, Sir Harold Mackintosh. In later years the name of the organization was changed to the World Council of Christian Education Sunday School Association, and another Weigle doctoral student, Forrest Knapp. served as the North American executive. Gerald Knoff has written its history in the 1979 book, The World Sunday School Movement , published by the Seabury Press.

An American translation of the Bible was published by Thomas Nelson and Sons in 1901, but there was a widespread feeling that it had lost some of the beauty and simplicity of the King James Version. The copyright was conveyed in 1928 to the International Council of Religious Education, representing forty Protestant denominations. An American Standard Bible Committee was formed, consisting of two sections, in Old Testament and New Testament, and Weigle was elected chairman in 1930. Meetings were held through the years at Yale, Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and in Northfield, Massachusetts, in the summer. Roman Catholic scholars were added to the committee in 1966, along with a Jewish scholar, Harry Orlinsky. Herbert May of Oberlin succeeded Weigle as chairman in 1966, but Weigle continued to do much of the work as vice chairman until 1970.

Weigle was well suited to chair the planning committee for the National Council of Churches, which brought together twelve agencies in 1950. One of these was the International Council of Religious Education, for which Weigle had chaired several committees and commissions. Two of his doctoral students, Paul Vieth and Mary Alice Jones, had served on the staff, and its history had been recorded by William Clayton Bower and Percy Roy Hayward in their 1949 book, Protestantism Faces Its Educational Task Together . Weigle had also been active in another agency, the Federal Council of Churches, and had served as president in 1940-1942. In this capacity he chaired the coordinating committee for wartime service and helped develop the chaplaincy program. Because of his outstanding work on the planning committee, Weigle was made honorary chairman of the founding convention in 1950 in Cleveland.

These four long-term chairmanships tell only part of the story. Weigle had been a member of the Religious Education Association since 1914, had chaired two of its departments, and served on its council, the editorial committee and the board of directors. Founded in 1903 by William Rainey Harper, first president of the University of Chicago, the organization shaped the modern religious education movement. Even more than George Albert Coe, often called the "dean" of religious educators, Weigle embodied the vision and ideals of Harper because of their common interest in the best of biblical scholarship and a devotion to a comprehensive program of education. Weigle helped to plan policy and programs for the R.E.A. conventions, but resigned from its board in 1930. He returned in 1953 to give one of the three major addresses at the opening assembly of the golden anniversary convention in Pittsburgh.

Weigle attended the International Sunday School Association convention in Chicago in 1914 and became a member of the International Uniform Lesson Committee, charged with the task of updating the uniform lessons which had first been inaugurated in 1872. He was critical, however, of their un-graded approach and their resistance to modern pedagogy, psychological understandings and sound biblical scholarship. Meanwhile, the association evolved into the International Council of Religious Education.

Even before transferring his ministerial standing to the denomination, Weigle had been active in shaping the educational ministry of the Congregational Churches, serving as chairman of its editorial committee and of a commission on religious and moral education. In 1915 he also drafted a report on "The Present Status of Religious Education in Congregational Churches" for their national body, the General Council.

It is not generally known that Weigle was active in what was first called the Modern Missionary Movement and later A Movement for World Christianity, which lasted only until 1939; he chaired the committee of the research department. He supported the Laymen's Foreign Missions Inquiry and its report, Rethinking Missions, issued in 1932.

Just as with the National Council of Churches, he was instrumental in developing plans for the formation of the World Council of Churches. Much has been written of the earlier conferences on Faith and Order and Life and Work which laid the foundations for the WCC. Weigle himself presented a forty-six page paper on "The Church and Christian Education" to the conference on Life and Work in Stockholm in 1925, and with J.H. Oldham he gave a significant report on world religious education at the International Missionary Conference in Jerusalem in 1928. He was on the planning team for the WCC in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in 1938, but the organizational assembly was not held until 1948 in Amsterdam.

Closer to home, he was vice president of the Connecticut Council of Churches and Religious Education, and he chaired its education committee. He served on the boards of the Northfield Schools and the Hazen Foundation. He was president of Yale-in-China for ten years. He was invited to the inauguration in 1940 of President Roosevelt, and also served on the executive committee of the White House Conference on Children and Youth in 1950. Weigle was a member of the honorary fraternities, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Delta Kappa and Alpha Tau Omega, and was listed in Who's Who . The Weigles were active in the Church of the Redeemer (Congregational) in New Haven, not far from their home on Cold Spring Street. Weigle was a leader of adult education classes and discussion groups and was an occasional preacher.


Contributions to Christian Education

First and foremost, Weigle's greatest contribution to Christian education was the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Gerald Knoff, in his memorial address, spoke of his outstanding leadership: "He was often a mediating influence, adroit in finding a way ahead when scholars disagreed. He was the interpreter of the work of translators to the courts of the churches and the trusted messenger of policy decisions … It has been said that it was he who hit upon the words of 'steadfast love' as a replacement for 'loving-kindness' as an attribute of God." It was Weigle's aim to bring the message of the Word of God to new generations with fresh power and meaning. It was his greatest achievement.

Weigle laid important philosophical and theological foundations for the field that he called Christian religious education. Roland Bainton wrote in his book, Yale and the Ministry : "Together with his late colleague, Robert Seneca Smith, Weigle deserves largely the credit of saving the Religious Education movement from the instrumentalism of John Dewey then rampant. Weigle conceived the department of Religious Education in a divinity school to assist ministers to think of the entire work in educational terms and specifically to prepare them to train their own Sunday School teachers." For Weigle, Christian religious education was an integral and essential part of the ministry of the church.

