Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1914-1975) With his undergraduate work done at Maryville College (Tennessee), seminary degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Hartford Seminary and his Ph.D. in rural sociology from Cornell (1946), Blizzard served as a pastor (1939-1943), taught at Wooster and Penn State, and was on seminary faculties, first at Union (New York) and then Princeton.

Blizzard conducted a significant research project on the ministry, funded by the Russell Sage Foundation. He was as intent to inform seminary faculty and clergy about societal contexts affecting the ministry as he was to add this occupational knowledge to sociology. His most important articles were in professional or theological rather than sociological journals. His book The Protestant Parish Minister: A Behavioral Science Interpretation (Society for the Scientific Study of Religion 1985) was published after his death and includes an introduction detailing how researchers built on his framework.

Blizzard saw the ministry as a status, or set of statuses, with appropriate (normative) behaviors. He developed three concepts, from more general, or abstract, to most specific. The "master role" was how clergy perceived their ministry as alike or different from other occupations; for example, the clergy person might see her- or himself as a servant of God (a theological view). The "integrative roles" had to do with how clergy specifically saw themselves—for example, as a believer-saint, scholar, or evangelist. "Practitioner roles" dealt with specific tasks, from teacher and priest to administrator and organizer.

He reported on "the minister's dilemma," or how the minister wanted to do one thing (perhaps be a scholar) but was functionally doing another (spending considerable time on church administration, for example). Changes in society had brought considerable stress to the clergy.

Hart M. Nelsen


S. W. Blizzard, "The Minister's Dilemma," Christian Century 73(1956a):508-509

S. W. Blizzard, "Role Conflicts of the Urban Protestant Parish Ministry," The City 7(1956b):13-15

S. W. Blizzard, "The Protestant Parish Minister's Integrating Roles," Religious Education 53(1958):374-380

S. W. Blizzard, "The Parish Minister's Self-Image of His Master Roles," Pastoral Psychology 10(1959):27-36

J. W. Carroll and J. E. Wallace (eds.), "Special Issue in Memory of Samuel W. Blizzard," Review of Religious Research 23(1981):97-218 (includes complete Blizzard bibliography)

H. M. Nelsen, "Why Do Pastors Preach on Social Issues?" Theology Today 32(1975):56-73.

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