Favorite Theologians

Here are the theological titles that have influenced my theological reflection over the past forty years.  I would be happy to read each again.  With one exception, I have not mentioned any books written before the year 1500.  That’s for another page.

My favorite Eastern Christian titles:

Hilarion Alfeyev, Christ the Conqueror of Hell

_____, The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian

Khaled Anatolios, Retrieving Nicaea

John Behr, The Nicene Faith (2 vols.)

John Breck, Scripture in Tradition

Sergius Bulgakov, The Bride of the Lamb

_____, The Burning Bush

_____, The Holy Grail and the Eucharist

Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ

Paul Evdokimov, Orthodoxy

_____, In the World, Of the Church

David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God

_____, The Doors of the Sea

Andrew Louth, Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology

John Anthony McGuckin, The Orthodox Church

John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology

Alexander Schmemann, The Eucharist

_____, For the Life of the World

_____, Of Water and the Spirit

Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way

John Zizioulas, Being as Communion

_____, Communion and Otherness

_____, The Eucharistic Communion and the World

 

My favorite Western Christian titles:

Hans Urs von Balthasar, Dare We Hope “That All Men Be Saved”?

_____, Love Alone is Credible

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics: The Doctrine of God (II/2)

David Burrell, Freedom and Creation in Three Traditions

Milton Crum, Manual on Preaching

Dom Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy

Stephen J. Duffy, The Dynamics of Grace

Gerhard Forde, Justification by Faith

_____, Theology is for Proclamation

Piet Fransen, The New Life of Grace

Robert W. Jenson, The Triune Identity

_____, Systematic Theology: The Triune God

_____, Systematic Theology: The Works of God

_____, Story and Promise

_____, Lutheranism

_____, Visible Words

Aidan Kavanagh, The Shape of Baptism

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

_____, The Great Divorce

_____, Chronicles of Narnia

_____, The Space Trilogy

George Lindbeck, The Nature of Doctrine

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works: Word and Sacrament III (vol. 37)

_____, The Freedom of a Christian

E. L. Mascall, Christ, the Christian and the Church

_____, He Who Is

_____, Analogy and Existence

Herbert McCabe, God Matters

_____, God Still Matters

_____, Faith Within Reason

John Henry Newman, Lectures on Justification

_____, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine

Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society

Michael Ramsey, The Gospel and the Catholic Church

Joseph Ratzinger, Eschatology

Robert Sokolowski, The God of Faith and Reason

Richard Swinburne, Revelation

Thomas Talbott, The Inescapable Love of God

Martin Thornton, Christian Proficiency

Thomas F. Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith

_____, Space, Time and Resurrection

_____, Theology in Reconciliation

Denys Turner, Thomas Aquinas: A Portrait

Robert Wilberforce, The Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist

Charles Williams, Descent into Hell

N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God

_____, Jesus and the Victory of God

_____, The Resurrection of the Son of God

 

31 Responses to Favorite Theologians

  1. Josef Pieper was regarded as a philosopher rather than a theologian, but his works exemplifies the best of the 20th century’s achievements in Christian philosophy. His treatises on faith, hope, and love are little masterpieces of the Thomistic tradition.

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  2. Father Gregory says:

    In no particular order all these have made a real and lasting impact on my life. Most of them (not all) I keep on coming back to:

    Origen: On First Principles
    Contra Celsum

    Sergius Bulgakov: The Bride of the Lamb
    The Burning Bush
    The Holy Grail and the Eucharist
    The Friend of the Bridegroom

    John Behr: The Nicene Faith (series)
    The Mystery of Christ

    St. Benedict: The Rule

    N T Wright: Surprised by Hope

    Hilarion Alfeyev: The Spiritual world of Saint Isaac the Syrian

    Laurence Paul Hemming: Worship as a revelation

    Henri de Lubac: Catholicism
    Medieval Exegesis

    John J O Keefe / R R Reno: Sanctified Vision

    Eric D. Perls: Theophany

    Earthen Vessels: Gabriel Bunge

    Mark Julian Edwards: Origen against Plato

    Josef Pieper: Guide to Thomas Aquinas

    C S Lewis: Till we have faces

    George Lindbeck: On the nature of doctrine

    Augustine Casiday: Evagrius Ponticus

    Khaled Anatolios: Athanasius the coherence of his thought

    Alexander Schmemann: For the life of the world

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  3. Ben says:

    No Florovsky?

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      I have read some of Florovsky’s essays and have benefitted from them, but I cannot say that he has influenced my faith in any significant way–at least not yet.

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  4. Dapper Dan says:

    I recently read The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware and really liked it. It was my first introduction to the Orthodox faith so it gave me a lot to think about.

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  5. Dale Coleman says:

    I would think such a list would include Michael Ramsey’s The Gospel and the Catholic Church, Wolfhart Pannenberg’s simply wondrous Systematic Theology, George Steiner’s Real Presences, Cavafy’s poetry, and Yeats! The Canadian film Small Town Murder Songs is one of the most luminous films I’ve ever seen about the work of the Holy Spirit.