Weigle gained academic standing for the field of Christian education through his graduate program and the Yale Studies in the History and Theory of Religious Education. On July 3, 1969, he wrote a letter to George Stewart, author of the first book in the series: "I have never forgotten that you were my first PhD candidate and you really put graduate study in Religious Education on the map here at Yale by capturing the John Addison Porter prize." Robert Wood Lynn called the Yale studies "the most important single set of writings about the history of Protestant education. Much of the credit is due to Luther A. Weigle, the architect of the Yale Studies." Lynn speculated that the series was intended to serve the requirements of a newly emergent profession and bring respectability to the program. Under Weigle it was a profession "solidly rooted in an historical tradition and theological perspective."

A tradition of excellence in Christian education was established at Yale, which lasted through most of the 20th century. Weigle was the progenitor of an extended family of outstanding educators, who were pioneers and trailblazers in their own right. A veritable "genealogy" of Christian educators was generated at Yale under Weigle and those who succeeded him: First generation ­ Weigle; second generation (1910-1930) ­ H. Shelton Smith, Paul Vieth, Lewis J. Sherrill, Forest Knapp, Wilfred Powell; third generation (1930-1950) ­ Randolph Crump Miller, Mary Alice Jones, Gerald Knoff, Rachel Henderlite, Donald Maynard, Lawrence Little, Harold Pflug, Harrison Elliott, Clarence Shedd. After Weigle, under Vieth and Miller, a fourth generation (1950-1970) ­ Will Kennedy, Sara Little, Robert Wood Lynn, Harry Baker Adams, Donald Leonard, Findley Edge, Boardman Kathan, David Steward, Charles Melchert; fifth generation (1970-1990) ­ Norma Everist, Larry Axel. Even those who did not complete PhDs at Yale were drawn by Weigle's reputation and took courses with him, such as John Lobingier and Edna May Baxter.

Not only did Weigle help to guide the new profession and gain academic respectability and excellence, but he also led in the shaping of the educational ministry in the Protestant churches of North America. For the International Council of Religious Education he chaired the committee on basic philosophy and policies, which issued a report in 1940, "Christian Education Today." According to the report: "In recent years Christian education has been under fire from both of two extreme positions - from secular-minded humanism on the one hand and from arbitrary supernaturalism on the other … Christian education will not yield to the extremes. It is animated by Christian faith." The report reiterated the eight "Objectives of Religious Education," which had been developed at Yale by Paul Vieth and published in his 1930 book.

Weigle took the initiative in keeping Horace Bushnell's book, Christian Nurture , in print and in public awareness with editions in 1916, 1947 and 1967. In the introduction to the centenary version in 1947 Weigle wrote: "Horace Bushnell's Christian Nurture is as significant today as when it was published one hundred years ago. Modern psychology and sociology have confirmed its insights, and the best of modern education is in its spirit." The book has contributed much to the Protestant understanding of Baptism and its implications for education in the family and the church.

Much has already been said about his leadership in reforming theological education and in establishing Christian education as an important discipline within it. Even in retirement he urged that a new study be done of the theological schools of North America, and it eventuated in the momentous report summarized in the book, The Purpose of the Church and its Ministry , by H. Richard Niebuhr. The study was famous for its definition of the goal of the church "as the increase among men of the love of God and neighbor" and the role of the minister as "pastoral director," which embraced the tasks of preaching and teaching.

Before the term was common, Weigle was an ecumenist, a pioneer in inter-church and ecumenical relations, both at home and overseas, and his aim was to strengthen those relations in Christian education. Weigle was instrumental in establishing a strong Division of Christian Education within the National Council of Churches and a close working relationship between the World Council of Christian Education and the World Council of Churches. Along with John R. Mott, Robert E. Speer and Henry Smith Leiper, he was one of the chief American leaders in the world ecumenical movement.

Not as well known was his work in the modern missionary movement and the importance of the task of Christian education. He had given a vigorous report on religious education to the International Missionary Council in Jerusalem in 1928. Even though he supported the work of the Laymen's Inquiry, he joined with E. Stanley Jones and other leaders to write The Christian Message for the World Today in 1934.

His work in China deserves special mention. At the invitation of the Chinese Christian churches Weigle had spent six months there in 1935 visiting colleges and seminaries and attending conferences. He was accompanied by his wife, his son Richard and his daughter Ruth. One result was the formation of an association of theological seminaries in the country. In his history, Knoff called the trip "perhaps the most significant field service of this period." Throughout his career Weigle worked on the relationship between Christian education and worship, both private and public, for families as well as for churches. He developed a course on the educational aspects of worship, wrote a book on the subject with a colleague, and explored extensively the subject of the use of the Bible in worship. Weigle wrote the preface to the 1931 edition of the Pilgrim Hymnal for the Congregational Churches, saying: "It expresses our faith in Christ and in the God whom he reveals, and it seeks to bring this faith to bear upon the new problems and movements of our time." After the RSV New Testament was completed, he was distressed by the 1946 Chicago Tribune article, "Bible loses its song," a criticism that the song and music of the King James Version had been lost in the new translation, and he countered with his own lists of phrases from the RSV that could be set to music. In 1957 he published an article on "The Use of the RSV in Liturgy and Education."

A final and, perhaps, more controversial contribution was his attempt to apply his Christian faith to issues of public policy, especially the place of religion in public education. It is not clear whether Weigle was ever a member of the National Reform Association, an organization which tried for generations to add a "Christian nation" amendment to the U.S. Constitution and which led the movement for state legislatures to mandate prayer and Bible reading in the public schools, beginning in 1911. However, Weigle did write an introduction to two of their books: God in our public schools , by W. S. Fleming in 1942, and Our public school ­ Christian or secular by R.H. Martin. In an article published in 1947 in the magazine, Social Action, Weigle believed that the United States was a Christian nation, "in the sense that the Christian religion is the faith of the great majority of our citizens, and that the Judaeo-Christian principles of morality underlie and sustain our life and are to a great extent embodied in our laws."

