The Dead Theologian Reading Society

by Trillia Newbell

Let me start by saying, this is not really a “society” or club (yet) and yes, I was inspired by the movie “The Dead Poets Society.”

With that out of the way, I thought it would be fun and beneficial to begin reading from more dead theologians. As I looked at my current reading list and surveyed what I have read over the past year, I realized that I am stuck in a contemporary rut.  Perhaps I shouldn’t call it a rut.  It’s actually been wonderful. I’ve spent the year reading from John Piper, D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, Anthony Carter, and Thabiti Anyabwile, and from women like Kathleen Nielson, Nancy Guthrie, Mary Kassian, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and now Claire Smith. And that’s just to name a few.

I have been extremely blessed through reading this year. I must say, I do owe it to owning a Kindle. This is not an advertisement for the kindle, but I can hardly believe the amount of material I have been able to read as a result. What’s interesting to me is that with the kindle also comes the chance to purchase books from various dead theologians for extremely cheap or free! So I have tons of books that I have never read sitting and waiting…and waiting.

But what I am learning from reading many of these contemporaries is that they are reading the old dead guys.

So here’s the plan:

Each month I’d like to read something (an article, sermon, or book) from a dead theologian. This is not a New Year’s resolution. It’s a fun goal. Each month I’ll simply write a post about who I am reading and what I am reading (or what I have read). It’s just for fun, but I anticipate God meeting me through these writers, pastors, and theologians in amazing ways.

Here’s where you come in:

1. I’d love for you to suggest some theologians that I should explore. I’m not talking Spurgeon (I read him often already). I’d love some less known theologians or less read. I will, of course, read the well known, always quoted, men as well. Also, I would love some women.

2. Join me!  We can make it a society if more participates. Here’s what I won’t be able to do: I can’t lead discussions, I won’t be able to answer questions, and I won’t be able to write more than the one post about what I am reading (unless it’s incredible and I can’t help myself). I know my limitations and therefore I am going into this with low expectations of myself.

But you may be able to discuss it and you are welcome to do so on my site under the posts I write. But simply letting me (us) know you are reading too would be sufficient.

What now?

If you are interested in being a part of the very unofficial Dead Theologian Reading Society you can simply comment and check back in under the tab “For Fun” for books I am reading. You can read the same book or article, or find a different one by the same theologian. If the reading group actually grows I’ll create a special area for us on this site.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything you can:

sign up for our email newsletter

which is sent out bimonthly (soon to be monthly).

And please make suggestions in the comments section of this post for some theologians that I (we) should be reading!

Wonderful reading ahead!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

12 Comments to “The Dead Theologian Reading Society”

  1. What a great idea! I am excited to join you. What about T. Austin Sparks?

  2. Kim Shay says:

    I’ve already started a project whereby I am reading the Church Fathers. They have a site you can follow along with, reading selections from The Christian Classics Ethereal Library. We’re just reading Justin Martyr’s apology now. I’m not sure about dead female theologians. I don’t think there are many, although, I do have a book called “In Her Words,” edited by Amy Oden which contains writings by women. I guess it depends on what one considers a “theologian,” i.e. if she has to be recognized officially as such.

    I am making this year my year of patristics, reading church histories by Chadwick, Eusebius, as well as the writings of the fathers themselves. Also picked up an introduction to the church fathers by Bryan Litfin. It should be fun, indeed, but I plan on making it much more concentrated.

    It’s a great idea to have an unofficial club.

  3. What a great idea. I’m in!

  4. Ashley says:

    Im not too familiar with dead theologians so this sounds great! I’ve been wanting to read Communion with the Triune God by John Owen.

  5. Kamilla says:


    I hope you won’t mind if I put in a plug for my friend Dale Ahlquist’s new book on Chesterton, “The Complete Thinker”. It’s a great introduction to Chesterton.

    I also recommend Dorothy L Sayers, starting with, “The Mind of the Maker”.

    This year I’m also reading, “The Personal Correspondence of Hildegard of Bingen” and Richard Hooker on Natural Law, Dom Gregory Dix, “The Shape of the Liturgy” and Eric Mascall, “The Recovery of Unity”.

  6. admin says:

    Wonderful!! This is a great and safe place to plug all you want. 🙂 I’ll look into those.

  7. Cristy S. says:

    Although she’s known better for the fiction of “Christy,” I’d like to recommend Catherine Marshall. I will be reading along with the rest of the group.

  8. Cristy S. says:

    Oh, and Marion Duckworth?

  9. Great idea; I’m totally in! I’ve always been a little weird loving the dead guys! Other than Spurgeon, whom you already mentioned, I might suggest the words of Tozer, Finney, Jonathan Edwards, and John Wesley. Also, Bonhoeffer is on my to-read list for 2013 – I just found a biography on sale at LifeWay for $10, and I want to read The Cost of Discipleship. 🙂 Sounds like great fun… thanks for the idea!

  10. Blaise Pascal–17th century French theologian. His work entitled Pensees is particularly easy for someone with a busy lifestyle because it is simply a collection of his thoughts–not an extended argument. You can read one or two and chew on it all day. He is uniquely placed outside of historical Reformed theology by being a converted Catholic (Jansenist ) but many of the same threads (sovereignty, free grace) run through his arguments.

    The first paragraph of this Ref 21 post gives a brief synopsis of his life and contributions:

  11. Jody says:

    I would love to read along with you. Thomas Watson is one of my favorites. I say its about time our gender take theology seriously. 🙂 thanks!!

  12. Kathryn says:

    Great idea! I’ve always wanted to read “Confessions” by Augustine, as well as “City of God”…maybe this will be the year I read at least one of those titles.