Best Books in Systematic Theology
December 7, 2009 8 Comments
Everyone should read some Christian theology. And the first thing to read is a systematic theology, that is, a work that treats all the major doctrines of Christian theology in systematic fashion. (This used to be called “Dogmatic Theology.”)
Recently I’ve been reading E. A. Litton’s 19th-century volume Introduction to Dogmatic Theology. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Litton to any serious reader who has time or shelf space for only one volume of systematic theology.
Here are my recommendations for different categories.
The three best—those very few books that I treasure most for their theological insight and literary value—listed in order of preference:
- Edward Arthur Litton, Introduction to Dogmatic Theology (1882, 1892)
- John Miley, Systematic Theology, 2 volumes (1892-1894)
- W. H. Griffith Thomas, The Principles of Theology: An Introduction to the Thirty-Nine Articles (1930)
Classics of the first millennium:
- John of Damascus, De Fide Orthodoxa (AD 730)
Classics of the 13th century:
- Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
Classics of the 16th century:
- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559; McNeill translation, in two volumes, 1960)
- Jacobus Arminius, The Works of James Arminius (2009 ed.)
- Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology (Giger translation, edited by Dennison, 1997)
Favorite classics from the late 19th century to the middle 20th century (in chronological order):
- Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (1871-1873)
- Robert L. Dabney, Systematic Theology (1878; reprint, 1985)
- A. A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology
- William G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 3 volumes (1889; reprint, 1979)
- Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology (1907)
- Edgar Young Mullins, The Christian Religion in Its Doctrinal Expression (1917)
- James Oliver Buswell, Jr., A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion (1962-1963)
Best recent works (in alphabetical order by author name):
- Millard Erickson, Christian Theology (1985)
- Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology, 4 volumes (2002-2005)
- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (1994)
- Gordon R. Lewis and Bruce Demarest, Integrative Theology, 3 volumes (1987-1994)
Here are Amazon links to those that are currently in print: Griffith Thomas; John of Damascus; Thomas Aquinas (5 volumes); Calvin; Arminius, 2nd of 3 volumes; Turretin; A. A. Hodge; Shedd; Strong; Mullins; Erickson; Geisler, vol. 1; Grudem; Lewis & Demarest. Click here for the “systematic theology” listings at Amazon.
Used books available at Amazon: Buswell, and others.
Online sources at the Christian Ethereal Library:
Note: This post is dynamic and subject to revision.