Franz Bibfeldt: The Most Important Theologian You’ve Never Heard Of

Franz Bibfeldt (1897- )

I love Franz Bibfeldt. I’m not talking eros or philios. I’m talking agape. That’s how much I love him.

Who is Franz Bibfeldt?, you ask. Only the most important theologian you’ve never heard of. Here, for example, is the story of Bibfeldt’s birth:

Franz Bibfeldt was born in the early morning hours of November 1, 1897, at Sage-Hast bei Groszenkneten, Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany, and was baptized later the same day.

His birth was one day premature, since he was conceived on February 2 after a Candlemas party. His father, Friedrich Bibfeldt, happened to be home that day and evening at a time when he was traveling to represent Friedrich Naumann during the latter’s efforts to establish the Nationalsoziale Verein. This meant that his father was a Protestant Christian, a liberal, a Democrat, and a non-Marxian socialist — certainly the proper background for the future theologian.

The baptism was performed on the birthdate, November 1, because that was All Saints’ Day, dedicated to ‘‘all the apostles, martyrs, confessors and all the just and perfect who are at rest.’’ Franz’s parents did not want to offend any of the saints, hence their effort to please all of them by choosing this date for their son’s christening. This willingness to please everybody was a personality trait the parents passed on to their son, and it served him well in his chosen calling.

Although 117 years old this week, you will be pleased to know that Bibfeldt is on Twitter. And, I am thrilled to announce that the festschrift to him has been updated and republished: The Unrelieved Paradox: Studies in the Theology of Franz Bibfeldt, 18th (or Perhaps 19th) Anniversary Revised Edition.

I kid you not: If you’ve got a theologian in your life, you MUST give this book as a Christmas gift.

  • Dallas

    Franz is one of my heroes. Glad to see there’s a new edition.

  • Craig

    I was wondering what theologians do when they’re not blogging. :)

  • https://twitter.com/franzbibfeldt Franz Bibfeldt

    You have no idea how happy this makes me!

    I love you too, brother, thoroughly and agapically.

    Perhaps even cataphatically and apophatically. Perhaps.

  • Milos

    Too bad Comrade Bibfeldt is only an imaginary construct. I’m sure he feels quite real in your sadly depraved worldview, Comrade Jones.

    • https://twitter.com/franzbibfeldt Franz Bibfeldt

      Milos, he is fully aware of who I am. And I prefer authentically fictive. But, I am curious, do you get equally animated over other inanimate objects? Say, Peeta vs. Gale… or The Twilight Series? There are fan boards I could direct you to if you need to vent, good sir.

      Here, we let levity lighten our day and simply enjoy the absurd.

      “So far from it being irreverent to use silly metaphors on serious questions, it is one’s duty to use silly metaphors on serious questions. It is the test of one’s seriousness…. It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.” – G.K. Chesterton

      • Chris

        Fran’s, Tony does not like cheesy quotes from Chesterton.

        • Chris

          Sorry, I meant Franz

  • http://http://winter60.blogspot.com/ Lausten North

    Thanks Tony. Sorry I forgot to send a card Franz.

  • Lee P.

    Sifting through some of Franz’s work this morning after reading this post. I can’t get enough! Fascinating.

  • http://scottpaeth.typepad.com Scott Paeth

    My favorite work by Bibfeldt was his analysis on the role church groups play in the development of left wing political positions. It was called “The Denominational Sources of Socialism.”


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