Top 16 Most-Googled Modern Theologians

a picture of a waterfall representing modern theologians

Which theologians are people searching for online? Here are sixteen of the most searched theologians (in no particular order) from all traditions—along with a few comments about each and a few books each has written.

1. Karl Barth

First is Karl Barth, twentieth-century Swiss theologian of the Reformed tradition. A vigorous opponent of theological liberalism and modernism, he is nonetheless commonly considered the father of neo-orthodoxy.

Barth gained theological fame initially for his commentary on Romans, and then for his massive Church Dogmatics. Barth had a live-in mistress for most of his married life, and she assisted him with the latter work.

Fifty Prayers

Fifty Prayers

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The Epistle to the Ephesians

The Epistle to the Ephesians

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Ethics

Ethics

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Insights: Karl Barth’s Reflections on the Life of Faith

Insights: Karl Barth’s Reflections on the Life of Faith

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2. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian, pastor, and ecumenist. Bonhoeffer was also a professor in Berlin, an uncompromising teacher in the Confessing Church, and a consistent opponent of National Socialism. Executed by Hitler at the end of World War II, his influence continues today. Bonhoeffer penned countless letters, portions of fiction, and several works on theology and ethics that have shaped modern religious thought.

The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together are Bonhoeffer’s best-known works.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 5: Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 5: Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol. 4: Discipleship

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol. 4: Discipleship

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God Is on the Cross: Reflections on Lent and Easter

God Is on the Cross: Reflections on Lent and Easter

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The Bonhoeffer Reader

The Bonhoeffer Reader

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3. John B. Webster

John Webster was a distinguished British theologian and member of the Anglican Communion. He co-founded the International Journal of Systematic Theology and co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology

Webster’s Christ Our Salvation: Expositions and Proclamations is a collection of homilies and a good place to start with Webster. In this Lexham Press book, Webster explores the various contours of the salvation accomplished for us in Christ and displays for preachers a model of theological exegesis that understands the gospel as the heart of holy Scripture.

Christ Our Salvation: Expositions and Proclamations

Christ Our Salvation: Expositions and Proclamations

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Confronted by Grace: Meditations of a Theologian

Confronted by Grace: Meditations of a Theologian

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The Culture of Theology

The Culture of Theology

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The Domain of the Word: Scripture and Theological Reason

The Domain of the Word: Scripture and Theological Reason

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4. Paul Tillich

Exiled to America upon Hitler’s rise to power, Paul Tillich lived in earth-shaking times and wrote works that shook the foundations of Christian theology. As both a German-American theologian and an existentialist philosopher, Tillich’s influence still lives on today. Tillich, like Barth, was a fairly open adulterer.

His autobiography, On the Boundary, provides insight into Tillich’s life and thought.

On the Boundary: An Autobiographical Sketch

On the Boundary: An Autobiographical Sketch

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The Shaking of the Foundations

The Shaking of the Foundations

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The Socialist Decision

The Socialist Decision

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The Kingdom of God and History

The Kingdom of God and History

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5. Hans Urs von Balthasar

Hans Urs von Balthasar was a Swiss Roman Catholic theologian. In Love Alone Is Credible, von Balthasar delves deeper into the exploration of what love means, what makes the divine love of God, and how we must become lovers of God in the footsteps of saints like Francis de Sales, John of the Cross, and Thérèse of Lisieux. 

Love Alone Is Credible

Love Alone Is Credible

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Explorations in Theology, vol. 1: The Word Made Flesh

Explorations in Theology, vol. 1: The Word Made Flesh

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A Short Primer for Unsettled Laymen

A Short Primer for Unsettled Laymen

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Life out of Death: Meditations on the Paschal Mystery

Life out of Death: Meditations on the Paschal Mystery

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6. Jürgen Moltmann

Jürgen Moltmann is a German Reformed theologian and served as a pastor from 1952 to 1958 in Bremen, Germany. He is professor emeritus of systematic theology at the University of Tübingen and the 2000 recipient of the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in religion.

Moltmann is known for his Theology of Hope, in which he digs deep into the foundations of Christian hope and into the exercise of this hope in thought and action in the world today.