So strongly did he feel on the subject that he was an "expert witness" in 1958 in the case of Schempp v. Abington in the U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania. Weigle proposed that the Bible was not a sectarian book and that reading ten verses from the Bible and using the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of the school day was not sectarian. His opinion was that reading the Bible had educational and high literary value as well as being a custom in keeping with the values and traditions of American life. When asked to define "sectarian," he said: "A movement is sectarian when it is meant to establish the distinctive doctrine of some particular sect as opposed to the doctrines of other sects."

The U.S. Supreme Court declared prayer and Bible reading unconstitutional in its 1962 and 1963 decisions in the cases of Engel v. Vitale from New York State and the Murray and Schempp cases from Maryland and Pennsylvania. There was a great public outcry and many attempts were made to amend the Constitution. On April 27, 1964, Weigle wrote a letter to the Honorable Emanuel Celler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, in which he set forth his views. Weigle believed in the separation of Church and State, but he did not feel that this required the government and the schools to be godless. Neutrality was proper in relation to different religions, but neutrality about God meant denial. He mailed copies of his article published in 1950 in the magazine, Christianity and Crisis , and he urged support of an amendment proposed by Congressman Frank Becker of New York, which would permit prayers and Bible reading in schools and public places, and would allow the invoking of God or a Supreme Being in public places and documents. Weigle, today, would be a strong supporter of retaining the words "under God," in the Pledge of Allegiance. The phrase, "one nation under God," would seem to be a part of the canon or creed for Weigle's entire life.

Works Cited

Unless otherwise cited, all information in this article is taken from the Luther Allan Weigle Archives, located at the Sterling Library of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

  • Bainton, R. H. (1957). Yale and the ministry . San Francisco, CA: Harper and Row.
  • Bower, W. C., & Hayward, P. R. (1949). Protestantism faces its educational task together . Appleton, WI: C.C. Nelson Publishing Co.
  • Bushnell, H. (1947). Christian Nurture . New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Knoble, J. (1971, February, 14). A lifetime of making God the ultimate concern. REACH , 6 (1), 3-4. Reprinted from the New Haven Register .
  • Knoff, G. (1977). Luther Allan Weigle, 1880-1976. Religious Education , LXII (1), 85-90.
  • Knoff, G. (1979). The World Sunday School Movement . New York: The Seabury Press.
  • Lynn, R. W. (1972). The uses of history: An inquiry into the history of American religious education. Religious Education , LXVII (2), 83-97.
  • Niebuhr, H. R. (1956). The purpose of the church and its ministry . New York: Harper & Bros. Pilgrim Hymnal . (1931). Boston and Chicago: The Pilgrim Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1950). Freedom of religion and education. Christianity and Crisis , X, 98-103.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1947). The American tradition of religious freedom. Social Action , XIII (9), 5-14.
  • Weigle, L. A. (Ed.). (1940). Christian education today . Chicago: International Council of Religious Education.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1933). The religious education of a Protestant. In V. Ferm, (Ed.), Contemporary American theology: Theological autobiographies (pp. 309-340). New York: Round Table Press.
  • Weigle, R. (Ed.) (1976). The glory days: From the life of Luther Allan Weigle . New York: Friendship Press.

Bibliography

(Reprinted with permission from The Glory Days: From the Life of Luther Allan Weigle , edited by Richard D. Weigle. New York: Friendship Press, 1976.)

(Editors note: These references begin with the most recent and progress from newer to older.)

Books

  • Weigle, L. A. (Ed.). (1965). The Genesis Octapla: Eight English versions of the Bible in the Tyndale-King James tradition . New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons.
  • Weigle, L. A. (Ed.). (1962). The New Testament Octapla: Eight English versions of the New Testament in the Tyndale-King James tradition . New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons.
  • Weigle, L. A., & Bridges, R. (1960). The Bible word book: Concerning obsolete or archaic words in the King James version of the Bible . New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1956). The living word: Some Bible words explained . New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1949). The English New Testament from Tyndale to the Revised Standard Version . New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (Ed.). (1947). Christian Nurture, by Horace Bushnell . New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1939). Jesus and the educational method . New York, Cincinnati: The Abingdon Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1937). We are able . New York: Harper & Brothers.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1928). American idealism (Vol. X). The Pageant of America. New Haven, Yale University Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). The training of children in the Christian family . Boston, Chicago: The Pilgrim Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). Talks to Sunday school teachers . New York: Doran.
  • Weigle, L. A., & Hallam, H. (1919). Training the devotional life . Boston: Pilgrim Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (Ed.). (1916). Christian Nurture, by Horace Bushnell . New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1911). The pupil and the teacher . Philadelphia: The United Lutheran Publication House. (New edition, 1929).

Booklets and Brochures

  • Weigle, L. A. (1955). Bible words that have changed in meaning . New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1952). An introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament . New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1946). An introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament . New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1945). America's heritage of faith . Commencement address, Carleton College.
  • Weigle, L. A. (Ed.). (1940). Christian education today . Chicago: International Council of Religious Education.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1940). Public education and religion . Chicago: International Council of Religious Education.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1931). The new paganism and the coming revival . Richmond, VA: Presbyterian Church, U.S.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1930). The teacher of religion and the problem of authority . Boston: Boston University.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1928). The spiritual training of children . Washington, DC: National PTA.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1927). Religious and secular education . New York: American Tract Society.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1925). The church and Christian education . New York: Universal Christian Conference on Life and Work.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1923). Home training and the problem of authority . Nashville: Methodist Episcopal Church South.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1917). Luther and the Protestant Reformation . Boston: Pilgrim Press.

