"As the eminent theologian Langdon Gilkey demonstrates in this book. Niebuhr was able to provide such a persuasive answer because his social understanding was a theological understanding, one accomplished by viewing human being in relation to God as well as in its political and economic relations. This "Biblical" understanding of human nature, while acknowledging the often deep ambiguity and hypocrisy of the real historical world, also revealed a divine hand guiding that history. To Niebuhr, it is God's participation in history that gives it meaning and a promise of fulfillment, and presents believers with the possibility of a social realism that maintains its moral nerve rather than succumbing to cynicism or despair.".
The twelve lessons forming this volume were originally issued in the shape of monthly lessons, known as 'The Advanced Course in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism,' during a period of twelve months beginning with October 1904, and ending September 1905. These lessons were intended as a continuation of, or sequel to 'The Fourteen Lessons in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism' issued during the previous year.