#mutuality2012 Let Me Introduce You To Few of My Favourite Female Theologians

Rachel Held Evans is hosting a week of mutuality on her blog. As part of this synchroblog event, mind I will be doing two things: One, cialis I will be highlighting posts that I have written on the subject; and two, Leslie Keeney over at The Ruthless Monk and I will be posting about encouraging women to attend this year’s ETS annual conference that is coming up in the fall. We want to write about this now so that people have plenty of time to prepare and plan to come.


The role of Pastor and Theologian are off limits to women. That is what some churches teach women. These offices are teaching offices and are reserved for men only. Even in churches and seminaries that are egalitarian, it more common than not to find that women in these teaching roles are a minority.

Partly I think it has to do with the fact that potential female scholars are encouraged, or find it easier, to study and teach areas that are “womanly”: gender issues, counseling, women’s ministry, children’s ministry, youth ministry etc.

Theology is not off limits to women. We shouldn’t be scared of theology, or think that it’s reserved for the “old boys club”.

Theology needs women, and women need theology.

Female theologians are not just writing about feminism or “women’s issues”. In fact, there are some amazing contributions being made in the areas of Christology, ecclesiology, soteriology and much, much more.

So if I may, I’d like to introduce you to a few of my favourite female theologians:

Kathryn Tanner:
Dr. Tanner is Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale Divinity School. She has written several books, including Christ the Key, and Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity. Ben Myers has said this about Dr. Tanner:
“In my view, Kathryn Tanner is one of the best theologians working in the Reformed tradition today – she has both a profound grasp of the dogmatic tradition and an acute sensitivity to the contemporary theological situation.” See also, Chris Tessone’s Why I Love Kathryn Tanner and Tripp Fuller’s I Heart Kathryn Tanner’s Christocentric Christology!


Sarah Coakley:
I first came across Dr. Coakley’s writings while doing research on the Council of Chalcedon for a Barth paper. Dr. Coakley is Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. According to her faculty page, she is working on a four volume systematic theology (Yay!). Check out her suggestions of 5 essential theology books of the last 25 years. Also, you can watch (or even read) the Gifford Lectures Series she recently did at the University of Aberdeen on the topic of theology, ethics and the philosophy of science.


Nancey Murphy:
Technically Dr. Murphy is a philosopher, but much of her work intersects with theology, and has been invaluable to my studies. Dr. Murphy is Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary. In her writings on the human soul, Dr. Murphy argues for a non-reductive physicalist position (i.e., there is no dichotomy of body and ‘soul’).


Ellen Charry:
Dr. Charry is Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. I’ve become interested in Dr. Charry’s work on the theology of happiness. There is much overlap between Dr. Charry’s work and work that is currently being done in the field of positive psychology.


Marva Dawn:
Dr. Dawn is a teaching fellow at Regent College in Vancouver, B.C. Dr. Dawn has written on worship, pastoral theology and much more. Her book, Powers, Weakness, and the Tabernacling of God won a Christianity Today Book Award. And of course, her book Reaching out without Dumbing Down is a must-read for anyone involved in leading worship in the Church.


A few more that I have read:

Catherine LaCugna: God for Us: The Trinity and the Christian Life.

Elizabeth Johnson: Consider Jesus: Waves of Renewal in Christology.

Amy Marga: Jesus Christ and the modern sinner: Karl Barth’s retrieval of Luther’s substantive Christology.

10 thoughts on “#mutuality2012 Let Me Introduce You To Few of My Favourite Female Theologians

  1. Great post. What a wealth of resources. I’ve actually ordered some to use in my own dissertation research. thanks so much!

  2. I should do “full disclosure” I suppose: As what I guess is a “quasi professional” (or an advanced amateur) in biblical studies, theology and psychology, this is my playground and where I write. So I have dealt with a lot of theologians, some of them women, and studied under some very sharp ones at Claremont School of Theology (M.E. Moore, e.g.–“Teaching from the Heart,” etc.). But recently, more of my reading has been of biblical (NT) scholars and historians of Christian origins. Some readers may not distinguish between them and theologians, but those in the respective fields DO distinguish, and for good reasons. Though there is a lot of overlap, different tools (including ancient languages, etc.) and sources are often required or developed in depth.

    All that to say that I have read very few females in the latter category — not purposely, but because they seem much rarer than in theology. Is this your perception also?

    I’m not sure the reasons. But I have just finished one book I want to mention and recommend by a strong woman historical scholar: “From Jesus to Christ” by Paula Fredriksen. She, writing as a historian, keeps her personal views almost completely out of the book, which I’ve found very insightful and well-written (though with occasional technical terms in a few places, even unknown to me, with a lot of related study). I would say it is a VERY important book (and others like it) for pastors and lay people of all stripes, if they take their faith and church seriously.

    The most I recall her getting into personal opinion or her “positions” is right at the end, where she says “… bad history, for the church, results in bad theology….” She speaks here of a “fully human Jesus” and wraps the book up like this:

    “If history, for the church, is important, then undistorted history is very important. Only by meeting this obligation with intellectual integrity can the church, with integrity, continue to witness to that message proclaimed by the first apostles, expounded by Paul, and reflected in the gospels: that the horizontal plane of the human and the vertical plane of the divine met at the cross of Jesus of Nazareth.”

    Again, a highly recommened read by a NT historical scholar who happens to be female.

    1. Howard,
      I probably could/should do a “Let me Introduce you to a few of my favourite female biblical scholars” post. I do have a few that I could put on the list, but since starting my MA I have moved from the world of biblical studies to the world of theology and I haven’t kept up with that field as much as I’d like. As such my list would probably be limited and a little dated.

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