Theologian Trading Cards Giveaway

Theologian Trading Cards Giveaway December 13, 2012

Thanks to the generosity of Zondervan, I am able to hold a giveaway for not one, not two, not three, but four sets of the Theologian Trading Cards that I blogged about recently.

Along with three of the four sets of cards, Zondervan will include a signed card of one of the following (the fourth will be a “consolation prize” and will not include a signed card):


That’s N. T. Wright, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, and Kevin J. Vanhoozer.

It is interesting to look at the reviews on Amazon, where the reviewers mention being puzzled at which theologians were included and which were not. One person had never heard of Rosemary Radford Ruether (!) but thinks that Charles Ryrie ought to have a card.

But it isn’t necessary to choose, in the long term. I am delighted to say that there are plans for follow-up sets of trading cards, including ones that will branch out into New Testament scholars (and, I hope, eventually Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scholars). And so I thought it would be fun to encourage commenters here to say who else they would like to see cards for. Feel free to be serious or satirical or approach it any other way you see fit. (And feel free to make them part of your “Fantasy Team for Jesus Nerds” that Anthony Le Donne recently blogged about).

To encourage readers to be creative in suggesting which future cards they would want to see (including duplicates of current ones for different “seasons” in their work, perhaps?), I have decided that, while I will give away the three sets of trading cards with signed cards at random, I will give the fourth set to the person that I thought left the best comment.

So for the purpose of the main giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment here on the blog (sorry, comments left on a shared link on Facebook or somewhere else don’t count) with the name of the theologian whose signed card you would like most (feel free to mention two or three and rank them, in case it turns out that I can’t get you your first choice). But to maximize your chances of getting a set of cards even if not chosen at random, leave as many comments as you wish that suggest possible cards for other scholars, whether theologians in the narrow sense or scholars in other related fields. There is no penalty for two people proposing cards for the same theologian or scholar. What will matter to win the final set is what you write, whether it be your serious reason for wanting that person to have a card, or your frivolous and funny description of what you think should go on the card.

Is that clear? I hope so. Now, let the contest begin! I will let this run until Monday and will pick the winner after that.

Enter early, and enter often. And spread the word!

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  • Gary

    First, I’m not interested in getting the cards. They should go to someone that will use them. But I would like to see people like Lemaitre and Polkinghorne included in a category of science/religion. They may not be theologians, but anyone that becomes a priest or minister deserves some credit for the abuse they took/take. The ultimate cross-over.

  • Eluros Aabye

    Is there a Kierkegaard card? If I could have him travel through time and sign it, he’d be my pick.

  • To have a card signed by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza would mean the world to me! Her text “In Memory of Her” revolutionized my own interpretation of Scripture. As well, her notion of kyriarchy has helped my theological reflection.

  • davidevarts

    N.T. Wright would definetly be a keeper, but if the give away could include a signed John of Damascus, I’d be really happy. Didn’t archeologists recently come upon a signed (with a chisel) brass trading card. 😉 Anyways, sign me up a few times.

  • Kevin A. Wilson

    I would love to see a W. F. Albright card (when they branch out into biblical scholars). I have Albright’s rookie card from when he played for the Cleveland Indians, but I would like to supplement that with one from his academic days.

  • I would kill for the signed N.T. Wright card. Well, not kill, maybe just seriously maim. I would also be happy to own the signed Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza or even the Kevin Vanhoozer cards…or the unsigned set.

    Why do I need the cards? Well, they are theologian TRADING cards, and how else can I trade with all my friends if I don’t have my own set? Seriously, it is really awkward when I’m sitting around at the local dive bar on a Friday night with five or six of my closest friends, and they all pull out their theologian cards and start swapping their Arius for Arminius and their Nestorius for Kuyper and I’m stuck trying to draw a picture of Johannes Oecolampadius on a stained cocktail napkin. But my real dream is to one day find the coveted (and possibly apocryphal) James F. McGrath card. Till then, I will gladly settle for any of the other less valuable cards.

  • Charles Twombly

    First of all, I’d like to know what the clubs/teams are. Hope there’s a Cappadocian Cavemen team and an Alexandrian Alligators (crocodiles might be more appropriate) group. Dominicans could be slotted in the “Dumb Ox” category, while Augustinians could be called the Hippos. Tractarian Tracksters could go against the Wesleyan Worriers. Mascots are important: Matthew’s symbol is a man; Mark’s is a lion; Luke anticipated Aquinas with an ox; and John soars with an eagle. Name the teams, put them in divisions, have some draft rounds, and let the games begin.