Articles in Books

  • Weigle, L. A. (1970). The Standard Bible Committee. In H. T. Frank, & W.L. Reed (Eds.), Translating and Understanding the Old Testament (pp. 29-41). Nashville: Abingdon Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1963). English versions since 1611. In S. L. Greenslade (Ed.), The Cambridge history of the Bible (pp. 361-382). Cambridge, England: University Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1953-1965). The Revised Standard Version of the Bible. In B. Y. Landis (Ed.), Yearbook of American churches . New York: National Council of Churches.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1953). Thirty-five years of cooperation in theological education. In To do and to teach: Essays in honor of Charles Lynn Pyatt (pp. 65-73). Lexington, KY: The College of the Bible.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1950). The aim and scope of religious education. In P. H. Lotz (Ed.), Orientation in religious education (pp. 87-98). New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1947). Give us this day our daily bread. In P. Butler (Ed.), Best sermons (pp. 250-255). New York and London: Harper & Brothers.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1947). The challenge of the future. In W. K. Anderson (Ed.), Methodism (pp. 291-299). Cincinnati: Methodist Publishing House.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1945). The courage to be liberal. In Education and the faith of America . Brooklyn NY: Packer Collegiate Institute.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1945). The American tradition and the relation between religion and education. In Religion and public education: Proceedings of a conference (pp. 26-34). Washington, DC: American Council on Education.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1944). Religious liberty in the postwar world. In F. E. Johnson (Ed.), Religion and the world order: A series of addresses and discussions (pp. 29-37). New York: Institute for Religious Studies.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1944). A personal confession of faith. In The quest for God through faith . Wyoming, IL: Press of the Post-Herald.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1943). Francis E. Clark, Benjamin F. Mills, Dwight Moody, Henry C. Trumbull, Milton Valentine. In Dictionary of American biography . New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • eigle, L. A. (1942-1946). Church membership. Britannica book of the year . New York: Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1942). Christian motivation supplies an essential prerequisite to effective action. In A righteous faith for a just and durable peace (pp. 27-31). New York: Federal Council of Churches.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1941). The religious background of democracy. In Science, philosophy and religion: Second symposium (pp. 540-548). New York: Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1941). Christian education and world evangelization. In Christian education and world evangelization (pp. 12-17). New York: World's Sunday School Association.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1940). Today's Message. In The spiritual diary: A day-by-day inspirational guide . New York: Jordan House.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1938-1946). Sunday schools. In Britannica book of the year . New York: Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1938). Theological education. In J. I. Parker (Ed.), Interpretative statistical survey of the world mission of the Christian church (pp. 250-252). New York: International Missionary Council.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1937). Christ and the Bible in education. In Christ and the Bible . East Northfield, MA: The Northfield Schools.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1936). Christ the hope of the world. In Christ the hope of the world: The twelfth World's Sunday school convention (pp. 200-208). New York: World's Sunday School Association.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1936). Religious education and school administration. In C. M. Hill (Ed.), Educational progress and school administration (pp. 329-344). New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1935). Report of a survey and conference. In C. S. Miao (Ed.), Education for service in the Christian church in China (pp. 99-105, 110-135). New York: Board of Founders, Nanking Seminary.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1934). The purpose of missions. In The Christian message for the world today (pp. 160-181). New York: Round Table Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1932). The purpose and plan of the convention. In The living Christ in the world fellowship of religious education (pp. 49-53). St. Louis: Bethany Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1933). The religious education of a Protestant. In V. Ferm (Ed.), Contemporary American theology: Theological autobiographies (pp. 309-340). New York: Round Table Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1932). The need of commitment to a living lord. In Finding the will and power of the living God . (pp. 22-27). New York: Association Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1930). Objectives of a Christian college. In The inauguration of Clarence Moore Donnelly as president of Kentucky Wesleyan College (pp. 5-17). Winchester: Kentucky Wesleyan Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1930). What makes religious education Christian? In Go … teach: Report of the Quadrennial Convention (pp. 234- 236). Chicago: International Council of Religious Education.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1929). School and curriculum: the United States: Religion. In Encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. 20). New York: Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1929). What is a Christian college? In Inauguration of Edmund Davison Soper (pp. 3-16). Delaware, Ohio: Ohio Wesleyan University.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1928). Religious education, Christian religious education. In The Jerusalem meeting of the international missionary council (Vol. II, pp. 1-89, 171-180). New York: International Missionary Council.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1928). Beginning at Jerusalem. In J. T. Faris (Ed.), Thy Kingdom come (pp. 335-340). New York: World's Sunday School Association.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1928). Contribution of religion to education. In M.S. Mason (Ed.), A survey of organized cooperation of home, school, and community (pp. 90-110). Boston, New York: Ginn & Co.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1927). The church and education. In J. Davis (Ed.), Christianity and social adventuring (pp. 257-273). New York: Century Co.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1924). The place of religious education in church programs. Recent experiences in lesson course making. In Proceedings of the council of cities (pp. 90-99, 278-287). Philadelphia: Methodist Episcopal Church.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1924). Conferences on materials and methods for religious education in the foreign field. The Sunday school and the healing of the nations (pp. 126-130). New York: World's Sunday School Association.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1923). The teaching work of the church. In The committee on the war and the religious outlook (Chaps. 1 & 2). New York: Association Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1922). Departments of religious education in theological seminaries. In Organized Sunday school work in North America , 1918-1922 (pp. 427-432). Chicago: International Council of Religious Education.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1922). The educational service of the Christian churches in the twentieth century. In Education for Christian service . New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1919). Report of the commission on moral and religious education. In Minutes of the National Council of Congregational Churches (pp. 246-254). Boston: National Council of Congregational Churches.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1918). The effect of the war upon religious education. In E. H. Sneath (Ed.), Religion and the war (pp. 105-121). New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1915). Nine articles. In The encyclopedia of Sunday schools and religious education (Vols. I - III). New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1915). Supplementary report of the commission on religious and moral education. In Minutes of the National Council of Congregational Churches (pp. 412-436). Boston: National Council of the Congregational Churches.

