Famous 19th Century Theologians

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Soren Kierkegaard

Soren Kierkegaard.
4
Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian & Religious Author
Birthdate: May 5, 1813
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: November 11, 1855

 2 Joseph Smith Jr.

Joseph Smith Jr..
7
Famous As: Religious leader, Theologians
Birthdate: December 23, 1805
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sharon, Vermont, United States
Died: June 27, 1844

Religious leader Joseph Smith Jr. is known as the founder of the Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. He also published the Book of Mormon. He established his communities in Ohio and Missouri and eventually founded the city Nauvoo in Illinois, which became the center of his spiritual activities.

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 3 Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon.
4
Famous As: Baptist Preacher
Birthdate: June 19, 1834
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kelvedon, Essex, England
Died: January 31, 1892

Charles Spurgeon was an English Particular Baptist preacher who was a powerful figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition. Hailed as the "Prince of Preachers", he was well respected by Christians of various denominations. He was pastor of the congregation of the New Park Street Chapel for almost four decades. He was the author of several books, sermons, and commentaries. 

 4 John Henry Newman

John Henry Newman.
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: February 21, 1801
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: City of London, England
Died: August 11, 1890

An important figure in the English religious history, John Henry Newman was a nineteenth century theologian, scholar and poet. Famed for leading the Oxford movement in the Church of England, he later switched to the Roman Catholic Church, eventually becoming the Cardinal Deacon of St. George in Velabro.  Also an influential educator and writer, he was canonized in October 2019.

 5 Paul Tillich

Paul Tillich.
4
Birthdate: August 20, 1886
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Starzeddel, Brandenburg, Germany
Died: October 22, 1965

German-American theologian and philosopher Paul Tillich is remembered for his work in the field of Christian existentialism and for concepts such as the method of correlation. His notable works, such as The Courage to Be and the three-volume Systematic Theology, has inspired intellectual thinkers and commoners alike.

 6 William Booth

William Booth.
3
Famous As: Founder of the Salvation Army, Preacher
Birthdate: April 10, 1829
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sneinton, Nottingham, England
Died: August 20, 1912

Hailed as the Prophet of the Poor, William Booth was the co-founder and the first the General of the Salvation Army, a Christian church known for its world-wide charitable work. Initially a Methodist preacher, he was moved by the plight of the poor and formed the Salvation Army, aiming to deliver salvation by meeting both their physical and spiritual needs.

 7 Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda.
4
Famous As: Guru
Birthdate: January 5, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: March 7, 1952

Paramahansa Yogananda was an Indian Hindu monk, yogi, and guru. He is known for introducing the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his organization Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) / Yogoda Satsanga Society (YSS) of India to millions across the world. He authored the book Autobiography of a Yogi and is considered the Father of Yoga in the West.

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 8 Reinhold Niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr.
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: June 21, 1892
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wright City, Missouri
Died: June 1, 1971
An American Reformed theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr wrote and spoke frequently about the intersection of religion, politics, and public policy. He is widely known for his philosophical perspective known as Christian Realism and his book Moral Man and Immoral Society. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 and the Time magazine posthumously called him "the greatest Protestant theologian in America since Jonathan Edwards."

 9 Karl Barth

Karl Barth.
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: May 10, 1886
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: December 10, 1968

Swiss theologian Karl Barth is best remembered for his iconic work The Epistle to the Romans. His opposition to the German National Socialism got him suspended as a professor at the University of Bonn. Along with Eduard Thurneysen, he revolutionized Protestant ideals. He also delivered sermons to prisoners in Basel.

 10 Hudson Taylor

Hudson Taylor
3
Famous As: Missionary
Birthdate: May 21, 1832
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Barnsley, Yorkshire, England
Died: June 3, 1905

Hudson Taylor was one of the most popular Christian missionaries in China. His 51-year stint in China witnessed him baptizing over 50,000 people. Apart from converting people, he also mingled with the Chinese at a personal level, adopting their clothing habits, contrary to what other missionaries practiced.

 11 Friedrich Schleiermacher

Friedrich Schleiermacher
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: November 21, 1768
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: February 12, 1834

Hailed as an early leader of liberal Christianity, Lutheran philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher was also an eminent biblical scholar and theologian. Best remembered for his works on hermeneutics and theory of translation, he also had a great impact on the evolution of higher criticism and became known for his attempt to reconcile the criticisms of the Enlightenment with traditional Protestant Christianity.

 12 Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès

Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 3, 1748
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fréjus, France
Died: June 20, 1836

Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, also known as the Abbé Sieyès, was a French Roman Catholic Abbé, clergyman, and political writer. He was a chief political theorist of the French Revolution and held offices in the French Consulate government. He is credited to have coined the term sociologie in an unpublished manuscript. He led a rather uninvolved social life.

