Saturday 10 June 2006

Your favourite Anglican theologian

After 137 votes, it seems that the favourite contemporary Anglican theologian is N. T. Wright (53%), followed by Rowan Williams (25%), and then Oliver O’Donovan (9%), John Milbank (7%) and Kathryn Tanner (6%).

Rowan Williams was very popular among voters from the United Kingdom, while Oliver O’Donovan was especially popular in Australia and New Zealand. In contrast, North American voters overwhelmingly preferred N. T. Wright (although, interestingly, people from the east coast of the US were more inclined to vote for Williams or O’Donovan). But on the whole it was a landslide victory for the Bishop of Durham.

Now that we’ve decided on the most popular Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed and Anglican theologians, we might as well hold a poll in which you can vote for the finalists. But we need one more poll first to give us our five finalists. So what should the next poll be? Greek orthodox theologians? Heretics? Baptists? Methodists? Liberation theologians? Women theologians? Let us know if you’ve got any ideas for the next poll....


Anonymous said...

I am intrigued by the idea of a poll searching for favourite heretics. Part of what I would find intriguing is how you would go about defining a "heretic". Certain heretics were only made/declared to be heretics after their deaths, and other heretics are only considered heretics by particular segments of the Church. I am curious about what people would be on a list that defined heretics as those who were both considered to be heretics during their respective lives, and those who are affirmed as, and have always been affirmed as, heretics by the catholic Church.

Or you could just go with liberation theologians.

Anonymous said...

Let's go with Women theologians. There's probably a lot to learn from them.

guanilo said...

We absolutely need a poll for Orthodox theologians. But probably women theologians too. And, there's the nondescript theologians a couple of us talked about as well.

This could go on for quite a while, my friend.

Fred said...

I wouldn't mind seeing an Eastern Patristics poll.

While we're making suggestions, I would really like to see a post titled "Why I love Origen." Balthasar has noted the pervasive influence of Origen and even that "many of the breviary readings of Ambrose (as well as of Jerome and Bede) are practically word-for-word from Origen" (Origen: Spirit and Fire, trans 1984, CUA press).


Jason said...

Although I agree that we have much to learn from feminist (and other women) theologians, the other categories are couched in terms of contemporary ecclesial identity, not personal or scholarly identity (no 'neo-orthodox' theologians, for example). So, for what it's worth, I would say we ought to go with 20th century Orthodox (wider than just Greek, though!) theologians: Zizioulas, Lossky, Florovsky, Bulgakov, Schmemann, etc.

David W. Congdon said...

Favorite patristic theologians. We need to improve our historical perspective. Where would we be without Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Gregory (of Nyssa and Nazianzus), etc.? Our "chronological snobbery" makes us prone to value what is most recent over anything in the past.

byron smith said...


guanilo said...

Fred: I heart Origen because who else would talk "whole nations of souls stored away somewhere in a realm of their own...carried around with the whirl of the universe"? Now that's theology!

Btw, I would love to have a patristics poll too.

guanilo said...

Talk about, that is.

J. Reimer said...

How about Anabaptist theologians?

::aaron g:: said...

What about Practical Theologians? Some names that come to mind are:

- Don S. Browning
- James Fowler
- Elaine Graham
- Thomas Groome
- Duncan Forester
- Gerben Heitink

I'd also go for a Methodist poll? (Is John Cobb Methodist? I know that he taught at Claremont?)

One of Freedom said...

I had the privilege of hearing John Cobb lecture at St. Paul, he was a guest of the Glassmacher lectures. He was amazing, there was something of a love for God that kept edging out around his talk - kinda like a smile. Most engaging. Maybe we could do one on post-modern theologians, Cobb is a post-modern reconstructionist by his own confession. I have him on my want to read list.

Guy Davies said...

Why not take the plunge and do baptists?

axegrinder said...


Yes to


No to




michael jensen said...

What about evangelicals?

I still say that NT Wright was not a legitimate candidate in the Anglican theologian field pure and simple. I would have liked to have seen who won without him in the field.He has too many out and out FANS.

Ben Myers said...

Thanks for all these suggestions. Several people have suggested a poll on patristic theologians, and this seems like an excellent idea. So the next one will be on patristics.

Anonymous said...

This from Dave Hills: Maybe we should throw in a Wiccan or two and not to be left out, somebody into karma, so if you have no idea what you are doing or where you are going it still counts for something.

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