Introductions to Books

  • Weigle, L. A. (1966). Introduction. In H. C. Alleman, Prayers for boys . Camden, NJ: Thomas Nelson & Sons.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1966). Introduction. In E. R. Scovil, Prayers for girls . Camden, NJ: Thomas Nelson & Sons.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1959). Introduction. In J. E. Lantz, Reading the Bible aloud . New York: Macmillan.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1958). Introduction. In C. K. Thomas, Alexander Campbell and his new version . St. Louis: The Bethany Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1952). Introduction. In R. H. Martin, Our public schools - Christian or secular . Pittsburgh: National Reform Association.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1950). Introduction. In E. H. Sponseller, Crusade for education: The development of educational ideals in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ . Frederick, MD: E. H. Sponseller.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1942). Introduction. In W. S. Fleming, God in our public schools . Pittsburgh: National Reform Association.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1934). Introduction. In W. E. Powell, Introduction for life with God . New York: Abingdon Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1933). Introduction. In A. Keller, Karl Barth and Christian unity: The influence of the Barthian movement upon the churches of the world . New York: Macmillan.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1931, 1935). Introduction. In The Pilgrim hymnal . Boston, Chicago: The Pilgrim Press.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1930). Introduction. In P. H. Vieth, Objectives in religious education . New York, London: Harper & Brothers.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1930). Introduction. In V. Ferm, What is Lutheranism? A symposium in interpretation . New York: Macmillan.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1929). Introduction. In H. R. Gold, Bible stories told again . New York, Chicago: Fleming H. Revell.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1928). Introduction. In D. D. Barbour, Making the Bible desired . Garden City: Doubleday, Doran & Co.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1928). Introduction. In B. Carrier, The kingdom of love . Garden City: Doubleday, Doran & Co.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1927). Introduction. In V. Ferm, The crisis in American Lutheran theology . New York: Century Co.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1927). Introduction. In E. M. Crandall, A curriculum of worship for the junior Church school, first year . New York: Century Co.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1925). Introduction. In N. C. K. Wadhams, Project lessons on the Gospel of Mark . New York: Century Co.

