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Most Overrated Theological Books?

In a rare, in-person meeting of the minds this weekend in Nashville, Nate Kerr, R.O. Flyer, and myself solved a great many of the world’s theological problems. One, however, we still need your help on. At some point we took it upon ourselves to try to figure out the most overrated theological book of the 20th century. While we couldn’t get near to narrowing it down to one, we came up with some possibles. Here is our top ten (in chronological order):

  1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship (1937)
  2. H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture (1951)
  3. Jürgen Moltman, Theology of Hope (1964)
  4. Karl Rahner, The Trinity (1967)
  5. Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue (1984)
  6. George Lindbeck, The Nature of Doctrine (1984)
  7. John Zizioulas, Being as Communion (1985)
  8. Sallie McFague, Models of God (1987)
  9. Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon, Resident Aliens (1989)
  10. John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory (1990)

It should be roundly emphasized that we are not saying that these books are not good and important. Indeed some of our absolutely favorite books are on this list. However, the question remains as to whether or not the attention and enthusiasm these books have received has been overblown. Please bear that in mind before unleashing your rage.

Now, over the next week we’ll be narrowing the list down to five, taking into account any comments you all have. Also, feel free to nominate some other books. The one that receives the most nominations will be added to the final vote as a wildcard. Enjoy the harrowing work of narrowing this list down with us.

90 Comments

  1. Ryan wrote:

    Hey, it doesn’t mean the most overrated theological books can’t still be the best books, too! ;)

    In that spirit, I would add Walter Brueggemann’s Prophetic Imagination and Barth’s Dogmatics in Outline. The most overrated and the best at the same time!

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
  2. aaron wrote:

    Tom Wright, Simply Christian

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Permalink
  3. Gene McCarraher wrote:

    You forgot to add both volumes of Reinhold Niebuhr’s The Nature and Destiny of Man. (I don’t think that Moral Man and Immoral Society counts as a theological book, properly speaking.) Grandiose and unimpressive. It’s the best evidence that his brother little Richard was right when he replied, answering a question as to why he wrote less than his more renowned brother, “I think before I write.”

    I’d also add to the list Harvey Cox’s The Secular City. Unoriginal thesis, derivative ideas, slapdash research. I actually think some of his subsequent work is rather good, but not his signature opus.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
  4. Alasdair MacLaig wrote:

    11. Nathan Kerr, Christ, History, and Apocalyptic

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink
  5. Can youall just define a bit more as to how such books get ‘rated’ in the first place, then potentially ‘overrated.’ For example, if a major release movie on netflix gets an average rating by 10 critics of 4 stars, but I give it 3 stars then I may consider it ‘overrated’ by a factor of 10 stars But, what if an independent or more obscure movie gets rated by only three critics and with 5 stars but I give it one star, seems then it is overrated by a factor of 12 stars, thus by my reckoning is much more overrated, though with many less raters than the first movie. Are we talking about books bought and reviewed and discussed? (as you know, one can do all 3 without actually reading the darn book). Are we talking about “impact” on the church or culture (how would one judge that?). For example the “Left Behind” books by Tim LaHaye sold billions more than your whole darn list put together; and with Bush and Cheney basing their foreign policy largely on these works, and with thousands dead and economies destroyed, and the world on the brink of total collapse (or, suffering messianic birth pangs, as some might have it) would one then say that “Left Behind” is ‘overrated,’ or ‘underrated?’

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Permalink
  6. Mike W wrote:

    Nothing by Tillich or Bultmann? They certainly generated some heat in their time

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Permalink
  7. Josh Rowley wrote:

    C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Permalink
  8. bruce hamill wrote:

    How low is your list going. What about Matthew Fox? I guess you mean overrated by academic theologians… so hopefully he doesn’t rate. I second the Niehbuhr, Zizioulas and McFague. The problem with this alluring thread is that it will alienate me from my friends if I write any more… Time to stop.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink
  9. Jeremy wrote:

    I’ll cast another vote for Dogmatics in Outline

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Permalink
  10. Let me at least affirm your identification of Resident Aliens.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink
  11. Adam Kotsko wrote:

    Man, talk about leading strong! Discipleship is a bold choice, but shows your integrity.

