Reader’s Guide to Kathryn Tanner

This guide aims to help students and laypersons understand the thinking of Kathryn Tanner in an accessible way. The intended audience consists of those currently reading one of Tanner’s works such as an advanced undergraduate or graduate student in Theology, or one desiring to become acquainted with her work. The aim of this guide is to spread Kathryn Tanner’s ideas and to provide assistance for those wanting to understand her ideas. Ultimately, the hope is that readers will come away with both a better understanding and a greater appreciation for perhaps the most influential theologian of our day.

Below, you will find (arranged chronologically) links to overviews of each work in a single post as well as links to the various chapters in each of Tanner’s books that will provide a concise summary and brief analysis of that particular section. In addition, there is a section for her prominent journal articles and lectures further below. Note: this is a work in progress. Links will be added as their respective posts are completed.

An introduction to Tanner more generally – Theologian Spotlight: Kathryn Tanner


God and Creation in Christian Theology (1988) (Coming Soon)

  • Part 1 – Method in the Study of Theology
  • Part 2 – The Transcendence and Creative Agency of God
  • Part 3 – God and the Efficacy of Creatures
  • Part 4 – The Modern Breakdown of Theological Discourse

Politics of God (1992) (Coming Soon)

  • Part 1 – Beliefs, Actions, and Attitudes
  • Part 2 – Self-critical Cultures and Divine Transcendence
  • Part 3 – Sociopolitical Critique and Christian Belief
  • Part 4 – Christian Belief and the Justification of Hierarchy
  • Part 5 – Christian Belief and Respect for Others
  • Part 6 – Christian Belief and Respect for Difference
  • Part 7 – Christian Belief and Activism

Theories of Culture (1997) (Coming Soon)

  • Part 1 – The History of “Culture”
  • Part 2 – The Modern Meaning of Culture
  • Part 3 – Criticism and Reconstruction
  • Part 4 – The Nature and Tasks of Theology
  • Part 5 – Christian Culture and Society
  • Part 6 – Commonalities in Christian Practice
  • Part 7 – Diversity and Creativity in Theological Judgments

Jesus, Humanity, and the Trinity (2001)

Economy of Grace (2005) (Coming Soon)

  • Part 1 – An Economy of Grace?
  • Part 2 – Imagining Alternatives to the Present Economic System
  • Part 3 – Putting a Theological Economy to Work

Christ the Key (2010)

  • Part 1 – Human Nature
  • Part 2 – Grace I
  • Part 3 – Grace II
  • Part 4 – Trinitarian Life
  • Part 5 – Politics
  • Part 6 – Death and Sacrifice
  • Part 7 – The Working of the Spirit

Journal Articles:

  • “A Theological Case for Human Responsibility in Moral Choice,” in The Journal of Religion (1993).
  • “Respect for Other Religions: A Christian Antidote to Colonialist Discourse,” in Modern Theology (1993).
  • “Public Theology and the Character of Public Debate,” in The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics (1996).
  • “Scripture as Popular Text,” in Modern Theology (1998).
  • “Justification and Justice in a Theology of Grace,” in Theology Today (1999).
  • “The Religious Significance of Christian Engagement in the Culture Wars,” in Theology Today (2001).
  • “Incarnation, Cross, and Sacrifice: A Feminist-Inspired Reappraisal,” in Anglican Theological Review (2004).
  • “Is Capitalism A Belief System?” in Anglican Theological Review (2010).
  • “Shifts in Theology Over the Last Quarter Century,” in Modern Theology (2010).
  • Creation Ex Nihilo as Mixed Metaphor,” in Modern Theology (2013).


2016 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh – “Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism”

Secondary Literature on Kathryn Tanner:

  • The Gift of Theology: The Contribution of Kathryn Tanner (2015). This is a celebration of Tanner’s thought compiled by many of here former students. Contributors include Ian McFarland, Charles Mathewes, Paul DeHart, and Serene Jones.