“Beware the man of one book.” – St. Thomas of Aquinas (attrib.)
The work of theology requires one to read. The theologian must read broadly; she must read exhaustively; and she must read well. As she reads book after book, author after author, she will agree with some and disagree with others. A number of these other theologians she reads will have a tremendous influence over her while she rebuts and passes over others.
We are all influenced by other theologians and philosophers that we read. These other thinkers have a way of explaining things and articulating matters that make the proverbial scales fall off of our eyes, thus enabling us to take in the light. They also have insights into the meaning of Scripture and observations of the world around us that cause us no longer to see things the same way.
We all have those who influenced us in such a way that we no longer understand Scripture, the task of theology, or specific doctrines as before, and all this for the better!
This post is the first in a series I am going to write on the theologians and philosophers who have influenced me and led me to where I am today. Not only do theologians have the task of exhaustive reading, but I think we also have the task of paying homage to those whose works are inseparable from our own work.
In the posts that follow, I will introduce and summarize the different theologians and philosophers who have influenced me the most. Each post will discuss one thinker and their respective projects, and I will emphasize those particular aspects of their work that have had such an impacted me. I will also include a list of works written by the thinker under discussion in order to help interested readers know where to begin their own reading of them.
I will overview the works of many thinkers such as Origen, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, John Duns Scotus, John Calvin, Luis de Molina, Charles Sanders Peirce, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Stanley Grenz, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Umberto Eco, N. T. Wright, and Anthony Thiselton.
Of course, there will be others. However, I want there to be some surprises in what is to come! I hope that these posts will encourage you to dig into these insightful scholars for yourself, if you have not already.