Articles in Publications

  • Weigle, L. A. (1966). Our educational heritage through the congregational tradition. The Church School Worker , XVII (1), 12-14.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1966). Jesus' prayers from the cross. The Methodist Christian Advocate , LXXXVI (8), 1-2, 14.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1963). The Bible in living language. International Journal of Religious Education , 39 (2), 36-37, 39.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1962). Why use the RSV? Bible Teacher for Adults , XVII (1), 2-5.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1957). And now, the Apocrypha. The New Christian Advocate , I (14), 28-30.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1957). The fresh appeal of the Bible. World Christian Education , XII (3), 65.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1957). The use of the revised standard version in liturgy and education. Religious Education , LII (1), 22-28.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1956). Christian education and international affairs. The Ecumenical Review , VIII (4), 461-463.
  • Weigle, L. A. The larger hope. Advance , CXLVII (8)
  • Weigle, L. A. (1954). Scholarship, education and the Bible. The Proceedings, Division of Christian Education, National Council of Churches , 4-16.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1953). The crisis of religion in education. Religious Education , XLIX (2), 73-77.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1953). The revised standard version. The Christian Scholar , XXXVI (4), 330-335.
  • Weigle, L. A. (March 15). Revised standard version of the Bible rich in new text. Chicago Tribune Magazine of Books , 2, 11.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1953). The revised standard version of the Bible. World Christian Education , VIII (1) 7-9, 17.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1963). In appreciation of fleming James. Anglican Theological Review , XXXIV, 200-202.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1952). The revised standard version of the Bible. Catholic Biblical Quarterly , XIV, 310-318
  • Weigle, L. A. (1952). The revised standard version of the Bible. Pulpit Digest , XXXII (172), 11-16.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1952). The relevance of the revised standard version of the Bible. The Eighteenth Biennial Meeting of the American Association of Theological Schools , Bulletin 20, 91-108.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1950). The challenges ahead for church-related colleges. College and Church , XV (1), 12-20.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1950). Freedom of religion and education. Christianity and Crisis , X, 98-103.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1948). The American tradition of religious freedom. The Lutheran Theological Seminary Bulletin , XXVIII (3), 10-13.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1947). The American tradition of religious freedom. Social Action , XIII (9), 5-14.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1947). Church and state in America. Religion in Life , XVI (4), 506-514.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1946). The second freedom. Christian Herald , 19, 85.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1946). The making of the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament. Religion in Life , XV (2), 163-173.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1946). The new New Testament. International Journal of Religious Education , XXII, (7), 8-9. 31.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1946). Frank Chamberlin Porter. Yale Divinity News , XLII, (3) 1-2.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1943). Religious freedom and public duty. Yale Divinity News , XLI (1), 1-3.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1943). The rights of religious freedom. Christian Education , XXVI (3), 145-147.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1942). A glimpse of the Divinity School. Yale Divinity News , XL (1), 1-4.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1942). The war-time service of the Yale University Divinity School. Yale Divinity News , XXXIX (1), 1-3.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1942). Selective service and the ministry. Yale Divinity News , XXXVIII (3), 1-2.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1941). The religious foundations of American democracy. Yale Divinity News , XXXVIII (1), 3-4.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1941). Charles Allen Dinsmore. Yale Divinity News , XXXVIII (1), 1.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1941). Democracy, education and faith in God. The Princeton Seminary Bulletin , XXXV (1) 7-14.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1940). Democracy, education, and faith. Yale Divinity News , XXXVII (1). 1-3.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1940). Public education and religion, Religious Education , XXXV (2), 67-75.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1940). New books in American church history. Yale Divinity News , XXXVI (3), 3-5.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1940). A review of the complete Bible: An American translation. Christendom .
  • Weigle, L. A. (1939). The duty of the churches in the present crisis. Yale Divinity News , XXXVI (1), 1, 3.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1939). Robert Seneca Smith. Yale Divinity News , XXXV (2) 1.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1938). Contemporary Agnosticism. Yale Divinity News , XXXIV (1), 1-3.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1936). The International Sunday School Lesson system. Union Seminary Review , 180-189.
  • Weigle, L.A. (1936, July). Training leaders in China. World Call , 22-23.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1935). Connecticut, Yale, and the Christian ministry. Yale Divinity News , XXXII (1).
  • Weigle, L. A. (1933). The Laymen's Inquiry and religious education. International Journal of Religious Education , IX, 15, 24.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1933, June 8). The coming idealist. Christian Evangelist , LXX, 723-724, 738.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1933). Resources of men and training. Religion in the Preparatory Schools , (1), 58-60.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1932, December 15). Diplomacy of retaliation endangers civilization. Christian Evangelist , LXIX, 1603.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1932). Address at the dedication of the Sterling Divinity Quadrangle. Yale Divinity News , XXIX, 3-4.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1932, July). Who and what determine the educational policies of the theological schools. Educational Record , XIII, 201-211.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1932, January). Report of the commission on the message of the conference. The Christian Union Quarterly , XXI, 235-237.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1931). Can Protestantism endure? Federal Council Bulletin , XIV (9), 7-9.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1931). The child in the midst. The Lutheran , XIV (9), 3.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1931, April). The educational standards of theological seminaries. Bulletin of the Conference of Theological Seminaries and Colleges in the U. S. and Canada , VII, 54-67.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1931, March 14). Jesus as a teacher. Epworth Herald , LII, 235, 252.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1930, May 15). The Jonah motive in modern life. Congregationalist , 645-646.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1930, March). The Pope's Encyclical on education: A Protestant comment. Current History , XXXI, 1089-1090.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1929). Some characteristics of Jesus as a teacher. Record of Christian Work , VIII (Dec.) 736-740.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1929). Where is authority? Yale Divinity News , XXVI (1), 1-2.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1929). The need for trained leaders. Westminster Leader for the Church School , II (7), 10-11.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1929). Beginning at Jerusalem. Workers' Council , VI (4), 2-3.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1929, March 28). Heritage and responsibility. Congregationalist , CXV, 405, 420-421.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1928). What is it to be a Christian? Yale Divinity News , XXV (1), 1-2.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1928). The relation of church and state in elementary education. International Journal of Religious Education , V (2), 12-14.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1928, October 28). Prayer as fellowship. Congregationalist , CXIII, 490-492.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1928). Religious education at the Jerusalem conference. International Journal of Religious Education , IV (9), 16-17, 46.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1927). Educating children in the use of money. International Journal of Religious Education , IV (1), 10-11.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1927, June 2). The public schools and religion: Facing the menacing results of ignoring religion in American education. Christian Advocate , CII, 680-682.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1927). What the church is doing for character education, and what it is not doing. Religious Education , XXII (6), 574-579.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1927, June). Religion and the public school. Federal Council Bulletin , X, 17-18.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1927). The task ahead, as I see it. Religious Education , XXII (5), 456-457.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1927). Why the principle of public responsibility for education has prevailed in the U.S. Religious Education , XXII (4), 319-332.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1926). The place of religion in the education of children. International Journal of Religious Education , II (2), 14.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1926, October).Greetings from Yale University. The Lutheran Quarterly , LVI, 513-525.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1926, September).A survey of contemporary theological education. Bulletin, Conference of theological Seminaries and Colleges in the U.S. and Canada , V, 11-18.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1926). What is religious education. International Journal of Religious Education , I (10), 24-25.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1926). The secularization of public education. Religious Education , XXI (2), 90-95.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1926, January). Religion and the public school. Federal Council Bulletin , IX, 19-20, 30.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1925). Jesus Christ, Educator. International Journal of Religious Education , I (1), 9-10.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1925). The present status of the work of the International Lesson Committee. Religious Education , XX (6) 225-255.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1925, April). The Christian education of American children. Union Seminary Review , XXXVI, 215-241.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1924, September 6). The elimination of religion from public education. Christian Work . CXVII, 254-255,258.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1924)..The Christian ideal of family life as expounded in Horace Bushnell's Christian Nurture. Religious Education , XIX (2), 47-57.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1923). What makes education religious? Religious Education , XVIII (4), 90-92.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1922, November). The biblical argument for graded lessons. Church School IV, 52-54.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1922, July). Progress in lesson making. Church School , III, 44-48.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1921). What constitutes research in religious education? Religious Education , XVI (12), 347-349.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1921). Repentance. Lutheran Quarterly , LI (July), 247-283.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). The child and the church. Church School , II (2) 24-26, 46-47.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). Training the devotional life. Church School , II (1), 20-22,46-47.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). Doing for others. Church School , I (12), 17-20.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). The child and his friends. Church School , I (11), 22-26.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). Developing a taste for good reading. Church School , I (10), 22-25, 45.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). The child at study, Church School , I (9), 15-18, 47.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). The child at work. Church School , I (8), 14-18, 48.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). The child at play. Church School , I (7), 23-25, 48.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). Forming right habits. Church School , I (6), 24-26, 45.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). Building strong bodies. Church School , I (5), 36-38, 45.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1920). The home atmosphere. Church School , I (4), 24-26, 45.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1919). The modern home and its perplexities. Church School , I (3), 16-17, 47-48.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1919). The Christian family. Church School , I (2), 21-23.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1919, April 24). The home education of children in prayer. Lutheran Church Work and Observer , 305-307.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1918, June). Our religious education in war-time. Pilgrim Elementary Teacher , II.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1917, May and June). Bad results of inattention: How to develop the habit of attention. Christian Educator , I, 151, 171-172.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1916, March and April). Worship in the Sunday school. Augsburg Sunday School Teacher , XLII, 147-148, 208-209.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1916, February). The church committee on religious education. Augsburg Sunday School Teacher , XLII, 81-82.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1914). The psychological basis of worship. Religious Education , IX (10), 419-424.
  • Weigle, L. A. (1914, April). Special and conditioned students in colleges in the North Central territory. Proceedings, North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools , 79-87.