 13 Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers
3
Famous As: Author, Theologian
Birthdate: July 24, 1874
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Aberdeen
Died: November 15, 1917

 14 William Buckland

William Buckland
3
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: March 12, 1784
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Axminster, Devon, England
Died: August 14, 1856

 15 Vladimir Solovyov

Vladimir Solovyov
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 28, 1853
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: August 13, 1900

 16 Ashraf Ali Thanwi

Ashraf Ali Thanwi
3
Famous As: Mufassir, Theologian
Birthdate: August 19, 1863
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Uttar Pradesh
Died: July 4, 1943

 17 Bernard Bolzano

Bernard Bolzano
3
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: October 5, 1781
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Prague, Czechoslovakia
Died: December 18, 1848

 18 Bruno Bauer

Bruno Bauer
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian, Historian
Birthdate: September 6, 1809
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Eisenberg
Died: April 15, 1882

German philosopher Bruno Bauer is best remembered as a student of legendary German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel. Part of the group of intellectuals known as Young Hegelians, he was also a staunch Rationalist. He not only questioned the origin of Christ but was also accused of anti-semitism.

 19 Moshe Feinstein

Moshe Feinstein
3
Famous As: Theologian, Rabbi, Philosopher
Birthdate: March 3, 1895
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Uzda
Died: March 23, 1986

 20 David Strauss

David Strauss
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: January 27, 1808
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ludwigsburg, Germany
Died: February 8, 1874

Protestant theologian David Strauss was 12 when he joined a seminary to study theology. Known for his works such as Das Leben Jesu, or The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, he criticized the Gospels and the miracles associated with Christ, thus inspiring future studies on the historical Jesus.

 21 Ahmad al-Tijani

Ahmad al-Tijani
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 1735 AD
Birthplace: Aïn Madhi, Algeria
Died: 1815 AD

 22 Dietrich von Hildebrand

Dietrich von Hildebrand
3
Famous As: Writer, Theologian, University teacher, Philosopher
Birthdate: October 12, 1889
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Florence
Died: January 25, 1977

Named the 20th Century Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII, Dietrich von Hildebrand was a well-known Catholic philosopher who criticized the Second Vatican Council’s church reforms. Known for works such as Transformation in Christ: On the Christian Attitude, he was part of the phenomenological and continental philosophical school.

 23 Edwin Abbott Abbott

Edwin Abbott Abbott
3
Famous As: Theologian, Science fiction writer, Teacher, Writer, Novelist
Birthdate: December 20, 1838
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London
Died: October 12, 1926

Edwin Abbott Abbott was a theologian, schoolmaster, and Anglican priest. He is remembered for writing the 1884 novella Flatland. He served as the principal of the City of London School where he supervised the education of H.H. Asquith, who would go on to serve as the prime minister of the UK. Abbott is also credited with writing educational text books.

 24 William Ellery Channing

William Ellery Channing
3
Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: April 7, 1780
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Died: October 2, 1842

William Ellery Channing was an American preacher. One of the most important Unitarian preachers in the early-19th century, Channing was also one of Unitarianism's most prominent theologians. Remembered for his impassioned and articulate public speeches and sermons, Channing had a major influence on the New England Transcendentalists. In 1903, he was honored with a statue at the Boston Public Garden.  

 25 Benjamin Jowett

Benjamin Jowett
3
Famous As: Tutor
Birthdate: April 15, 1817
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Camberwell, London, England
Died: October 1, 1893

Proving himself to be a brilliant classical scholar in school, Benjamin Jowett gained a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, where he was eventually elected a master and vice-chancellor. The 19th-century academic and Anglican theologian is remembered for his translation of The Dialogues of Plato and other classical texts.

 26 Julius Wellhausen

Julius Wellhausen
3
Famous As: Biblical scholar
Birthdate: May 17, 1844
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hamelin, Germany
Died: January 7, 1918

German biblical scholar Julius Wellhausen is best remembered for best known for his work on the Pentateuch. Born to a pastor, he followed in his father’s footsteps and studied theology. He also taught oriental languages. His New Testament studies were criticized, though his analysis of the Old Testament was well-received.

 27 Catherine Booth

Catherine Booth
3
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: January 17, 1829
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ashbourne, England
Died: October 4, 1890

Owing to a spinal ailment, Catherine Booth remained mostly at home as a child. She later founded The Salvation Army, with her Methodist preacher husband William Booth, thus helping the poor and the needy. She refused to believe women couldn’t preach the gospels and wrote the pamphlet Female Ministry.

