Monday, 8 August 2005

Theological autobiography

Last week Scot McKnight posted some autobiographical reflections about his own journey beyond “Calvinism.” I think there should be more theological autobiography—after all, theology is concerned not just with concepts and ideas, but with life.

Unfortunately the genre of theological autobiography has never really had its heyday. Still, some of the very best theology has been written as autobiography. I’m thinking especially of Augustine’s Confessions—a book which both invented the genre of autobiography, and still remains one of the greatest theological works of all time. Another eminent example is John Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners.

Although there hasn’t been much theological autobiography in the past century, G. C. Berkouwer’s A Half Century of Theology(1977) deserves mention. It’s a stimulating discussion of major developments in twentieth-century theology from the perspective of Berkouwer’s own experience and development.

And more recently, Jürgen Moltmann has given us his Experiences in Theology (2000)—this is both an important work on theological method and an autobiographical account of Moltmann’s own theological development.

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