Theologians

A theologian may refer to someone who is specialized in the study of god and various religious beliefs and delve into the subject of religion and rational questions relating to god. They are educated and well versed in the various concepts, ideas, notions and the approaches to god and religious beliefs. Theologists may have acquired a formal degree in religious studies, philosophy or may be a part of any religious organization or place of faith. The English word theology came into existence in 1362 and by the 17th century it became recognized field of study and practice. Theologists may be involved in the study of either one religion or they may also be well versed in different religions that exist around the world. The different kinds of theologists may include Christian Theologists, Hindu theologists, Buddhist theologists, Jewish theologists and Islamic theologists. The various disciplines that come under the frame work of theology include anthropology of religion, comparative religion, and history of religion, philosophy of religion, psychology of religion and sociology of religion. Here is an exhaustive compilation of some of the world’s famous theologists, learn more about them with their biographies that include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.
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 1 Soren Kierkegaard

Soren Kierkegaard
5
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: May 5, 1813
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: November 11, 1855

Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, social critic, poet, and religious author. Widely regarded as the first existentialist philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard is sometimes referred to as the Father of Existentialism. He is also credited with influencing many theologians, philosophers, and writers like Paul Feyerabend, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Jorge Luis Borges.

 2 John Knox

John Knox
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 1514 AD
Birthplace: Giffordgate, Haddington, Scotland
Died: November 24, 1572

John Knox was a Scottish minister, writer, and theologian. Knox, who played a major role in the Scottish Reformation, is also credited with founding the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Considered a major contributor to the field of theology, John Knox's statue stands tall at New College in the University of Edinburgh, UK.

 3 Martin Luther

Martin Luther
7
Famous As: Father of Protestantism and Church Reformer
Birthdate: November 10, 1483
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Eisleben, Germany
Died: February 18, 1546

German monk Martin Luther challenged the dogmas of Roman Catholicism and the authority of the pope, in his Ninety-five Theses, and was thus excommunicated. His German translation of the Bible enriched the German culture, and his marriage set an example for clerical marriage. His teachings are now known as Lutherans.

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 4 Jerome

Jerome
4
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: 0342 AD
Birthplace: Štrigova, Croatia
Died: September 30, 0420
Latin priest Jerome of Stridon, also known as Saint Jerome, is remembered for translating the Bible into Latin, which came to be known as the Vulgate. Named a Doctor of the Church, he was a secretary to Pope Damascus I and predominantly preached about how women ascetics should behave.
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 5 Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon
6
Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: June 19, 1834
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kelvedon, 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. 

 6 St. Augustine

St. Augustine
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 13, 0354
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Thagaste
Died: August 28, 0430

Saint Augustine was a philosopher, theologian, and the bishop of Hippo Regius in Roman North Africa. His writings are often credited with influencing the growth of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He is also regarded as one of the Latin Church's most important Church Fathers in the Patristic Period. Among his many important works are Confessions and On Christian Doctrine.

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 7 Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius of Antioch
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Roman Syria
Died: 0140 AD

Ignatius of Antioch went down in history as a man who was arrested and executed for his non-allegiance to Roman gods. The seven letters he wrote while being escorted from Antioch to Rome as a prisoner later served as a mirror that reflected his concern for Christianity, against false teachings.

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 8 Origen

Origen
4
Famous As: Theologian, Cleric, Writer, Translator, Philosopher
Birthdate: 0185 AD
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: 0253 AD

Origen was an early Christian ascetic, scholar, and theologian. Also a prolific writer, Origen wrote as many as 2,000 treatises, including biblical exegesis, textual criticism, biblical hermeneutics, spirituality, and homiletics. Origen is widely considered one of the most prominent Christian theologians, although his teachings on the existence of souls were vehemently rejected by the Church.

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 9 St Francis of Assisi

St Francis of Assisi
4
Famous As: Friar
Birthdate: 1181 AD
Birthplace: Assisi, Italy
Died: October 3, 1226

An Italian Catholic friar, deacon, mystic, and preacher, St Francis of Assisi was the founder of the men's Order of Friars Minor and the women's Order of Saint Clare. He arranged for the first Christmas live nativity scene in 1223. Also known as Francesco, he is one of the most venerated religious figures in Christianity.

 10 Paul Tillich

Paul Tillich
5
Famous As: Christian existentialist philosopher
Birthdate: August 20, 1886
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Starosiedle, Poland
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.

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 11 Ibn Taymiyyah

Ibn Taymiyyah
7
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: January 22, 1263
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harran, Turkey
Died: September 26, 1328

 12 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.

