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Willard L. Sperry

The Quandaries of a Liberal Protestant Mind, 1914-1939

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William L. Fox

Willard L. Sperry (1882-1954) was dean of the Harvard Divinity School for thirty years during a period of major adjustment in liberal Protestant theology. With a New England Congregational background Sperry prepared his career in theology at Queens College, Oxford, among the first group of Rhodes Scholars. Unlike many others after the Great War who became disillusioned with liberal positions, Sperry discovered a neglected middle ground, where he could reconcile the romanticism of Wordsworth with the austerity of Calvin. His sense of irony and paradox anticipated Reinhold Niebuhr by ten years.