Michael Root and Nicholas Lash on theologians as authors

1. Michael Root

A curse of recent theology has been the cult of the virtuoso theologian, the creative mind who recasts the field, the Schleiermachers and Barths of the discipline, Promethean figures who blaze the path others are to follow. Much academic work in modern theology seems less the study of God or of the Christian message about God, and more the study of the creativity of great theologians.

from “The Achievement of Wolfhart Pannenberg,” First Things (Mar 2012), linked here.

2. Nicholas Lash

Theologians have always written books, have always been in some sense auctores. But only since the early nineteenth century have they considered it their business individually to be creators of some new vision, original interpretation, fresh achievement of erudition or imagination: to be ‘authors’. The point is familiar, but I know no other study [than John Thiel’s Imagination and Authority] which so carefully explores not only theological authorship’s first appearance on the scene but also its implications for the prospects of theology, beyond modernity, and for relations between Catholic theologians and ecclesiastical authorities or auctoritates.

from Review of John Thiel, Imagination and Authority. Heythrop Journal 34/4 (1993): 445.

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