 13 Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 18, 1707
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Epworth, Lincolnshire, England
Died: March 29, 1788

One of the leaders of the Methodist revival movement, Charles Wesley is better known as the author numerous hymns and carols. Love Divine, All Loves Excelling and Christ the Lord Is Risen Today being some of his more popular works.  Averaging ten poetic lines per day for fifty years, he published more than 4,500 hymns, leaving some 3,000 in manuscript.

 14 John Calvin

John Calvin
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: July 10, 1509
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Noyon, France
Died: May 27, 1564

French theologian, pastor, and reformer John Calvin was a major figure during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. He was influential in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church to embrace Protestantism. As an apologetic writer, he generated much controversy.

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 15 Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu
5
Famous As: Anti-Apartheid Activist, Theologian
Birthdate: October 7, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Klerksdorp, South Africa
Died: December 26, 2021
Desmond Tutu is known for his anti-Apartheid activism in South Africa. The first black Archbishop of Cape Town, he has also been the Bishop of Johannesburg. His efforts to eradicate AIDS, poverty, anti-LGBT sentiments, and human rights violations earned him the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 16 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.

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 17 Avicenna

Avicenna
4
Famous As: Persian polymath the most significant physiciansand writers of the Islamic Golden Age, and the father of early modern medicine.
Birthdate: 0980 AD
Birthplace: Afshona, Uzbekistan
Died: May 31, 1037
Renowned as father of early modern medicine, Avicenna was an illustrious Persian polymath. He is specifically distingusihed for his contributions in the fields of medicine and Aristotelian philisophy. He is best-known for his works namely, The Canon of Medicine and The Book of Healing. The corpus of his writings also include alchemy, geology, psychology, geography, physics, poetry and Islamic theology.

 18 Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist, Minister
Birthdate: January 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Died: April 4, 1968

A leader in the civil rights movement in the mid-twentieth century, Martin Luther King Jr. is best remembered for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience. A man of Christian faith who was inspired by Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent activism, he was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting racial inequality.  

 19 Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
6
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: February 4, 1906
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: April 9, 1945
Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer is remembered for his anti-Nazi stance, for establishing the Confessing Church, and for authoring the book The Cost of Discipleship. He was sent to the Flossenbürg concentration camp after being imprisoned for a year. He was eventually hanged after being charged of plotting to assassinate Hitler.

 20 Johann Gottfried Herder

Johann Gottfried Herder
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: August 25, 1744
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Morąg, Poland
Died: December 18, 1803

German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder is best remembered as a significant figure of the Sturm und Drang literary movement. Born into poverty and largely self-educated till 17, he later became a disciple of Immanuel Kant and was associated with Enlightenment and Weimar Classicism. He was eventually ennobled.

 21 George Whitefield

George Whitefield
4
Famous As: Evangelist, Theologian
Birthdate: December 16, 1714
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Gloucester, England
Died: September 30, 1770

George Whitefield was an Anglican evangelist and cleric. He is credited with co-founding the evangelical movement and Methodism. Whitefield's teachings of a series of revivals in North America became an important component of the First Great Awakening. Thanks to his ability to captivate large audiences, George Whitefield preached to millions of listeners during his ministry.

 22 Anthony of Padua

Anthony of Padua
4
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: August 15, 1195
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lisbon, Portugal
Died: June 13, 1231

Thirteenth-century Portuguese Catholic priest Anthony of Padua was the friar of the Franciscan Order. He is remembered for his self-less devotion to the poor and the sick and is revered as the patron saint of lost items. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1946.

 23 William Tyndale

William Tyndale
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 1494 AD
Birthplace: North Nibley
Died: October 6, 1536

English scholar, William Tyndale, became a leading figure in the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. He is known for translating the Bible into English. An active writer, he wrote extensively on political issues and religion. He was accused of heresy and condemned to be burned to death. Executed in 1536, he is honored as a martyr.

 24 Clement of Alexandria

Clement of Alexandria
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 0150 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0215 AD

 25 Al-Ghazālī

Al-Ghazālī
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1058 AD
Birthplace: Ṭūs, Iran
Died: December 19, 1111

Al-Ghazālī was a Persian Muslim polymath best remembered for his work in the fields of philosophy, theology, logic, and Sufism. Such was his popularity that al-Ghazali was awarded the honorific title Hujjat al-Islām during his lifetime itself. Among his other works, the Incoherence of the Philosophers is considered a landmark in the history of philosophy.

