August 2021 - A new study by Academic Influence
reveals that open and relational thinkers are among the most influential scholars in theology over the last thirty years.
Open and relational thinkers ranking in the top ten are Thomas Jay Oord (#5), Rosemary Radford Ruether (#6), John B. Cobb, Jr. (#8), David Ray Griffin (#9), and James Cone (#10).
"Open and relational thinkers come in many stripes," says Tripp Fuller of the School of Divinity and Edinburgh University and host of Homebrewed Christianity, one of the longest-running theology podcasts. "This study shows the influence of open and relational theology continues to grow. This way of thinking makes sense not only to scholars but to the person on the street."
Rankings are based on a computational process that consults open-source data on the internet. The databases consulted contain billions of data points. The Influence Ranking program aggregates scholarly and academic citations, evaluates information sources, and searches periodicals, journals, and global media outlets. Results are not a popularity measure but come from records of achievement, frequency of citation, institutional sources, and more.
"Institutions are increasingly recognizing the power of the internet for theological education and information dissemination," says Robert Duncan, President of Northwind Theological Seminary. "This ranking of influential theologians shows how various digital sources advance academic theology in multi-faceted and far-reaching ways."
Other open and relational theologians in the top fifty are Keith Ward (#29), Walter Brueggemann (#32), Jurgen Moltmann (#35), Clark Pinnock (#44), William Hasker (#45), Charles Hartshorne (#52), Ian Barbour (#58), Marjorie Suchocki (#92).
Open and relational theology is a broad umbrella under which rests a variety of ideas and people. The shared ideas include 1) the future is open and neither pre-decided nor foreknown by God and 2) God and creation are relational, in the sense of mutually influencing. Open and relational thinkers also often emphasize the priority of love, freedom, and the possibility of transformation.
Can creatures actually can partner with God? This book answers that question... in the affirmative. The responses vary and the proposals provoke new insights. Along the way, the ideas break new ground. It turns out “partnering with God” has various meanings and dimensions. The seventy-seven contributors explore this rich diversity in accessible language, deep insight, and multiple stories. Their explorations inspire, elucidate, and motivate!
Most theologies suck. They’re too technical or they describe a God nobody understands. Sometimes the God portrayed sounds like a controlling boyfriend or absentee parent. Rather than woo, most theology books clobber readers into submission. This book is different. Thomas Jay Oord presents a theology that makes sense. It fits the way we live and matches our deepest intuitions. To the surprise of some, it harmonizes with scripture... at least the good parts. And it promotes a genuinely loving God.
Studies in Open and Relational Theology is a book series that promotes academic research and discourse on open, relational, and process perspectives in theology and religion (including those of open theism, process theology, neoclassical, and other relational and personalist traditions). This series is devoted to constructive and critical studies, especially those involving theological and philosophical speculation about the nature of Ultimates, freedom, power, relationality, evil, love, religious belonging, and more.
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