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12 Theologians

July 15, 2007

A close friend and I were chatting about starting a reading plan for 2008. It is not our idea, but the plan goes like this: We pick the 12 greatest theologians (in our opinion) and read one each month of the year. For example, I have Augustine for February, and every February I would go back to reading Augustine; either picking up where I left off or starting a new book of his. This was a difficult process in choosing and it involved several emails challenging each other’s picks. We had long and hard talks on St. Thomas, Schleiermacher, and Barth. And because we are such Protestants we had one huge gap between Augustine and Calvin (or Luther), so we filled it in with Anselm – simply for his atonement theory. But I don’t know if reading Anselm has any longevity prospects. I guess I shall see. This, of course, does not limit us to only reading these 12 theologians. There would need to be devotional, contemporary, practical, ministerial, and even fictional books to supplement through the year. Also, the list can change. I do not think I could spend the next 20 years reading Anselm every March. My friend even had the idea that one whole month would be devoted to simply contemporary theologians – maybe December. Well, for all who are interested, here is my list:


January – Athanasius

February – Augustine

March – Anselm

April – John Calvin

May – Thomas Goodwin

June – John Owen

July – Jonathan Edwards

August – Friedrich Schleiermacher

September – C. H. Spurgeon

October – Karl Barth

November – C. S. Lewis

December – D. A. Carson


I know this list may ruffle some feathers. Some may say, “Where is Luther?! The Oak of Saxony!” Or, “St. Thomas!?” “What about Packer, or Lloyd Jones!?” My friend includes Kierkegaard. Some may shriek at the sight Schleirmacher or Barth. I could also include Chrystostom one year. Maybe a guest appearance of Tertullian. I understand that my list is horribly Reformed, but I think this is a good discipline and I would love to see other suggestions for the “12 theologians” list.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Edward permalink
    July 15, 2007 4:45 am

    Don’t care how you do it, you must include Kierkegaard, if you have Barth; and you must include Luther, if you include Kierkegaard.

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