 26 John Wesley

John Wesley
4
Famous As: Cleric
Birthdate: June 28, 1703
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Epworth, England
Died: March 2, 1791

John Wesley was an English cleric, evangelist, and theologian. He is best remembered for leading a revival movement called Methodism within the Church of England. He is credited with founding societies that eventually became the dominant form of the Methodist movement, which remains relevant today. He continues to be the main theological influence on Methodists all over the world.

 27 Peter Abelard

Peter Abelard
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1079 AD
Birthplace: Le Pallet, France
Died: April 21, 1142

Medieval French philosopher, theologian, and poet Peter Abelard was born to a knight but gave up his inheritance to study philosophy and logic. He fell in love with his pupil, Héloïse, but her uncle got Abelard castrated, following which Abelard became a monk and made Héloïse a nun.

 28 Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Saint Ignatius of Loyola
4
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: October 23, 1491
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Azpeitia, Spain
Died: July 31, 1556

Saint Ignatius of Loyola was a  Spanish Basque Catholic priest and theologian in the 16th century. He was one of the founders of the religious order called the Society of Jesus and served as its first Superior General at Paris. He was an inspired spiritual director and the founder of what is today known as "Ignatian spirituality."

 29 Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer
6
Famous As: Theologian, Polymath
Birthdate: January 14, 1875
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kaysersberg-Vignoble, France
Died: September 4, 1965

Albert Schweitzer was an Alsatian polymath who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for his philosophical work, Reverence for Life. He is credited with founding the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, which was a direct result of his philosophical expression. Schweitzer is also credited with influencing the Organ reform movement, which began in the mid-20th-century.

 30 Chanakya

Chanakya
4
Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian
Birthdate: 0371 BC
Birthplace: India
Died: 0283 BC

Chanakya was an ancient Indian philosopher, teacher, jurist, economist, and royal advisor. Widely regarded as the pioneer of economics and political science in India, Chanakya is believed to have played a key role in the formation of the great Maurya Empire. He authored the ancient Indian political treatise, the Arthashastra, which is considered as one of the seminal texts on statecraft.

 31 John Wycliffe

John Wycliffe
4
Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian
Birthdate: 1328 AD
Birthplace: Hipswell, United Kingdom
Died: December 31, 1384

John Wycliffe was an English theologian, scholastic philosopher, biblical translator, priest, and reformer. He was also associated with the University of Oxford where he served as a seminary professor. John Wycliffe played a key role in the development of the Bible's translation into English. Wycliffe’s works also greatly influenced the teaching and philosophy of a Czech reformer named Jan Hus.

 32 Joseph Smith Jr.

Joseph Smith Jr.
11
Famous As: Founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement
Birthdate: December 23, 1805
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sharon, Vermont, United States
Died: May 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.

 33 Saint Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa of Avila
4
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: March 28, 1515
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gotarrendura
Died: October 4, 1582

Teresa of Ávila, also known as Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a Spanish noblewoman who later turned into a Carmelite nun. She was posthumously named a Doctor of the Church. She co-established the Discalced Carmelite Order. Her written works include The Interior Castle and her own autobiography.

 34 Desiderius Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 28, 1466
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Died: July 12, 1536

Born as an illegitimate child of a priest from Rotterdam, Desiderius Erasmus later grew up to be a significant figure of the northern Renaissance. He is remembered for his research on free will and for being the first to edit the New Testament, replacing traditional elements with new-age humanism.

 35 Reinhold Niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: June 21, 1892
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wright City, Missouri, United States
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."

 36 Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton
4
Famous As: Writer & theologian was ordained to the Catholic priesthood and given the name "Father Louis".
Birthdate: January 31, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Prades, France
Died: December 10, 1968

American Trappist monk and theologian Thomas Merton was ordained a priest and named Father Louis. He was a member of the monastery Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani. He is remembered for his bestselling autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, and for his study of Eastern religions such as Buddhism.

 37 Gregory of Nazianzus

Gregory of Nazianzus
3
Famous As: 4th-century Archbishop of Constantinople and theologian
Birthdate: 0329 AD
Birthplace: Nazianzus, Cappadocia, Turkey
Died: January 24, 0390

 38 Muhammad al-Bukhari

Muhammad al-Bukhari
4
Famous As: Islamic Scholar
Birthdate: July 19, 0810
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Died: September 1, 0870
Following his pilgrimage to Mecca at 16 and his travels in Egypt, Muhammad al-Bukhari devoted all his time compiling Hadith, or the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. The Islamic scholar is known for penning Al-Taʾrīkh al-kabīr and spent his final years in exile after disputes in Nishapur and Bukhara.

