Don Browning Has Died

Don Browning Has Died June 28, 2010
Don Browning, 1934-2010

Thanks to Andy Rowell for pointing out to me the news that Don Browning, a giant in my academic field of practical theology, has died.  Browning was the author of the ur-text of PT — A Fundamental Practical Theology — and he taught at the University of Chicago Divinity School.  Here is how he was remembered by collegues at that school,

“He had an amazingly capacious mind that could see how religious and moral questions need to be explored from a variety of vantage points,” said William Schweiker, the Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor in the Divinity School and the College. “He could pinpoint the strength and weakness of an argument and indicate this in a forceful, but gentle way.”“It’s going to be impossible to find someone else to do what he did,” said Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics in the Divinity School. “He represented something unique. He had an unusual combination of expertise. As a scholar of the family, he believed you had to look at history, you had to look at sociological context, you had to look at law.”

As a colleague, “he was absolutely wonderful. He was thoughtful, engaged and attentive,” Elshtain said. “If you wanted to construct an ideal colleague, he would be my image.”

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  • Tony. Thanks for posting this. Browning’s books Religious Thought and the Modern Psychologies and Pluralism and Personality (about William James) were two books that influenced me to go get my doctorate. His colleague at Chicago, Peter Homans (and his The Ability to Mourn), was the other big reason. Sorry that they are both gone now. They were heavy duty thinkers.