    (If I can throw in a negative vote, I don’t think Dogmatics in Outline is in the spirit of this exercise.)

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Permalink
  12. CCW wrote:

    seriously; discipleship made your list. Ry, you just lost serious cred. [This list makes me wonder what brew guided your conversation; that's the real question] Life Together deserves to be on the this list well before Discipleship. Well, now that that’s out of that way, Christ and Culture would have to be my top choice. In terms of integrity, if Yoder’s Politics of Jesus had shown up, then I would have paused. I also second the Mere Christianity vote.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink
  13. Evan wrote:

    Aulen’s Christus Victor could certainly make the list.

    It’s difficult to assess this sort of thing, though. I imagine that for many of these books, the content wasn’t as special as the impact that it had at a pivotal moment. The lasting significance of many of these works likely has more to do with the conversations that were thereby started rather than with the works themselves. After a given critical project has run its course, its originating impulse inevitably looks a little passé and obvious.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Permalink
  14. Gene McCarraher wrote:

    Can anyone explain why Christ and Culture is on the list (ahem, Halden)? I’ve never understood why so many people consider it such an awful book. It’s not HRN’s best (The Meaning of Revelation gets that nod). It’s schematic, to be sure, and it reflects a certain Cold War liberal Protestant moment of stasis. But it’s not as bad as a lot of post-liberals consider it. (I’ve used it in undergraduate classes, and it’s invariably a hit in terms of discussion and intellectual provocation.)

    Looking at that list again, I think you could make a case that Theology and Social Theory hasn’t worn well. You can arguably see the demon seeds of Red Toryism in it, which will now have the opportunity to develop in Cleggeron Britain.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Permalink
  15. Halden wrote:

    Gene, we felt it should be on there because its impact and reception (positive or negative) seems to us to be very disproportionate to what the book actually is and offers. But, I think your point above about the Nature and Destiny of Man certainly bears reflection.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink
  16. Halden wrote:

    In addition to D.B. Hart’s Beauty of the Infinite, we really truly considered including Kerr’s book in the list. But unfortunately we weren’t able to justify its inclusion in the twentieth century.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Permalink
  17. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    We tried hard to remain unbiased, Christian. We tried to think of some of the most influential/widely-regarded books of the twentieth century and from there asked was the book that good? For the record I wasn’t involved in ranking the top ten. And I’m kind of surprised that Discipleship made it to the top of the list.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink
  18. Halden wrote:

    Christian, just to be clear, I absolutely love Discipleship. I just think that the utter ubiquity of its enthusiastic reception is a bit overblown. It seems to me that everyone, no matter what their theological persuasion seems to feel obligated to like the book. That seems to be an overrating of some key sort.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink
  19. Halden wrote:

    Its just chronological, not in order of priority.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink
  20. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    We basically determined that both Tillich and Bultmann are not really overrated. At least Bultmann’s not.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Permalink
  21. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    Because everyone thinks highly of Christus Victor? Seriously?

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Permalink
  22. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    Yes, if Nature and Destiny would have come up, it would’ve made the list I think.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Permalink
  23. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    Kind of like Maclagan?

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
  24. Auggie Webster wrote:

    A vote for Tillich’s Systematics. Quick Hauerwas yarn. A friend of mine (college baseball player and utterly uninformed about Hauerwas) was looking at graduate programs and made the rounds with the Duke Divinity faculty. When Drew walked in Hauerwas’ office the paraphrased exchange went like this:

    SH: Drew, who are you five favorite theologians?
    Drew: Well, uh, I’d have to say . . . Rahner . . . Lindbeck . . . Till–
    SH: Drew, around here do you what word we use for Paul Tillich?
    Drew: No.
    SH: Son-of-a-bitch!