  • davidevarts

    N.T. Wright

  • davidevarts

    Canterbury Monarchs

  • davidevarts

    Jolly Olde Anglicans

  • Charles Twombly

    Forgot to leave my “favs.” With Dave Evarts, I’d go for a John Damascene signature. Will skip St Antony since he couldn’t write (Athanasius had power of attorney for him). Coleridge gets a nod as do some of his followers, like FD Maurice and James Marsh. Would include Tom Torrance, but I have two treasured letters (written 25 years apart) with his signature, so we’ll let it go at that. Like several Greek/Russian folks like Alexis Khomiakov, Georges Florovsky and his nemesis Sergei Bulgakov, Vladimir Lossky, John Zizioulas, and Christos Yannaras. CARDinal Newman deserves mention, in part because of his name. Can’t resist a group of French theologians/philosophers/literary folks including (inter alia) Henri de Lubac, Charles Peguy, Georges Bernanos, Simone Weil, Jacques Ellul, and Jean-Luc Marion. If you’re French AND Orthodox (a la Olivier Clement), you deserve extra consideration. Hans Urs von Balthasar merits attention, partly because his name is fun to say when you’re introducing him to students.

  • Paul Bruggink

    1. N. T. Wright,
    2. Kevin J. Vanhoozer
    3. Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza

  • helenmarplehorvat

    Acts 19v 15

    15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Fiorenza I know, and Reuther I know; but who the flip is Charles Ryrie?”

    I win! Send me the cards.x

  • Shawn Coons

    With a name like VanHoozer, how could I not want his card?

    I’d like to see a Mr. Rogers card. Fred lived and taught some incredibly theology.

    If Gustavo Gutierrez isn’t in the current set he damn well should be. 🙂

  • René Girard

  • Charles Spurgeon

  • John Stott

  • Stanley Hauerwas

  • herbie miller

    NT Wright

  • Keith Reich

    Hey James,

    Being a Baptist and a NT Scholar, I would love to see some Baptist NT Scholars. A. T. Robertson, Charles Talbert, James McGrath, Beverly Gaventa. OK, Dr. Gaventa is not Baptist, but she did just take a position at my Alma Mater Baylor.

    For a signed card, Pelagius would be nice, but if you can’t get his, N.T. Wright is always a winner. Cheers!

  • Scott

    I would take any signed card, but I guess my top choice would be N.T. Wright because some people I know think he is a curse upon the church and others I know think he is infallible. : )

  • Paul Bruggink

    And I agree with Gary: there should be a science/religion category. It could include Denis Alexander, Edgar Andrews, Francisco Ayala, Ian Barbour, Stephen Barr, David Bartholomew, R. J. Berry, John Bimson, Henri Blocher, Philip Clayton, Francis Collins, C. John Collins, Robin Collins, Simon Conway Morris, George Coyne, Denis Edwards, Peter Enns, Darrel Falk, Karl Giberson, Owen Gingerich, W. Robert Godfrey, John Haught, Martinez Hewlett, Conrad Hyers, William G. Joseph, Denis Lamoureux, John Lennox, John Leslie, Tremper Longman III, Ernest Lucas, Alister McGrath, Ernan McMullin, Keith Miller, Kenneth Miller, George Murphy, Nancey Murphy, T. A. Noble, Arthur Peacocke, Ted Peters, John Polkinghorne, Bernard Ramm, Holmes Rolston III, Hugh Ross, Robert John Russell, John Sailhamer, Jeffrey Schloss, Christopher Southgate, William Stoeger, Thomas Tracy, John Walton, Keith Ward, Stephen Webb, Michael Welker, Wesley Weldman, Davis Young, and the professor who writes as RJS on the Jesus Creed blog.

  • Todd Lubiens

    Nick Tom Wright!

  • Boff and Guttierrez combined into one mega-theologian! Think of all the liberation!

  • Marcus

    I’d love to have a set and would be very happy with any of the three.

  • I’d love those things!! I’d like the N.T. Wright one as first choice, or Vanhoozer as second

  • Ohh I’d love the ESF signed card. She’s my go-to example for feminist theologians with extremely long names (along with RRR).

