Amos Wilder

See also Amos Parker Wilder for Amos Niven Wilder's father

Amos Niven Wilder (September 18, 1895 May 4, 1993) was an American poet, minister, and theology professor.


Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin. He studied for two years at Oberlin College (1913–1915), but volunteered in the Ambulance Field Service; he was awarded the Croix de Guerre.[1] In November 1917, he enlisted in the U.S. Field Artillery as a corporal.

In 1920, Wilder graduated from Yale University. In college he was an inter-collegiate doubles champion tennis player, and he played at Wimbledon in 1922, with his partner Lee Wiley.[2] He served as secretary to Albert Schweitzer lecturing at Oxford University,[3][4] where he was studying at Mansfield College (1921–1923). He completed his studies for ordained ministry at Yale in 1924.


Wilder was ordained in 1926 and served in a Congregationalist church in North Conway, New Hampshire. He received his doctorate from Yale in 1933.[5] He taught for 11 years at the Chicago Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago, and served as president of the Chicago Society of Biblical Research in 1949-1950. Wilder joined Harvard University in 1954 as Hollis Professor of Divinity. In 1962 he was part of the first board of directors for the Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture. In 1963, he was named emeritus faculty. His papers are held at the Andover-Harvard Theological Library of Harvard Divinity School.[6]


Battle Retrospect, was a volume of verse Wilder wrote about his experiences in World War I; it was reprinted in 1971 by AMS Press.


Wilder's father, Amos Parker Wilder, was a journalist with a doctorate from Yale, who served as United States Consul General in Hong Kong and Shanghai between 1906 and 1914. His mother was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. His brother was Thornton Wilder, and sisters were Charlotte Wilder, Isabel Wilder and Janet Wilder Dakin.

Wilder married Catharine Kerlin in 1935. They had a daughter, Catharine Wilder Guiles, and a son, Amos Tappan Wilder.[4]




  • Arachne: poems. Yale University Press. 1928.
  • Battle-Retrospect and Other Poems. Yale University Press. 1923. reprint 1971 by AMS Press.



  • The spiritual aspects of the new poetry. Harper & Brothers. 1940.
  • Eschatology and ethics in the teaching of Jesus. Harper. 1950.
  • Liberal learning and religion. National Council on Religion in Higher Education. Harper. 1951.CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Otherworldliness and the New Testament. Harper. 1954.
  • New Testament faith for today. Harper. 1955.
  • Early Christian Rhetoric: The Language of the Gospel. Harper. 1964.
  • Theology and Modern Literature. Harvard University Press. 1967.
  • The new voice: religion, literature, hermeneutics. Herder and Herder. 1969.
  • Theopoetic: Theology and the Religious Imagination. Fortress Press. 1976.



  • John Dominic Crossan (1981). A fragile craft: the work of Amos Niven Wilder. Scholars Press.
  • William A. Beardslee (1978). The Poetics of Faith: Essays Offered to Amos Niven Wilder. Society of Biblical Literature.

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 16, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. Armageddon Revisited: A World War I Journal. ISBN 0300174322.
  3. The letters of Gertrude Stein and Thornton Wilder. Yale University Press. 1996. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-300-06774-3.
  4. Wolgan Saxon (May 4, 1993). "Amos N. Wilder, a Bible Scholar, Literary Critic and Educator, 97". The New York Times.
  5. McKnight, Edgar V. (2007). "Wilder, Amos Nevin". In Donald K. McKim (ed.). Dictionary of major biblical interpreters (2nd ed.). Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic. pp. 1052–1056. ISBN 9780830829279.
  6. "Wilder, Amos N. (Amos Niven), 1895-1993. Papers, 1923-1982: A Finding Aid". Harvard Library Online Archival Search System. Andover-Harvard Theological Library. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
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