Amos Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin. The older brother of writer Thornton Wilder, Amos Wilder was an accomplished poet, champion tennis player, and most notably a New Testament scholar who was the Hollis Professor in Harvard’s Divinity School. Wilder began college at Oberlin but left to volunteer as an ambulance driver during World War I. He returned to complete his BA at Yale and was ordained as a Congregationalist minister in 1926. After ministering for several years he earned his doctorate from Yale and taught at the Chicago Theological Society. He joined Harvard’s faculty in 1954 and retired as emeritus professor in 1963.
Wilder’s first book of poems, Battle Retrospect (1923) won the Yale Younger Prize. It recounted Wilder’s experiences serving as an ambulance driver and corporal in World War I. Other works include the poetry collection Arachne: Poems (1928) and many volumes of theology and criticism including The Spiritual Aspects of the New Poetry (1940), Otherworldliness and the New Testament (1954) and Theopoetic: Theology and the Religious Imagination (1976). A memoir of his war experiences, Armageddon Revisited (1994), was published after his death.
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