  • James

    I would enjoy the Fiorenza card.

  • James

    I would be interesting to have set of current non-western theologians.

  • Leigh Ann Hildebrand

    I’m amused to see my prof ESF right there on the display — I think I have her signature on a paper or something, but that card is still cool. But I am *hoping* there’s also a Judith Plaskow card, which I’d put in a hand with ESF, Triple-R, Naomi Goldenberg, Mary Daly, and Starhawk. *Is* there a Starhawk card? Because if there isn’t, there should be. 🙂

  • Craig Wright

    F. F. Bruce

    • I’m sure Craig Wright is a common name, but I have to ask … are you the playwright who wrote The Pavilion, Recent Tragic Events, and other excellent plays? I just ask because I’ve seen you post here before, and the playwright with your name has threads of religion running through his work.

      • Craig Wright

        Sorry to say I am not. I am a retired public school teacher in the Los Angeles area.

  • Qstuart Quaint

    I’d certainly love the signed N.T. Wright card; if I were to win it I promise to show him personally (maybe even get a picture with him)!

    As for a theologian I’d love to see? Without a doubt it has to be Jürgen Moltmann!

  • If it gets me brownie points, I once used the toilets opposite N. T. Wright’s St Andrews office (so presumably where he freshens up, too). If that doesn’t deserve a signed card, I don’t know what does.

  • Josiah Henderson


  • Josiah Henderson

    And a Fiorenza for my girlfriend.

  • Leigh Ann Hildebrand

    And what about representation of queer theologians? Marcella Althaus-Reid, Daniel Helminiak, John J. McNeill, Elizabeth Stuart…

  • Leigh Ann Hildebrand

    But I’ll be honest, I still love my medieval theologians. If I could have any signature at *all*, it would be a tossup between Anselm and the big man himself, Aquinas. *grin*

  • Leigh Ann Hildebrand

    PS: On an even more geeky note, my son has created a set of Magic:The Gathering cards called “Philosophers Gone Wild” which has stats and info allowing them to be played in that card trading game. Here they are: . Hmm, now I want to create card games for these trading cards, like forms of gin that involve “sets” of matching schools or lineages. 🙂

  • Being a first year theology student, I’m not that familiar with a lot of the theologians throughout history. However, being a 90s kid I humbly submit my adaptation of part of the Pokemon theme song as the unofficial theme song for this new trading card craze (all in the hopes of the coveted N.T. Wright card!)

    I wanna be the very best
    Like no one ever was
    To collect them is my real test
    To learn them is my cause

    I will study across the land
    Searching far and wide
    Each doctrine to understand
    The power that’s inside

    THEOLOGY! Gotta learn it all!
    Augustine, it’s you and me
    I know it’s my destiny
    Aquinas, oh, you’re my best friend
    In a faith we must defend
    Barth, a heart so true
    Our exegesis will pull us through!

    You teach me and I’ll teach you
    THEOLOGY! Gotta learn it all!

    • Kate

      I think I need a pack so Micah has someone to trade with!

  • davidevarts

    Wright or Wrong?

  • Jeremiah

    I’d enjoy the Fiorenza card, but the Wright one would be nice too.

  • davidevarts

    I genuflect before Micah Did-Dells poetic submission. However I still claim a pack, particularly the Wright one as it was my repost that alerted Micah. 😉

  • Jeremiah

    J. Louis Martyn

  • Jeremiah

    Ernst Kasemann

  • davidevarts

    I’m with Paul. We need an additional pack/ category with the scientist/ theologians and science related theolgians and it could go all the way back to Philo, Origin, Augustine and the Bible writers. 🙂

  • Jeremiah

    J. Christiaan Beker

  • davidevarts

    And yes, there must be a Kierkegaard card. I also vote for Nestorius, even if he was a bit of a grump. 😉

  • Jeremiah

    Adolf von Harnack

  • davidevarts

    Okay, I’d settle for Fiorenza, but just to prove that I’m not a masculinist knuckle dragger.

  • Jeremiah

    E.P. Sanders

  • Jeremiah

    Harry Gamble

  • Jeremiah

    John Knox (NT Scholar not Reformer)

  • Jeremiah

    Edgar J. Goodspeed

  • Jeremiah

    Kirsopp Lake

  • Jeremiah

    J.B. Lightfoot

  • Jeremiah

    Timothy Zahn

  • Arleen Barber

    Is Bishop John Shelby Spong on the cards? I was studying the Bible but always had a hard time with the OT. His book “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism” set me off on a long quest to study more! What a difference it makes when you begin to understand more and he writes in everyday language!