 39 Roger Williams

Roger Williams
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: December 12, 1603
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 1683 AD

Roger Williams was a 17th-century Puritan minister and theologian. He founded Providence Plantations, which later became the US state of Rhode Island. He advocated for fair dealings with Native Americans and believed in religious freedom. He disapproved of perpetual chattel slavery. After being expelled by the Puritan leaders, he founded the First Baptist Church in America. 

 40 Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda
9
Famous As: Hindu Monk
Birthdate: January 12, 1863
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: July 4, 1902

The founder of the Ramakrishna Mission and Ramakrishna Math, Swami Vivekananda was an Indian Hindu monk, philosopher, and spiritual leader. He is credited with introducing the Indian philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the Western world. He is also credited with elevating the status of Hinduism as a major religion in the modern world by raising interfaith awareness.

 41 Swedenborg

Swedenborg
4
Famous As: Theologian, Philosopher, Scientist
Birthdate: January 29, 1688
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: March 29, 1772

Emanuel Swedenborg was a Swedish pluralistic-Christian philosopher, mystic, theologian, and scientist. Swedenborg started hogging the limelight after writing a book on the afterlife titled Heaven and Hell, which released in 1758. A prolific scientist and inventor, Swedenborg experienced spiritual awakening after which he started working on reforming Christianity. He even claimed that he could converse with angels and demons.

 42 Ambrose

Ambrose
4
Famous As: Doctor
Birthdate: 0340 AD
Birthplace: Trier, Germany
Died: April 4, 0397

 43 Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards
4
Famous As: Preacher, Theologian, Philosopher
Birthdate: October 5, 1703
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: East Windsor, Connecticut, United States
Died: March 22, 1758

Jonathan Edwards was an American philosopher, revivalist preacher, and Congregationalist Protestant theologian. Considered one of America's most prominent and influential philosophical theologians, Jonathan Edwards played a major role in shaping the Evangelical Revival of the 1730s and 1740s. His theological work is credited with paving the way for a new school of theology called the New England theology.

 44 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
5
Famous As: Jesuit Priest who Co-developed the Concept of Noosphere & was Part of the Discovery of took part in the Discovery of Peking Man
Birthdate: May 1, 1881
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Orcines, France
Died: April 10, 1955

French paleontologist and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin is remembered as someone who deviated from theology to science. He discovered the fossilized remains known as the Peking man in China, but faced a lot of opposition from his religious superiors when it came to publishing his scientific thoughts.

 45 Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
4
Famous As: Indian Minister of Education (1947-58)
Birthdate: November 11, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Died: February 22, 1958

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was an Indian independence activist, Islamic theologian, and scholar. He played a key role in the Indian independence movement, serving as a senior leader of the Congress. His contribution to the Indian education system is recognized across India by celebrating his birthday as National Education Day

 46 Martin Niemöller

Martin Niemöller
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: January 14, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lippstadt, Germany
Died: March 6, 1984
Best remembered for the quote “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out...,” Martin Niemöller was a German pastor who tried to counter discrimination against Christian converts with Jewish heritage. His Confessing Church was perhaps his apology for initially being a Nazi sympathizer.

 47 John Chrysostom

John Chrysostom
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: 0347 AD
Birthplace: Antioch, Turkey
Died: September 14, 0407

John Chrysostom was an influential Early Church Father best remembered for his public speaking and preaching. Regarded as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs of the Greek Church, John continues to be a prominent theologian in Eastern Christianity. He is recognized as a saint by various churches, including the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, Catholic, and Lutheran churches.

 48 Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 1260 AD
Birthplace: Gotha, Germany
Died: 1328 AD

German philosopher Meister Eckhart is remembered for his Latin and German transcripts that stress on the relationship between God and man. His treatises include Talks of Instruction and the Book of Divine Consolation. His innovative vocabulary also contributed to the German language. However, he was accused of heresy later.

 49 Anselm of Canterbury

Anselm of Canterbury
4
Famous As: Saint, Philosopher
Birthdate: 1033 AD
Birthplace: Aosta, Italy
Died: April 21, 1109

Owing to his quality classical education, Anselm of Canterbury became one of the finest Latinists of his time. As Archbishop of Canterbury, he resisted the English kings and was exiled. He is now remembered as a significant figure in the Investiture Controversy, which pitted the king against the pope.

 50 Francis Chan

Francis Chan
8
Famous As: Theologian, Author
Birthdate: August 31, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hong Kong

The Cornerstone Church and Eternity Bible College founder Francis Chan is a popular Protestant preacher. Apart from authoring the New York Times bestseller Crazy Love, Francis has also penned children’s books such as Halfway Herbert and Ronnie Wilson's Gift. He has also co-launched the discipleship movement named Multiply.