Theology of Hope: On the Ground and the Implications of a Christian Eschatology

Theology of Hope: On the Ground and the Implications of a Christian Eschatology

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The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation & Criticism of Christian Theology

The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation & Criticism of Christian Theology

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Jesus Christ for Today’s World

Jesus Christ for Today’s World

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Jürgen Moltmann: Collected Readings

Jürgen Moltmann: Collected Readings

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7. Richard Bauckham

Richard Bauckham is senior scholar at Ridley Hall in Cambridge and visiting professor at St. Mellitus College. He is a fellow of The British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Bauckham’s most famous work is probably the insightful historical study Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, in which Bauckham argues that the four Gospels are based on the eyewitness testimony of those who personally knew Jesus. He also challenges readers to end the classic division between the “historical Jesus” and the “Christ of faith,” proposing instead the “Jesus of testimony” as presented by the Gospels.

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, 2nd ed.

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, 2nd ed.

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Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church (Bloomsbury Academic Collections)

Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church (Bloomsbury Academic Collections)

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Gospel of Glory: Major Themes in Johannine Theology

Gospel of Glory: Major Themes in Johannine Theology

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The Bible in the Contemporary World: Hermeneutical Ventures

The Bible in the Contemporary World: Hermeneutical Ventures

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Jude, 2 Peter (Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 50 | WBC)

Jude, 2 Peter (Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 50 | WBC)

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8. Carl F. H. Henry

Carl F. H. Henry helped launch the National Association of Evangelicals and served on its board for many years. Henry also assisted Rev. Billy Graham in founding Christianity Today, where he served as editor for twelve years.

Henry’s book, Basics of the Faith, provides an overview of essential Christian doctrines from some of the best minds of mid-twentieth century evangelicalism around the globe, including Philip E. Hughes, John Murray, and J. I. Packer. His magnum opus is God, Revelation, and Authority.

Basics of the Faith: An Evangelical Introduction to Christian Doctrine

Basics of the Faith: An Evangelical Introduction to Christian Doctrine

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Architect of Evangelicalism: The Essential Essays of Carl F. H. Henry

Architect of Evangelicalism: The Essential Essays of Carl F. H. Henry

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Christian Personal Ethics, 2nd ed.

Christian Personal Ethics, 2nd ed.

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God, Revelation, and Authority (6 vols.)

God, Revelation, and Authority (6 vols.)

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9. Alexander Schmemann

Alexander Schmemann was an Orthodox priest, teacher, and writer who explained issues such as secularism and Christian culture from the perspective of the unbroken experience of the church.

Schmemann wrote For the Life of the World, where he suggests an approach to the world and life within it which stems from the liturgical experience of the Orthodox Church.

For the Life of the World

For the Life of the World

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Introduction to Liturgical Theology

Introduction to Liturgical Theology

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Great Lent: Journey to Pascha

Great Lent: Journey to Pascha

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Celebration of Faith Series (3 vols.)

Celebration of Faith Series (3 vols.)

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Logos Bible Study Platform: The Free Bible App for Pro-level Bible Study

10. N. T. Wright

Nicholas Thomas (“N. T.” or “Tom”) Wright is a New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian, and Anglican bishop and research professor emeritus of New Testament and early Christianity at St. Mary’s College. He is known for excellent prose, deep historical knowledge, and his controversial “New Perspective on Paul.”

Wright is also an apologist, and one of his popular books, Surprised by Hope, is a kind of apologetic. It frames the resurrection of the dead—a topic on which Wright has written at great length in the highly praised The Resurrection of the Son of God—as the appropriate hope for all believers, rather than a disembodied “spiritual” existence.

Wright’s major academic works come in the Christian Origins and the Question of God series, but he has written very insightful and accessible commentaries on every book of the New Testament in his New Testament for Everyone series.

Surprised by Hope

Surprised by Hope

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Who Was Jesus?

Who Was Jesus?

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The Lord and His Prayer

The Lord and His Prayer

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Luke for Everyone (New Testament for Everyone)

Luke for Everyone (New Testament for Everyone)

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Christian Origins and the Question of God Series (4 vols.)

Christian Origins and the Question of God Series (4 vols.)

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11. John Polkinghorne

John Polkinghorne was a distinguished physicist who spent recent decades studying and writing about the relationship between science and faith. He became an Anglican priest in 1979 and a leading spokesman for the faith among serious scientists.

The Eerdmans John Polkinghorne Collection (2 vols.) includes The Work of Love and The Trinity and an Entangled World.

Eerdmans John Polkinghorne Collection (2 vols.)

Eerdmans John Polkinghorne Collection (2 vols.)