Review of Books by Weigle

  • Enslin, M. (1949). [Review of the book The English New Testament from Tyndale to the Revised Standard Version ]. Journal of Biblical Literature , LXVIII, 273-275.
  • Carrier, B. (1939). [Review of the book Jesus and the educational method ]. Religious Education , XXXIV (3), 122-123.
  • Smith, H. S. (1929). [Review of the book American Idealism ]. International Journal of Religious Education , 5 (4), 41.
  • Coe, G. A. (1920). [Review of the book Talks to Sunday school teachers ]. Religious Education , XV (3), 190-191.
  • Seashore, C. E. (1911). [Review of the book The pupil and the teacher ]. Journal of Educational Psychology , II (10), 584-585.

Excerpts from Publications

Weigle, L. (1949). The English New Testament from Tyndale to the Revised Standard Version . New York: Greenwood Press.

The message of the Bible is the central thing; its style is but an instrument for conveying the message. The bible is not a mere historical document to be cherished and admired. The Bible contains the Word of God to man and men need the Word of God in our time and hereafter as never before. That Word must not be disguised in phrases that are no longer clear, or hidden under words that have changes or lost their meaning. It must stand forth in language that is direct and plain and meaningful to people today.

Weigle, L. (1939). Jesus and the educational method . New York: The Abingdon Press.

A new life is astir in the Christian churches. The churches are affirming their faith in the Christian gospel with a fresh realization of its meaning and its truth. They are asserting their freedom, under God, to proclaim the gospel in the face not only of the claims of the totalitarian State to omnicompetence, but of the pretensions of scientific method to a monopoly of knowledge. They are acknowledging their obligation, by God's grace, to give themselves with intelligence and devotion to the redemption of this present world from the unchristian practices, from social and economic injustice, and the downright evil which so largely possess it.

Weigle, L. (1928). American idealism (Vol. X). Pageant of America. New Haven: Yale University Press.

No aspects of American life lie closer to the hearts of every-day folk, or are more intimately related to the diverse needs of local communities, than religion and education. It is obviously impossible for lack of space, to record in this volume the history of each of the religious denominations, or to describe the development of schools and colleges in each of the forty-eight states. The author has undertaken, therefore, to present a panorama of the onward movement of American idealism, as expressed in churches and schools.

Weigle, L. (1922). The training of the child in the Christian family . Boston: The Pilgrim Press.

The social function of the family is to serve as the elemental unit of the organization of society, as an instrument of social control and social progress, and as a training school for life in the larger social and political relations. The religious function of the family is to serve as a center of Christian living and of Christian worship, as a basis for the child's understanding of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, and as an elemental unit in the realization upon earth of the kingdom of God.

Weigle, L. (1911). The pupil and the teacher . Philadelphia: The United Lutheran Publication House.

The teaching of the Sunday school should have a spiritual motive. This does not mean the same truths are to be taught in every grade, or that every lesson should end with a spiritual application. It does mean that the teaching should be the expression of the teacher's own life with God, and his steadfast purpose to guide his pupils to such a life; and that it should be grounded in his sympathetic discernment of the truth as revealed in God's Word and his endeavor to give that truth to his pupils.

Weigle, L. (1947). Introduction. In H. Bushnell, Christian Nurture . New Haven: Yale University Press.

With the possible exception of some of Jonathan Edwards' writings, no American book can with better right be deemed a religious and educational classic. Christian Nurture sharply challenged the extreme individualism, the reliance upon emotional revivals, and the arbitrary supernaturalism which had characterized the thought and practice of most of the American churches from the middle of the eighteenth century. But its message is positive and constructive rather than merely critical, and much of that message is timelessly true.

Weigle, L. (1946). Preface. In The New Testament: Revised Standard Version . New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons.

Let it be said here simply that all of the reasons which led to the demand for revision of the King James Version one hundred years ago are still valid, and are even more cogent now than then. And we cannot be content with the Versions of 1881 and 1901 for two main reasons. One is that these are mechanically exact, literal, word-for-word translations, which follow the order of the Greek words, so far as this is possible, rather than the order which is natural in English; they are more accurate than the King James Version, but have lost some of the beauty and power as English literature. The second is the discovery of a few more ancient manuscripts of the New Testament and of a great body of Greek papyri dealing with the everyday affairs of life in the early centuries of the Christian era has furnished scholars with new resources, both for seeking to recover the original text of the Greek New Testament and for understanding its language.

Weigle, L. (1930). What makes religious education Christian? In Go … Teach . Report presented to the Second International Convention. Chicago: International Council of Religious Education.

Education is concerned with religion whenever it faces questions of worth or value, whenever it passes beyond the mere imparting of knowledge or skill to a consideration of the ends or purposes, the worth and values of life. It becomes religious when it is conscious of the presence and power and love of God, in whom all values find their ultimate sanction and meaning. It becomes Christian when it espouses the worth and values for which Jesus Christ lived and died, and when it believes that the character and disposition of God are shown to men in and by Him.


Recommended Readings

Books

Weigle, L. (1949). The English New Testament from Tyndale to the Revised Standard Version . New York: Greenwood Press.

This book was based on the Cole Lectures which Weigle gave at Vanderbilt University in 1948. The author reviewed the history of the translation of the Bible into English prior to 1611 and then discussed the development of the King James Version and its use over the centuries. The final chapters are on the Revised Standard Version and the process leading up to it, and finally its use in worship. Weigle referred to the RSV as being in the great tradition of Tyndale and the KJV.

