Braden, Charles Samuel, 1887-1970
- Existence: 1887 - 1970
Charles Samuel Braden was born in Chanute, Kansas on September 19, 1887, the son of George Washington and Flora Birt Braden. He earned his B.A. degree at Baker University in 1909, his B.D. at Union Theological Seminary in 1912, and his Ph.D. in practical theology at the University of Chicago in 1926. Baker University awarded Braden an honorary doctorate of divinity in 1943.
Braden was ordained to the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1914. From 1912 through 1915 he was a Methodist missionary to Bolivia. He served in the same capacity in Chile during the period 1916-1922. While in South America Braden held positions as editor of El Heraldo Cristiano, president and professor of Union Biblical Seminary at Santiago, and manager of the Union Book Store. He was an assistant secretary of the Methodist Board of Foreign Missions and secretary of the Methodist Life Service Commission from 1923 through 1925.
Braden joined the faculty of Northwestern University as an assistant professor of history and literature of religions in 1926. He became an associate professor in 1936 and attained the rank of professor in 1943. The University awarded him emeritus status in 1954. Braden delivered the John C. Shaffer Lectures at Northwestern in 1955 and spoke on the topic, “Jesus and the Other Founders of Religions.” He held visiting professorships at the Perkins School of Theology during the summers of 1954 and 1959 and at Scripps College from 1954 through 1956. Braden was also a faculty member of the Evangelica de Teologia of Buenos Aires in 1957 and the Fondren lecturer at Scarritt College for Christian Workers in 1954.
Braden was professionally active as a member of the American Theological Society (president, 1940-1941), the National Association of Biblical Instructors (president, midwest branch, 1938-1939; president, 1952), the American Oriental Society (president, midwest branch, 1933), and the Chicago Society of Biblical Research (president, 1936-1937). He was founder and editor (1937-1939) of World Christianity--A Digest, and a contributing editor of Protestant Digest (1939-1942). Noteworthy among his many publications are: Christian Science Today: Power, Policy, Practice (Southern Methodist University Press, 1958); “Church and State in Spain,” in Church History, September, 1934, 3:3; Jesus Compared (Prentice-Hall, 1957); The Literary Harvest of a Half-Century (Privately published, 1967); Man's Quest for Salvation, An Historical and Comparative Study of the Idea of Salvation in the World's Great Living Religions (Willett, Clark & Company, 1941); Modern Tendencies in World Religions (Allen & Unwin, 1933; Macmillan, 1933); Procession of the Gods (Harper, 1936, 1948); Religious Aspects of the Conquest of Mexico (Duke University Press, 1930; AMS Press, 1966); The Scriptures of Mankind, An Introduction (Macmillan, 1952); Spirits in Rebellion (Southern Methodist University Press, 1963); These Also Believe. A Study of Modern American Cults and Minority Religious Movements (Macmillan, 1949, 1950, 1951); Varieties of American Religion (Willett, Clark & Co., 1936); War, Communism, and World Religions (Harper, 1953); and The World's Religions, A Short History (Cokesbury, 1939; Abingdon, 1954).