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.
More From Theologians

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

Vote for Your Favourite Theologians

 1 Martin Luther

Martin Luther.
6
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.

 2 St. Augustine

St. Augustine.
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 13, 0354
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Thagaste, Numidia (now Souk Ahras, Algeria)
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.

Recommended Lists:

 3 St Francis of Assisi

St Francis of Assisi.
4
Famous As: Founder of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans)
Birthdate: November 26, 1182
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Assisi, Duchy of Spoleto, Holy Roman Empire
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.

 4 John Calvin

John Calvin.
4
Famous As: Protestant Reformer, Theologian, Pastor
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.

Recommended Lists:

 5 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

 6 John Wesley

John Wesley.
4
Famous As: Anglican Cleric and Christian Theologian
Birthdate: June 17, 1703
Sun Sign: Gemini
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.

Recommended Lists:

 7 Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
4
Famous As: Priest
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."

You May Like

 8 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.

Recommended Lists:

 9 John Knox

John Knox.
4
Famous As: Protestant Leader
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.

 10 Desiderius Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus.
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: October 27, 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.

Recommended Lists:

 11 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.

 12 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. 

 13 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.

 14 Jerome

Jerome.
4
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: March 27, 0347
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Štrigova
Died: December 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.
Recommended Lists:

 15 Tertullian

Tertullian.
4
Birthdate: 0160 AD
Birthplace: Carthage, Tunisia
Died: 0225 AD

Born to pagan parents in North Africa, Tertullian was initially gearing up to be a lawyer. Following his conversion to Christianity in Rome at about 40, he became a leader of the African church and wrote several Christian treatises, to eventually become the father of Latin Christianity.

 16 Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius of Antioch.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Roman Syria
Died: 0108 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.

Recommended Lists:

 17 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.

 18 Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda.
4
Famous As: Indian 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.

 19 Bernard of Clairvaux

Bernard of Clairvaux
4
Famous As: Abbot
Birthdate: 1090 AD
Birthplace: Fontaine-lès-Dijon, France
Died: August 20, 1153

Bernard of Clairvaux, or Saint Bernard, was a 12th-century Burgundian monk, who became the abbot of the abbey of Clairvaux, founded by him. He chose to live a life of physical austerities, which caused him ailments such as anemia. He is revered as the patron saint of beekeepers and candlemakers.

 20 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.

 21 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.

 22 Ibn Taymiyyah

Ibn Taymiyyah
6
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: January 22, 1263
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harran, Turkey
Died: September 26, 1328

 23 Avicenna

Avicenna.
4
Famous As: Persian Plymath
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.

 24 Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu.
4
Famous As: Anti-Apartheid Activist
Birthdate: October 7, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Klerksdorp, South Africa
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.

 25 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.

 26 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.

 27 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.

 28 Albertus Magnus

Albertus Magnus.
4
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: 1200 AD
Birthplace: Lauingen, Germany
Died: November 15, 1280

Albertus Magnus was a friar, bishop, and philosopher. Regarded by some as the greatest German theologian and philosopher of the Middle Ages, Albertus' writings have inspired the iconography of the archivolts and tympanum of the 13th-century portal of Strasbourg Cathedral. Remembered for his contribution to academics, several education institutions have been named after Albertus Magnus.

 29 Ahmad ibn Hanbal

Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
4
Famous As: Jurist
Birthdate: 0780 AD
Birthplace: Baghdad, Iraq
Died: 0855 AD

Ahmad ibn Hanbal was an Arab Muslim theologian, jurist, hadith traditionist, and ascetic. He is credited with founding one of the four prominent legal schools of Sunni Islam, the Hanbali school of Sunni jurisprudence. A highly active and influential scholar, Ahmad ibn Hanbal is widely regarded as one of the most respected intellectual personalities in the history of Islam.

 30 William Penn

William Penn.
4
Famous As: Founder of the Province of Pennsylvania
Birthdate: October 14, 1644
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 30, 1718

William Penn was a writer and one of the earliest members of the Quakers. He is credited with founding the Province of Pennsylvania. He also oversaw the planning and development of the city of Philadelphia. Penn has several universities and schools named in his honor, including the William Penn University in Iowa. 

 31 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.

 32 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.

 33 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.

 34 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.

 35 Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer.
4
Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian
Birthdate: January 14, 1875
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kaysersberg
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.

 36 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.

 37 Girolamo Savonarola

Girolamo Savonarola.
4
Famous As: Monk
Birthdate: September 21, 1452
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ferrara, Italy
Died: May 23, 1498
Distingusihed for his clash against corrupt clergy and with tyrranical rulers, Girolamo Savonarola became a moral dictator of the city of Florence. He earned a reputation for austerity and detested every form of pleasure that earned him powerful enemies.

 38 Clement of Alexandria

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

 39 Al-Ghazālī

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

 40 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.

 41 Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer.
4
Famous As: First Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury
Birthdate: July 2, 1489
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Aslockton
Died: March 21, 1556

Thomas Cranmer was the first Protestant to be the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was instrumental in the annulment of Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which led to the separation of the English Church from the See of Rome. He was eventually burnt at the stake for preaching Protestantism.

 42 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."

 43 John F. MacArthur

John F. MacArthur
5
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 19, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

John F. MacArthur is an American author and pastor best known for his television and radio program Grace to You which is broadcast all over the world. MacArthur has been playing an important role in the prosperity of a non-denominational, evangelical megachurch called Grace Community Church where he has been serving as a pastor-teacher since 1969.

 44 Francis Chan

Francis Chan
5
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.

 45 Joseph Priestley

Joseph Priestley.
4
Famous As: Discoverer of Oxygen
Birthdate: March 24, 1733
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Birstall
Died: February 6, 1804

Best remembered for his contribution to the chemistry of gases, Joseph Priestley was an English scientist, clergyman, political theorist and educator, who has been credited with discovering oxygen independently, publishing his findings before Carl Wilhelm could. A prolific writer, he has authored 150 works on various subjects including electricity. He also contributed immensely to the advancement of political and religious thoughts.

 46 Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 1703 AD
Birthplace: Al Uyaynah, Saudi Arabia
Died: June 22, 1792

 47 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.

 48 Roger Williams

Roger Williams.
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: December 21, 1603
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
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. 

 49 Abdul Qadir Gilani

Abdul Qadir Gilani
4
Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: March 17, 1078
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Amol, Iran
Died: February 21, 1166

 50 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.

See Also