    Then they talked about baseball for a half-hour. He ended up in Chicago.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink
  25. Evan wrote:

    I don’t know of another book on the atonement written in the twentieth century that comes anywhere close to Christus Victor in terms of its being regarded as a “classic”.

    Maybe we’re operating under different understandings of what is meant by “overrated”.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink
  26. Mike wrote:

    Moltmann’s The Crucified God, in my opinion, is even more overrated (and less interesting) than Theology of Hope.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Permalink
  27. Josh Rowley wrote:

    John Stott, Basic Christianity

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Permalink
  28. Nate Kerr wrote:

    Gene:

    Indeed, I think we missed on not including Nature and Destiny of Man. It has to be the forerunner for the “wild card” spot for the final vote at this point. I probably would have caught its omission from our conversation if I had not been so busy with having to convince Halden and Ry that my book did not belong to the 20th century!

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Permalink
  29. Josh Rowley wrote:

    John Stott, The Cross of Christ

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
  30. Rob L wrote:

    I actually think ‘Letters and Papers’ is more overrated than ‘Discipleship’ (at least amongst theologians). While it is heralded for its radical thought, one will actually search it in vain for anything substantive. I mean, seriously, I read every single letter searching for his famed ‘non-religious interpretation’, and B would himself keep telling E “It’s super important that we develop non-religious interpretation, and I’ll write about it in the next paragraph – oh wait, I’m too tired/the bombing has just started/my dinner has arrived/my foot is itchy, I’ll write about it next time”, which next time never happens. And let’s be honest, L&P has spawned many more speculative secondary works than D has or ever will.

    Mike is right about Moltmann – CG is more highly rated than TOH, and yet the latter was perhaps actually more decisive a work in its time and place.

    My vote is for Sallie McFague and the facile ‘metaphorical’ theology she introduced and which so many took up with great zeal, but even greater ignorance.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Permalink
  31. Alistair McBride wrote:

    In the popular sphere: Desiring God by John Piper
    Academic sphere: I’ll second After Virtue

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Permalink
  32. John wrote:

    I am with Aaron and Josh.

    Any and every thing written by CS Lewis and Tom Wright.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Permalink
  33. John McNassor wrote:

    Context is everything- Barth delivered the lectures that became DIO to pastors amidst the rubble of the University of Bonn. He never really intended to have them published. It doesn’t “set out” to be a magnum opus. Even considering its ad-hoc character a couple of the chapters are theological jewels- specially the ones dealing with Chirstology.
    You know, rather than looking for OVERRATED books, it might be interesting to think about UNDERRATED works that have been overlooked. I’m thining of little works of dynamite like Forsyth’s THE PERSON AND PLACE OF JESUS CHRIST, or H.D. McDonald’s FORGIVENESS AND ATONEMENT. I’ve read thousands of pages of atonement theology, but McDonald has the gift of expressing the heart of the matter in 137 pages.
    I’d excise DISCIPLESHIP fro the list. The author sealed his testimony with his blood.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 12:51 am | Permalink
  34. What would be an “appropriately rated” theological book from the 20th century?

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 3:55 am | Permalink
  35. myles wrote:

    1) Nature and Destiny
    2) Beauty of the Infinite
    3) Letters and Papers–this one has gone so much traction and been so misunderstood. Lock it in a box for twenty years, and then let’s revisit this one.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 5:56 am | Permalink
  36. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    Barth’s Epistle to the Romans.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 6:01 am | Permalink
  37. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    I don’t care what anyone says Letters and Papers from Prison will not be on this list. Lock it away Myles? No, buy Fortress Press’ recently released critical edition and as Godsey said about the first edition go out and burn your old copies.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 6:06 am | Permalink
  38. mike d wrote:

    That’s what I was thinking – I’m having a hard time calibrating here.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 6:10 am | Permalink
  39. mike d wrote:

    I think the inclusion of After Virtue is interesting if only because its more properly a work of moral philosophy than theology. I realize it had/has influence in the post-liberal camp but is it’s presence a commentary on its ideas themselves or the way its been appropriated within theological circles? Either way its inclusion broadens the field for what might be included I think.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 6:49 am | Permalink
  40. I am surprised Tillich is not getting a foot in the door for a wildcard. I always feel the need to read some of his work and whenever I do I get utterly disappointed (not necessarily because it was so bad, but so bad compared to how it was hyped). I would point to The Courage To Be.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 7:28 am | Permalink
  41. Ben Myers wrote:

    Yeah, that puts everything into perspective.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink
  42. dan wrote:

    I think a good way to determine if a book is over-rated is to compare how much people talk about it versus how much people actually read it. The more over-rated books will be much discussed but little read. Based on this, I reckon you need to add Barth’s dogmatics and Hans Urs von Balthasar’s 16 volume trilogy to your list.

    Also, I think a good case can be made that “A Theology of Liberation” by Gustavo Gutierrez should be added to your list. Here, I’m thinking more in terms of its legacy. Rather than aiding the actual cause of liberation, that book has become a key text for bourgeois Christians who have plundered liberation theology and sought to maintain its impotence.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 8:34 am | Permalink
  43. ccw wrote:

    so, the real question is what was the brew you three enjoyed? or, better, was there a favorite pub you hit while in Nashville?

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  44. Ben Myers wrote:

    That’s a good point, Dan. I can easily see Balthasar on a list like this. And if we were serious about the criterion of most-talked-about-but-least-read, then (God forgive me) it would have to be Barth’s dogmatics by a long shot.

    On the other hand (picking up on R.O.’s point above), I think a strong case could be made for Barth’s Römerbrief as currently the most underrated book of the century. Unlike the dogmatics, the Römerbrief nowadays is neither read nor discussed, even though many would still blithely acknowledge it as the century’s most important theology book. (In other words, it has passed over into that utterly innocuous status of the “classic” — the worst fate imaginable for a book like that.)

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  45. myles wrote:

    I’ll say it again: lock it up–not because it’s a bad work, but because it’s been so overread and under-understood. Take it out of circulation, and then bring it back when people learn to read Bonhoeffer responsibly.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 8:59 am | Permalink
  46. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    I was impressed with Yazoo Brewing Company http://www.yazoobrew.com/ and of course we had no problem polishing off a bottle of good ol’ southern bourbon.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink
  47. Milton wrote:

    Alright, I’ll say it: Church Dogmatics II/2 is the most overrated book of the twentieth century. It’s a great book, to be sure, but it’s been hailed as the most important work of the twentieth century and, indeed, as one of the most important in the history of theology. If that doesn’t qualify it for the title “most overrated,” I don’t know what would.

    (Nobody thinks Dogmatics in Outline is all that good, by the way. It’s certainly not overrated.)

    Ten years from now, I will nominate Erich Przywara’s Analogia Entis, but right now it’s still underrated.

    Oh, and Tuomo Mannermaa’s Christ Present in Faith should be mentioned here, if only to serve as a reminder of how easy it is to overrate a book that tells us what our itching ears want to hear.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 9:44 am | Permalink
  48. Halden wrote:

    Mike, we talked about the inclusion of MacIntyre on the basis of the issues you raise. And while it is indeed a work of moral philosophy, we felt that its theological impact, especially on Hauerwas and the New Monasticism movements, merited its inclusion.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 9:46 am | Permalink
  49. The Chronicles of Narnia

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  50. Josh Rowley wrote:

    J.I. Packer, Knowing God

    Richard John Neuhaus, The Naked Public Square

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 10:14 am | Permalink
  51. Adam Kotsko wrote:

    I can’t believe no one has said this yet: Process and Reality!

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink
  52. mike d wrote:

    Right, its inclusion got me trying to think of another work that would fit in that mold – a twentieth century work of philosophy (or some other discipline) that has had such an impact on theological development. I’m sure there are some examples but I can’t think of any – which I guess might be a weak argument for the inclusion of After Virtue.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink
  53. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    If Przywara is overrated ten years from now that would mean we are in deep shit.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink
  54. Brad A. wrote:

    Yeah, I’m still wondering exactly what the point of a list like this is. How is it helpful?

