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Theology: A Short Bibliography of Reference Tools

Reference Works and Bibliographies

Theological Research

Theological Methodology

History of Theology

  • Berardino, Angelo Di; and Studer, Basil, ed. History of Theology. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1996-.
    • A very useful introduction by some of the foremost scholars in each area, it should be consulted for any introduction to theology in the Early Church.
  • Cunliffe-Jones, Hubert. A History of Christian Doctrine. Philadelphia: Fortress,1978.
  • Gonzalez, Justo L. A History of Christian Thought. Rev ed. 3 vols.Nashville: Abingdon,1987.
    • Written in a very readable style, Gonzales is probably the easiest survey to comprehend.
  • Grillmeier, Aloys. Christ in Christian Tradition. 4 vols. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1975-1996.
    • A definitive work on the history of christology in the first six centuries.
  • Johnson, William Stacy; Leith, John H. Reformed Reader: a sourcebook in Christian theology. 2 vols Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993.
  • Ford, David F., ed. The Modern Theologians. 2 vols. Oxford: Blackwell,1997. Available online here.
    • The best recent survey of twentieth-century theology, with essays on both individual theologians and major movements.
  • Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: a history of the development of doctrine. 5 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1971.
    • An ambitious work that covers the history of doctrine for the early church through the modem period. It offers a reliable guide to the development of doctrine, and is one of the few works that also considers Eastern Christian thought.
  • Quasten, Johannes. Patrology. 4 vols. Westminster: Christian Classics, 1983-1986.
    • An essential work for study of the early church writings, Quasten primarily gives information on texts, editions, and translations. If you want to know the works a writer penned and if a translation is available, Quasten is a good source to consult.
  • Schaff, Philip. The Creeds of Christendom. 3 vols. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983. [BT 990 C72 TRIN].
    • A standard collection that contains most important creeds and confessions from the early church to the modem period. Most are presented in both their original language and in translation.
  • Smart, Ninian. et. at., ed. Nineteenth Century Religious Thought in the West. 3 vols. Cambridge: CUP 1985. Available online here.
    • Short essays by experts on most significant writers on religious thought in the 19th century, not just theologians. Philosophers are significantly represented.
  • Welch, Claude. Protestant Thought in the Nineteenth Century. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972-1985.
    • The best introduction to Protestant theology in the formative 19th century.

Systematic and Dogmatic Theology: Recent and Classic

  • Aquinas, Thomas. Nature and Grace: selections from the Summa theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1954.
    • Containing selections from Thomas’ Summa, these can serve as an introduction to the larger work.
  • Barth, Karl. Church Dogmatics. Edinburgh: T & T Clark. 13 vols. Available online at link provided.
    • A classic work by one of the 20th centuries foremost theologians. It is certainly worth the effort to follow Barth’s reflection on a subject.
  • Dogmatics in Outline. Trans.G. T. Thompson. New York: Harper & Row, 1959.
    • A short introduction to the Apostles’ Creed.
  • Braaten, Carl E.; Jenson, Robert W. ed. Christian Dogmatics. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Fortress,1984.
    • A Lutheran perspective that offers beneficial essays on all the topics of Christian theology.
  • Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Trans.Ford Lewis Battles. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960.
  • Fiorenza, Francis Schussler; Galvin, John P., ed. Systematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives. 2 vols.Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991. Available online at the link provided.
    • A modern Roman Catholic theology with essays by various writers. This makes it less of a systematic presentation.
  • Gunton, Colin, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine. Cambridge: CUP, 1997. Available online at the link provided.
    • Not simply an introduction to the topics of theology, the companion’s essays often survey recent opinions and problems and offer constructive proposals.
  • Hall, Douglas John. Thinking the Faith, Professing the Faith, Confessing the Faith. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991-1996.
    • A contextual project by a significant Canadian theologian.
  • Jenson, Robert W. Systematic Theology. New York: OUP 1997- . Available online here.
  • McClendon, James W., Jr. Systematic Theology. 2 vols. Nashville: Abingdon,1986-1994.
    • McClendon begins with ethics as the launching point for understanding Christian reflection upon the Gospel’s meaning.
  • McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology: an introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 2nd ed. 2011. Available online at the link provided.
  • __________, ed. The Christian Theology Reader. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995.
    • A readable survey of Christian theology that is concerned with both historical and systematic themes. It is written to be used for individual study as well as group study.
  • Migliore, Daniel L. Faith Seeking Understanding: an introduction to Christian theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014.
    • A brief introduction to theology that takes into account many recent concerns (e.g. feminist and liberationist critiques), but is weak in its interaction with the tradition.
  • Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Systematic Theology. 3 vols. Trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991-1997.
    • A significant project from a German Lutheran, Pannenberg develops his theology from the standpoint of revelation as history.
  • Rahner, Karl. Foundations of Christian Faith. Trans. William V. Dych. New York: Seabury Press, 1978.
    • This is a serviceable introduction to a writer who continues to be significant for modern Roman Catholic theology.

Recent Movements and Issues

Philosophical Theology

  • Allen, Diogenes. Philosophy for Understanding Theology. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1985.
    • An introductory text that considers philosophy and philosophers on the basis of their influence upon Christian theology from the early church to the modem period.
  • Dalferth, Ingolf U. Theology and Philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell, 1988.
    • Dalferth investigates how the relation between theology and philosophy has been understood by theologians as well as how philosophy has been theologically utilized.
  • Davis, Stephen T. God, Reason and Theistic Proofs. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans , 1997.
    • Surveys the proofs for the existence of God both in the tradition and in more recent analysis.
  • Plantinga, Alvin; Wolterstorff, Nicholas, ed. Faith and Rationality: reason and belief in God. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1983.
    • Essays by respected Christian philosophers on the relation between faith and reason attempt to take into consideration recent work in epistemology.
  • Stead, Christopher. Philosophy in Christian Antiquity. Cambridge: CUP, 1994. Available online at the link provided.
    • A clear and concise work, written for the non-specialist, detailing the relation between philosophy and theology in the early church.

Revised Nov. 2012 by Tom Power; revised July 2021 by A. Findley-Jones