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      You are absolutely right about adding, Archbishop Michael Ramsey (which I have just done). As far as the others … it sounds like you need to write your own list, Dale. 🙂

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  6. Cyranorox says:

    Though this is your past, still I’m surprised not to see Julian of Norwich and Traherne

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  7. We seem to go to Favorite Theologians but it occurs to me that perhaps of equal if not more value might be a list of Favorite Saints, Doctors of the Church, Martyrs, Blessed Elders, etc. In other words, I wonder whether there isn’t a story in our favorite Saints Lives… of equal or more interest.

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  8. Fr. John B. (Romania) says:

    I highly recommend Archim. Vasileios’ wonderful book – Hymn of Entry: Liturgy and Life in the Orthodox Church. I consider it a life-changing book, which made me to see all things in the light of the Divine Liturgy, the very wellspring of life and theology.

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  9. Rick Fries says:

    Fr. Aidan, I wonder if you have read any of the writings of Matthew the Poor. Coptic Orthodox. The Communion of Love is exceptional.
    Rick Fries, new follower.

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  10. dale Coleman says:

    The big books by N. T. Wright have got to stop scaring you Fr. Aidan! Boo!

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Well, I’ve read three of the big books, Fr Coleman, and I respect Wright a great deal and recommend him heartily; but he’s just not one of my favorite theologians. I doubt he’s losing any sleep about that, though.

      Oh, Wright is also a brilliant dinner companion. 🙂

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  11. dale Coleman says:

    Sorry Fr. Aidan: Where is Barth? and St. John Damascene? Geez. WTH.

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  12. Caj Ilotuuli says:

    Dumitru Staniloae : The experience of God . Orthodox dogmatic theology vol. 1-6

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  13. Charles Twombly says:

    Super list. Super comments! Must keep this. Bravo!

    Like

  14. Rebecca Carp says:

    No love for George MacDonald?

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Good question, Rebecca. There are specific unspoken sermons that I particularly like, and several of his fairy tales, but I just didn’t think about including him in this list. I guess I should give this some more thought. 🙂

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  15. Hi Fr. Aidan.
    What are the two best books you would recommend for me to read? This may be overlapping but who is your favorite theological writer?

    Thanks in advance – Chris C.

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Chris, that’s an impossible question for me to answer. What do you want to read about? What theological books have you read in the past?

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  16. Hi Fr. Aiden
    I mean the best Eastern Orthodox Scholar and book? Is Alfeyev or Bulgakov the best or somebody else? I am an Evangelical with strong Eastern Orthodox leanings and theology with a strong bent for the mystical.

    Thanks – Chris

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Chris, I recommend two books for you: Met Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way and Fr Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World.

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  17. Thanks Fr. Aiden,
    I have read both of these books (both are good). One book caught my attention was somebody mentioned HYMN OF LITURGY by Archimandrite Vasileios? I ordered HIS BROKEN BODY by Laurent Cleenewerce that deals with the RC and EO schism. Lastly, what do you think of Pierre Teilhard Chardin?

    Shalom!

    Like

  18. Simon says:

    NT Wright is wonderful. What, no Sproul, Piper and co (tongue firmly in cheek!)

    Like

  19. j1943 says:

    You probably already know about this one, but anyway. In the “Introduction” of this book: S.J. Wright,Dogmatic Aesthetics: A Theology of Beauty in Dialogue with Robert W. Jenson, there is a comparison between the concepts of beauty of DBH and Jenson. Parts of the book can be read online:
    http://www.augsburgfortress.org/media/downloads/9781451465594Toc.pdf
    http://www.augsburgfortress.org/media/downloads/9781451465594Introexcerpt.pdf
    http://www.augsburgfortress.org/media/downloads/9781451465594Chapter1excerpt.pdf

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  20. You have got to read Jürgen Moltmann sometime. He wrote:
    – The Crucified God
    – The Coming of God (which contains one of my favorite meditations on universalism)
    – Jesus Christ for Today’s World
    – The Ethics of Hope
    – The Trinity and the Kingdom
    – The Spirit of Life
    – etc.

    Like

    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      I have read The Crucified God twice. I often turned to it especially during Lent. I have also read The Trinity and the Kingdom. I do hope to read The Coming of God sometime during the next year.

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      • That’s awesome! 🙂 Yeah, The Coming of God is great! I’m not as well-read theologically as you are, but The Coming of God has the single best meditations on universalism, death, dying, and the dead that I have ever read. He includes some cosmic themes from Orthodoxy that are fascinating, too! His exploration of “divine eschatology” is also stunning.

        I need to read “The Trinity and the Kingdom!” I’ve heard he cites Joachim of Fiore favorably! I’m all for finding the good in those who are traditionally labeled as heretics (e.g. Origen).

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  21. Also, I just love your blog. Keep saying great things!

    Like

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