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Permalink
  55. mshedden wrote:

    What I find interesting about some of these books, most notably Christ and Culture, The Nature of Doctrine, and After Virtue is you won’t find many people who read them without hearing a lecture on its merits or faults. It proably stands for most books but I think a lot people knew what they thought of Lindbeck or MacIntre before they started reading. This accounts for the amount of people who have “read” some of these books but never really understood them.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink
  56. Gordon Brown wrote:

    This seems to be like people sitting around talking about cool music – if the band gets too popular, then they can’t be cool any more. Its the whole postliberal scene pulled into one blog. Never mind the fact that some of these books have allowed people’s lives to resonate with their God, just as much as a reading of Calvin or Luther…

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink
  57. Geoff wrote:

    Overrated, WDTM? (What does that mean in the context of theology)

    If you mean appreciated but misunderstood/not actually read (strang meaning for overrated) I would have to say Oswald Chambers’ little devotional guide. I cannot think of an evangelical who does not have it, and of those I know only one or two that has actually read it.

    If you mean popular level work that is actually greatly appreciated, not very good, though not useless: Barclay’s commentaries.

    But I suspect you mean academic theology that gets lauded or appropriated more than it actually helpful to the mission of the church…in which case, C.S. Lewis does not count as his work was never intended to be academic. So, I think Tillch’s Systematic Theology. His method of correlation was good in principle, but it never seems to take off in the work itself.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
  58. kim fabricius wrote:

    At some point we took it upon ourselves to try to figure out the most overrated theological book of the 20th century.

    That would be the point where you went from being half-cut to seriously shickered.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink
  59. Halden wrote:

    As an exercise of self-reflection on whether our enthusaism for certain books might be overblown. Seems like something not totally unuseful.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink
  60. roger flyer wrote:

    Kim–That’s what I was thinking. What sort of moonshine did you guys get into down there in Hank’s town?!

    Just asking.

    -dad

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Permalink
  61. Brad A. wrote:

    No, not unuseful. Self-reflection’s good. But that doesn’t exactly come out in the post; what comes out, despite your helpful and important qualification, is that you’re examining the reception of those books across the board, i.e., with everybody else, rather than just yourselves. In that case, I didn’t see much of a point beyond just being critical…of everybody else.

    In any event, I have a hard time answering in a way not dependent upon context. Resident Aliens might be overrated where you are, but is still very handy and quite unappreciated in my evangelical circles. Likewise, while you (and I, to be sure) may still greatly appreciate Politics of Jesus, I’m sure there are a number of folks who would find it quite overrated. That said, my vote is for Christ and Culture. It still comes into conversation as a theological norm much too often.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
  62. Nate Kerr wrote:

    Yeah, Gordon. I think the conversation actually began with this question: “Hey, guys, what kind of post could we help Halden do that might actually turn out to be ‘completely worthless in every way imaginable?’”

    And that turned out to be harder than actually just proclaiming the whole postliberal scene itself to be completely worthless in every way imaginable. We needed to “perform,” if you will, as a practice into which we have been habituated — you know, for integrity’s sake.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Permalink
  63. adhunt wrote:

    As a johnny-come-lately to this thread I might as well throw my vote in on Moltmann’s Hope. Everything he has written is overrated and are the last unwinding threads of liberal protestantism.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Permalink
  64. Derek wrote:

    Into what, the perspective of, “unless it was one of the top 3 most important works in a hundred years, it is over-rated” perspective? Not sure I follow you here Ben.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Permalink
  65. Nine wrote:

    Actually, I’d be interested in hearing, if only briefly, the reasons why you three think these books are overrated. What is it they lack? Or what about them disappoints or doesn’t live up to their reputation? I ask this keeping in mind Halden’s point about the works listed still being good.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Permalink
  66. Hauerwas called.

