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The Top 15 Theological Works of the past 25 Years

January 31, 2007

Patrik at God in a Shrinking Universe has compiled a list of the top 15 works of theology from the past 25 years. The list is based on votes by readers of his blog. Here are the results:

1. John D. Zizioulas, Being as Communion (1985) 21 votes
2. Hans Urs von Balthasar, Theodramatik (completed 1983) 17 votes
3. George A Lindbeck, The Nature of Doctrine (1984) 16 votes
4. John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory (1990) 13 votes
5. Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (1996) 12 votes
6. John Paul II, Theology of the Body (1979-1984) 11 votes
7. Stanley Hauerwas, The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer on Christian Ethics (1983) 10 votes
7. Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology (1988-93) 10 votes
9. Jürgen Moltmann, The Spirit of Life. A Universal Affirmation. (1991) 9 votes
10. Elizabeth Johnson, She Who Is (1992) 8 votes
10. T. F. Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith (1985) 8 votes
12. Gustavo Gutierrez, We Drink From Our Own Wells (1984) 7 votes
12. Robert W. Jenson, Systematic Theology (1997-99) 7 votes
14. Jean-Luc Marion, God without Being (Dieu sans l’être) (1982) 6 votes
14. David Tracy, The analogical imagination: Christian theology and the culture of pluralism (1981) 6 votes

Not a bad list from where I stand. While Zizioulas is a first-rate Orthodox theologian, I do not think his work Being as Communion belongs at the top of the list. The work is profound and stunning, yet I do not believe that it has changed the entire theological landscape in the way Balthasar’s Theodramatik, Lindbeck’s The Nature of Doctrine, Marion’s God without Being or Milbank’s Theology and Social Theory have.

I was pleased to see a number of Catholic authors on the list as it is a sign that their impact is felt across denominations. It would be interesting to compile a list of the 15 most significant Catholic works of the past quarter decade.

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