 28 E.B. Pusey

E.B. Pusey
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: August 22, 1800
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pusey, England
Died: September 16, 1882

 29 Alexander Campbell

Alexander Campbell
3
Famous As: Minister
Birthdate: September 12, 1788
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Broughshane, County Antrim, Ireland
Died: March 4, 1866

Alexander Campbell was a Scots-Irish immigrant who went on to become an ordained minister in America. He then joined forces with his father and led a reform effort, which came to be known as the Restoration Movement. Also referred to as the Stone-Campbell Movement, it helped develop non-denominational Christian churches. 

 30 John Keble

John Keble
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 25, 1792
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fairford, Gloucestershire, England
Died: March 29, 1866

 31 Konstantin von Tischendorf

Konstantin von Tischendorf
3
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: January 18, 1815
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saxony, Germany
Died: December 7, 1874

Although best remembered for his discovery of the world's oldest handwritten Bible, known as Codex Sinaiticus or Sinai Bible, Konstantin Von Tischendorf, a renowned Biblical scholar, worked chiefly on recension of the New Testament text. A prolific writer making extensive contributions to biblical textual criticism, he is today best known for his magnum opus, Critical Edition of the New Testament.

 32 Frederick William Faber

Frederick William Faber
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 28, 1814
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Calverley, England
Died: November 26, 1863

 33 Elias Hicks

Elias Hicks
2
Famous As: Quaker minister
Birthdate: March 19, 1748
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hempstead, New York, United States
Died: February 27, 1830

 34 Philip Schaff

Philip Schaff
2
Famous As: Church historian, Translator, Theologian, University teacher, Writer, Bible translator
Birthdate: January 1, 1819
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chur
Died: October 20, 1893

 35 Frederick Denison Maurice

Frederick Denison Maurice
2
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: August 29, 1805
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Normanston, England, United Kingdom
Died: April 1, 1872

 36 Ernst Troeltsch

Ernst Troeltsch
2
Famous As: Politician, Theologian, University teacher, Sociologist
Birthdate: February 17, 1865
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Augsburg-Haunstetten
Died: February 1, 1923

Ernst Troeltsch was one of the first German theologians to insist that the Christian church should reconsider its version of absolute truth. The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches remains his best-known work. The son of a physician, he was skeptical of religious absolutism from the very beginning.

 37 Romano Guardini

Romano Guardini
3
Famous As: Catholic priest, Writer, Theologian, University teacher
Birthdate: February 17, 1885
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Verona
Died: October 1, 1968

Though he initially studied both chemistry and economics, Romano Guardini later became a priest. He later also served the University of Berlin as its chair of philosophy in religion but was forced to resign by the Nazis. He later also taught at the University of Munich.

 38 Timothy Dwight IV

Timothy Dwight IV
2
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: May 14, 1752
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Northampton, Massachusetts, United States
Died: January 11, 1817

 39 Albrecht Ritschl

Albrecht Ritschl
2
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: March 25, 1822
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 20, 1889

 40 Edward Irving

Edward Irving
2
Famous As: Scottish minister
Birthdate: August 4, 1792
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Annan, Scotland
Died: December 7, 1834

 41 Calvin Ellis Stowe

Calvin Ellis Stowe
2
Famous As: Biblical scholar
Birthdate: April 6, 1802
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Natick, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 22, 1886

 42 Isaac Mayer Wise

Isaac Mayer Wise
2
Famous As: Rabbi
Birthdate: March 29, 1819
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Steingrub, Czechoslovakia
Died: March 26, 1900

 43 Richard Whately

Richard Whately
2
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: February 1, 1787
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cavendish Square, London, England
Died: October 8, 1863

Richard Whately was an English logician, academic, rhetorician, economist, theologian, and philosopher. His influential work Elements of Logic, which popularized the study of logic in the United States of America and in Britain, inspired several logicians including Charles Sanders Peirce, who read the book when he was 12 years old.

 44 Ferdinand Christian Baur

Ferdinand Christian Baur
2
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: June 21, 1792
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Schmiden, Germany
Died: December 2, 1860

 45 Jean-Baptiste Henri-Dominique Lacordaire

Jean-Baptiste Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
2
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: May 12, 1802
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: France
Died: November 21, 1861

 46 Aleksey Stepanovich Khomyakov

Aleksey Stepanovich Khomyakov
2
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: May 13, 1804
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: October 5, 1860

 47 William Prout

William Prout
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: January 15, 1785
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Horton, England
Died: April 9, 1850

 48 C. F. W. Walther

C. F. W. Walther
2
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: October 25, 1811
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Langenchursdorf, Germany
Died: May 7, 1887

 49 Shaykh Ahmad

Shaykh Ahmad
2
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: April 30, 1753
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Al-Hasa, Saudi Arabia
Died: June 27, 1826

 50 Wilhelm Gesenius

Wilhelm Gesenius
2
Famous As: Biblical critic
Birthdate: February 3, 1786
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nordhausen, Germany
Died: October 23, 1842