Invitation to Guest Series: Recovering Neglected Theologians
Okay, theology bloggers. I hereby invite entries for a series of guest posts on Recovering Neglected Theologians. What theologian (perhaps especially from your own denomination or theological tradition) has lapsed into obscurity–or is in danger of such–and deserves to be more widely read and appreciated–and why? Each entry should be submitted to my email. I will go to several theo-blogs and biblio-blogs and invite people to participate, but don’t wait for an invitation if you are interested.
For the purposes of this series, we can define “theologian” rather broadly: Not just academics who teach/have taught systematic theology (dogmatics, constructive theology), but also pastor theologians if they have a body of publications and have been influential beyond their local congregation. Biblical scholars count if they attempt biblical theology instead of only writing as historians or philologists or archeologists or literary critics. Likewise, with church historians who write as historical theologians (e.g. Jaraslov Pelikan, Geoffrey Bromiley, Justo Gonzalez, Timothy George, etc.) instead of simply as antiquarians or social historians.
I strongly believe in interfaith dialogue, but for this series, I am not interested in submissions about non-Christian theologians. This is to be an in-house discussion among Christians, although interested outside observers are always welcome.
Each entry should name the neglected theologian, describe their work and context in 2-4 brief paragraphs, and say why you think said person should be rediscovered by the Church universal or even by those in her or his own tradition who are now neglicting her or him. I have in mind primarily figures from 19th C. onward (the modern and “postmodern” eras), but will take entries from the 2nd C. onward throughout the history of the Church and in any cultural or denominational context.
This was inspired by Ben Myers’ series a few years ago, “For the Love of God,” and by some recent reading I’ve been doing. I hope entries will be lively, humorous, and upbeat–the intention is not to put down others as we build up our neglected favorites. Even the most influential theologians (e.g., the Cappadocians or John of Damascus in the Eastern Churches, Augustine, Thomas, Calvin, Wesley, Barth, etc. in the West) go through periods of neglect–and sometimes periods of revival. The “revivals” can take a “fundamentalist” form (for lack of a better term) in which one tries to simply demand that the church today believe every word of said bygone saint or creative retrievals in which certain features of said theologian’s work are highlighted and reexamined in light of new challenges in new contexts. It will come as no surprise that I think the latter is more fruitful.
I hope this will be fun and profitable. If I participate myself, it will be after others have taken the lead–giving readers a break from my voice all the time on this blog.
UPDATE: Please, do NOT use the comments section to ask me about certain theologians. Just submit an entry to my email. Try for 1,500 to 2000 words as a rough length. It’s not up to ME to judge if so-and-so neglected theologian is worthy of recovery. YOU who submit entries will make that judgment–and give an argument for why they need to be recovered to readers of Levellers–and your own blogs if you reprint them. Clear?
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