Weigle, L. (1939). Jesus and the educational method . New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: The Abingdon Press.

In this volume are the James Sprunt Lectures delivered in 1938 at the Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. It contains a searching criticism of the apocalyptic reading of the life of Jesus, which was being invoked in justification for the opposite extremes of quietistic other-worldliness and revolutionary violence. For Weigle, Jesus was the supreme teacher and the so-called "Sermon on the Mount" was not a sermon but a collection of teachings.

Articles

Weigle, L. (1957). The use of the Revised Standard Version in liturgy and education. Religious Education , LII (1), 22-28.

In a symposium on the use of the Bible in religious education, Weigle began with a verse from the Letter to the Hebrews, "The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword," and then responded that sometimes people prefer that it be muffled in a dead language. The author reviewed the history and relevance of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible and pointed to its wide acceptance and use. He summarized its value in education, because it was "understandable," "relevant," "readable," "readily memorized," and "helpful in family worship." Finally, he pointed to the new aids and resources being made available, including his own booklets on Bible words that have changed in meaning. This was one of many addresses and articles on the RSV that Weigle prepared during this time.

Weigle, L. (1956). Christian education and international affairs. The Ecumenical Review , VIII (4), 461-463.

Weigle submitted this article as a part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Commission of the Church and International Affairs, which had been founded by John Foster Dulles and others to educate Christians as to their responsibilities in the post-World War II era. According to the author, the churches can contribute to an international ethic and just world order by vigorous programs of education and evangelism and by the "upbuilding of intelligent faith, aware of the full content of Christian revelation and its meaning for human life and duty."

Weigle, L. (1954). The crisis of religion in education. Religious Education , XLIX (2), 73-77.

Weigle gave one of the major addresses at the opening assembly of the golden anniversary convention of the Religious Education Association in 1953. He referred to the long established practice to ensure freedom of religion as the "separation of Church and State" and the freedom of schools from federal control. In that context he protested the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the Everson and McCollum cases and the emerging concept in the high court for schools to maintain a "strict and lofty neutrality in religion." For Weigle this meant irreligion or godlessness. Reference was made to the Hebrew-Christian tradition underlying the foundations of American democracy and a faith in God which had permeated the founding documents. He also criticized the report of the 1947 commission on higher education, since it seemed to threaten the existence of small, private, church-related colleges. This address was also published in Vital Speeches of the Day, on Dec. 16, 1953.

Weigle, L. (1940). Public education and religion. Christian education today . Chicago: International Council of Religious Education.

This was a major address delivered by Weigle at the 1940 annual meeting of the ICRE in Chicago. It appeared in the full report of the committee on basic philosophy and policies and was published as a separate brochure. Weigle sounded a note that was repeated throughout his career, that the public schools had become "secularized" by the beginning of the 20th century, that it was incidental rather than purposeful, and that the churches bore some responsibility because of their "sectarianism." Also, he felt that too much confidence had been placed in the Sunday schools, which were poorly equipped to handle the task of teaching religion. According to him, omitting religion from the public schools has conveyed the impression to students that it was negligible, unimportant and irrelevant. Public schools should avoid sectarianism, but provide for the recognition of the existence of religious faith.

Biographical

Reed, J. E., & Prevost, R. (1993). A History of Christian Education . Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 335-337.

This volume summarized Weigle's career, especially in the founding of the American Association of Theological Schools and the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Special attention was paid to the 1911 book, The Pupil and the Teacher, and the Sprunt lectures, Jesus and the Educational Method, along with his work on the changing meaning of words in the Bible.

Kathan, B. W. (Ed.). (1978). Pioneers of religious education in the 20th century. Religious Education , LXXIII (5-S), 141-143.

Weigle was included in a special issue of the journal of the Religious EducationAssociation as one of the outstanding Protestant educators of the last century, with a brief summary of his influence and contributions to the field.

Knoff, G. E. (1977). Luther Allan Weigle, 1880-1976. Religious Education , LXII (1), 85-90.

This is the text of the message delivered at the memorial service for Weigle the previous November by a former doctoral student and long-time colleague in the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches.

Schmidt, S. A. (1983). A History of the Religious Education Association . Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press, 82-83.

Weigle's pioneering leadership of the religious education program at Yale Divinity School was highlighted with special emphasis on his early writings and autobiographical essay. For Schmidt, Weigle was essentially a theologian and philosopher, maintaining a deep loyalty to the Christian Gospel.

Weigle, R. D. (Ed.). (1976). The glory days: From the life of Luther Allan Weigle . New York: Friendship Press.

This collection of articles, sermons and tributes was published shortly after Weigle's death in 1976. It includes his autobiographical essay, "The religious education of a Protestant," along with chapters on his ecumenical work, his career at Yale Divinity School, his leadership in theological education and the standard Bible committee. Weigle's introduction to Horace Bushnell's Christian Nurture is reprinted. The volume also included a complete bibliography, a series of photographs from his long life and career, and a concluding tribute from his daughter, Ruth.

Knoble, J. (1976). A lifetime of making God the ultimate concern. REACH , 6 (1), 3-4.

This is a reprinting in the newsletter of the Religious Education Association of an article that originally appeared in the New Haven Register on Feb. 14, 1971.


Author Information

Boardman W. Kathan

Boardman W. Kathan is a native of New Haven, Connecticut, and was ordained in 1956 by the Chicago Association of the Congregational Christian Churches (now a part of the United Church of Christ). He is the General Secretary Emeritus for the Religious Education Association and serves as the archivist for the R.E.A. and the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education, which has merged with it. A graduate of Wesleyan University and Yale University Divinity School, he has pursued graduate studies at New York University, the University of Connecticut and Hartford Seminary. He also received a Fulbright Scholarship for studies at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
1-562-903-6000