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Testing Scripture: A Scientist Explores the Bible

Testing Scripture: A Scientist Explores the Bible

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Science and Christian Belief: Theological Reflections of a Bottom-up Thinker

Science and Christian Belief: Theological Reflections of a Bottom-up Thinker

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Science and Providence: God’s Interaction with the World

Science and Providence: God’s Interaction with the World

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12. Walter Brueggemann

Walter Brueggemann is professor emeritus at the mainline Protestant Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, and past president of the Society of Biblical Literature.

His book Deliver Us: Salvation and the Liberating God of the Bible explains how the themes of the exodus event and the stories of the giving of the law that follow lay the groundwork for a biblical understanding of salvation. This volume also reveals Brueggemann’s clear understanding that divine liberation from exploitation and acquisitiveness also means liberation for generous action for the common benefit.

Deliver Us: Salvation and the Liberating God of the Bible

Deliver Us: Salvation and the Liberating God of the Bible

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The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary

The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary

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Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now, rev. ed.

Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now, rev. ed.

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The Covenanted Self: Exploration in Law and Covenant

The Covenanted Self: Exploration in Law and Covenant

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13. John Dominic Crossan

John Dominic Crossan is professor emeritus at DePaul University. He participated in the (in)famous Jesus Seminar, which voted with colored beads about the historicity of the various sayings and acts of Jesus recorded in the Gospels.

The Select Works of John Dominic Crossan (8 vols.) examines how Jesus’s teachings are presented throughout several nontraditional sources and examines the Galilean’s teaching from several new angles. In this collection, Crossan also explores how apocryphal texts like the Gospels of Thomas and Peter can affect the way we read accounts of Jesus in the traditional canon.

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How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian: Struggling with Divine Violence from Genesis Through Revelation (audio)

How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian: Struggling with Divine Violence from Genesis Through Revelation (audio)

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Semeia 2: The Good Samaritan

Semeia 2: The Good Samaritan

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Semeia 4: Paul Ricoeur on Biblical Hermeneutics

Semeia 4: Paul Ricoeur on Biblical Hermeneutics

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Semeia 9: Polyvalent Narration

Semeia 9: Polyvalent Narration

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14. Diana Butler Bass

Diana Butler Bass is senior research fellow and director of the Project on Congregations of Intentional Practice, a research study of mainline Protestant churches at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia.

In her book The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church, Bass argues that there are signs that mainline Protestant churches are indeed changing, finding a new vitality intentionally grounded in Christian practices and laying the groundwork for a new type of congregation.

The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church

The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church

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From Nomads to Pilgrims: Stories from Practicing Congregations

From Nomads to Pilgrims: Stories from Practicing Congregations

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Without Oars: Casting Off into a Life of Pilgrimage

Without Oars: Casting Off into a Life of Pilgrimage

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15. Lauren Winner

Lauren Winner writes and lectures widely on Christian practice, the history of Christianity in America, and Jewish-Christian relations. Winner has appeared on PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and has served as a commentator on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

In Mudhouse Sabbath, Winner illuminates eleven spiritual practices that can transform the way we view the world and God. In Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity, Winner speaks candidly to single Christians about the difficulty—and the importance—of sexual chastity. She uses phrases like “confession” and “sin” as she grounds her discussion of chastity first and foremost in Scripture. She confronts cultural lies about sex and challenges how we talk about sex in church.

Mudhouse Sabbath (audio)

Mudhouse Sabbath (audio)

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Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity

Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity

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16. Craig Bartholomew

Craig G. Bartholomew is director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics and has authored several influential books on the Old Testament and hermeneutics.

In Excellent Preaching: Proclaiming the Gospel in Its Context and Ours, Bartholomew teaches pastors how to preach so that the powerful message of the Bible penetrates the daily lives of their congregations. While pastors need to be intimately acquainted with Scripture, they also need to understand the context in which they preach, with the realization that good contextualization requires hard work.

Excellent Preaching: Proclaiming the Gospel in Its Context and Ours

Excellent Preaching: Proclaiming the Gospel in Its Context and Ours

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When You Want to Yell at God: The Book of Job (Transformative Word)

When You Want to Yell at God: The Book of Job (Transformative Word)

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The Drama of Scripture: Finding our Place in the Biblical Story, 2nd ed.

The Drama of Scripture: Finding our Place in the Biblical Story, 2nd ed.

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Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics: A Comprehensive Framework for Hearing God in Scripture

Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics: A Comprehensive Framework for Hearing God in Scripture

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