Monday 22 May 2006

For the love of God: 20 theologians and why we love them

Thanks for all the great suggested titles for this new series. In the end, I decided on Dan’s suggestion, “For the Love of God.” Kim Fabricius emailed me a good suggestion, too: “Godfathers.” As a great admirer of the Godfather films, I was tempted to go with this one—except that a number of the theologians in the series are women (and “Godmothers” doesn’t have quite the same ring!).

So the full title of the series is “For the Love of God: 20 Theologians and Why We Love Them.” And now that it has a name, we can finally get started—so the first post in the series should be appearing within the next day. All in all, there will be 20 posts on a range of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox theologians. Although the series will focus mainly on contemporary theology, there will also be posts on some significant and interesting historical figures.

The purpose of the series is not to survey a bunch of “great theologians,” or to come up with a list of the most important theological thinkers. Instead, I have simply asked each contributor to explain why he or she loves a particular theologian. So the series is meant to be subjective and personal; it’s meant to offer a glimpse of why particular theological thinkers have become important to different people.

In other words, the series is as much about “love” as it is about “theologians.” Why is it that the experience of love is so closely tied to theological study? Why is it that we are really deeply influenced only by those thinkers to whom we open ourselves in love? Why is it that the absence of love so often constitutes an obstacle to genuine understanding—so that the thinker whom we have not yet learned to love seems remote and unintelligible?

This series won’t try to answer these questions directly. But it might give us an indirect glimpse of the answers, as we listen to others telling us about the theologians they love.


Anonymous said...

An interesting essay dealing with, among other things, why the experience of love (and friendship) is closely tied to theological study: Moss, David, “FRIENDSHIP St Anselm, Theoria and the Convolution of Sense”, Radical Orthodoxy: a new theology, ed.: Milbank, John, Pickstock, Catherine, Ward, Graham.

Rory Shiner said...

Sounds like a great series. I will look forward to it.

byron smith said...

Great picture, Ben. Which travel site did you rip that off from?
I'm looking forward to the series too, of course. Will you give us any hints about which theologians will be revealed?

byron smith said...

I'm just sore you didn't use "Theological Idol".

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