John Henry Barrows

Rev. Dr. John Henry Barrows was an American clergyman of First Presbyterian Church and Chairman of the 1893 General Committee on the Congress of Religions. He was the one who claimed that Abraham Lincoln had become a Christian in 1863. Barrows is best known for organizing and leading World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago by bringing together renowned persons of different religious backgrounds from all over the world to increase interest in the studies of religions, clarify the misconceptions about varying religious traditions, and seemingly to show the supremacy of one religion over another. He is more credited for introducing a new concept of “tolerance” and “understanding” between all nations and religions through Parliament of Religions for Americans.

He authored several books and notably two volumes of The World’s Parliament of Religions: An Illustrated and Popular Story of the World’s First Parliament of Religions, Held in Chicago in Connection with the Columbian Exposition of 1893. An endowed chair at the University of Chicago Divinity School is named after him.


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