    He said, “Overrated isn’t a theological category.”

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Permalink
  67. Sean wrote:

    Hearty agreement with this. The new Fortress edition is a revelation, and there is more content to the non-religious interpretation than some might imagine if you set it in the context of earlier writings (not least Ethics). In some senses I think it was locked away for 20 years in the prog. Christianity box, but is now being re-evaluated (although Ebeling knew what B. was on about from the word go).

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Permalink
  68. Sean wrote:

    shickered?

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Permalink
  69. kim fabricius wrote:

    What, no potshots at Pannenberg?

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 2:32 am | Permalink
  70. Adam Kotsko wrote:

    Kim, The implied title of this post is actually “Most Overrated Theological Books Among Smart Evangelicals.” Once you apply that filter, everything falls into place.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 5:13 am | Permalink
  71. Dustin wrote:

    A parable: When a Brooklyn band released their first album, it was like, “ooh my favorite new band that no one knows about!” but now that your uncool jock friends like them, and they have played on Letterman and SNL, and opened for Foo Fighters on a European tour, they just don’t seem quite as cool and secret.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink
  72. Gordon Brown wrote:

    Thanks Nate, I might read your book now. As someone who has never read theology as a student, but knows many (ministry) students, I find some of these works have provided seminal ideas that have allowed conservative evangelicals to be a bit more nuanced in their ideas about what this theology thing is all about. And for that I can’t complain. Its just a shame that no one reads the Bible any more…;-)

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Permalink
  73. Chris Donato wrote:

    I’d go with your Milbank choice, but Moltmann has recieved more attention, and the way I understand this exercise is to judge whether or not the attention received is commensurate with the theological usefulness of the project in question.

    So I’ll have to go with Moltmann.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink
  74. Chris Donato wrote:

    Or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
  75. roger flyer wrote:

    Chris-
    Are you ragging on that book again?

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink
  76. roger flyer wrote:

    @dustin. I am a new fan who thought they were boring hippies until the latest Letterman appearance.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink
  77. roger flyer wrote:

    …and Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

    : (

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
  78. Chris Donato wrote:

    I just can’t let it go. Phaedrus, that facile fuckface.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink
  79. Hill wrote:

    There will likely need to be some Przywara books translated into English for any sort of assessment to take place.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink
  80. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    Bourbon, of course.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink
  81. Halden wrote:

    Buffalo Trace, to be precise. Which has really become my favorite sipping bourbon for in the low $20s range.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
  82. Dustin wrote:

    but pitchfork gave them a 9.2!?

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink
  83. Derrick wrote:

    I was wondering the same thing about no Pannenberg nominations Kim. At the same time to my mind it’s hard to call Pannenberg overrated simply because hardly anyone (at least to my knowledge) really interacts with his work in any extensive way anymore. At the very least I think it’d be difficult to call him overrated in the sense that the theological scene is saturated with reliance or deferral to his works

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Permalink
  84. tim wrote:

    yes! totally overerated in evangelical circles

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Permalink
  85. roger flyer wrote:

    Hey-he tells us he’s a schizophrenic Zen master, right?

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 5:28 am | Permalink
  86. Adrian wrote:

    I think it was a joke…

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 6:45 am | Permalink
  87. d. stephen long wrote:

    You forgot one important book if you really want to be iconoclastic — the Bible. Shouldn’t it be #1? Many people have it. Few have read it. the prose isn’t that good, and most theologians disagree with it. If you listed in #1 it would show how edgy this post really is.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 7:08 am | Permalink
  88. kim fabricius wrote:

    I’m with Stephen. Bible, babble, bubble.
    Yours in the Spirit,
    Tom Muntzer

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  89. I’m glad to hear that.

    Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Permalink
  90. Amen, Sean. Ebeling had it right indeed. See also the excellent essay by Gerhard Krause on Bonhoeffer and Bultmann in The Future of Our Religious Past (ET of Zeit und Geschichte).

    Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

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