  • Jeremiah

    Bruce Metzger

  • Jeremiah

    Nils Dahl

  • Jeremiah


  • Jeremiah

    Albert Schweitzer

  • Jeremiah

    William Wrede

  • Jeremiah

    C.H. Dodd

  • Jeremiah

    Joachim Jeremias

  • Jeremiah

    Ernest Best

  • Jeremiah

    Henry J. Cadbury

  • Jeremiah

    Michael Goulder

  • Scott

    Hauerwas. David Bentley Hart. Thomas Oden. All guys that should get cards.

  • Andrew Hess

    N.T. Wright

  • George Mearns

    N T Wright

  • Drane

    C.F.D. Moule

  • Drane

    If Hauerwas gets so many votes (as, perhaps he should, his inspiration, John Howard Yoder, ought to get more.

  • Ric Schopke

    I don’t know who is included, but I especially enjoy N. T. Wright, Thomas Oden,
    Alister McGrath, and J. I. Packer.

  • Joseph K. McCall

    Thomas Oden (Historical Theology), and Clark Pinnock (Open Theism) are two who have had a great deal of influence on my though process.
    Perhaps Edmund Opitz who wrote from a Libertarian perspective.

  • Travis King

    I would definitely love the N.T. Wright card.

  • Diane McGiffen

    I’d like to see Tillich on a card, if he isn’t already. Reading I and Thou was a turning point for me. I would proudly display my set in my office and lovingly peruse them as a source to decide the next books in my reading list. I’d also like to see a set for secular humanists, but that might be too much to ask from Zondervan. 😉

  • I’d love an Arthur F. Holmes card.

  • Marcus Borg!

  • Agni Ashwin


  • Leigh Ann Hildebrand

    Mary E. Hunt. *nod* She just came up in a paper I’m working on.

    • Since I never heard from the third winner, I generated a new random number, 84, which corresponds to this comment. Congratulations! Please send me your mailing address and I’ll get Zondervan to send you the set of cards!

      If there is no point in them sending you an already-signed Elisabeth Schussler-Fiorenza card, let me know… 🙂

      • Leigh Ann Hildebrand

        I’m sorry I didn’t see your message! It’s been the holidays, so I haven’t been on the ‘net much. Is it too late? Have I missed the window? I see you posted about a limerick contest instead. 🙂

        If I still get to be the winner, I would *really* love it. If you want to give the ESF card away separately, you can — I can just ask for her to sign it. 🙂 Otherwise, I would still love to have it and the other cards. 🙂

      • Leigh Ann Hildebrand

        By the way, I sent you the address via Facebook, in response to your message there. Hopefully you got it. 🙂

        • I did, and the trading cards should be on their way. Hopefullly you will get them soon!

  • Leigh Ann Hildebrand

    So I think what I’m asking is, I’d like the non-signed set, and then I can get the ESF card (and other cards for my profs) signed myself. I bet I could get a good number over the remaining six months of school in the Boston area. 🙂

  • Jamie

    Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza

  • DuJour

    I’m surprised that no-one has mentioned Karl Barth. What does this mean? Discuss!

  • davidevarts

    Tielhard De Chardin

  • Chris

    Lesslie Newbiggen, J.C. Hoekendijk, and Lamin Sanneh. My missiology deck would trounce all the n00bs who go for the obvious textual critic/systematic theo decks.

  • Leo Tolstoy

  • Andy Warhol

  • Yoda

  • the_Siliconopolitan

    I can’t decide if I want Pervo on my fantasy team or not. How big are they supposed to be? How far can I get with Goulder, Goodacre and MacDonald?

  • Steve M

    I am thrilled by Norm Jeune’s project… a smashing success!

  • Kevin Fiske

    Please enter me for the giveaway! Order of preference:
    1.) NT Wright
    2.) Kevin Vanhoozer
    3.) Fiorenza

  • Kevin Fiske

    Not sure if he’s in the set, but I’d like to see G.K. Beale. Since Zondervan is expanding the set, he may be “in the set” in an “already-not-yet” sort of way…?!

  • Kevin Fiske

    Definitely would like to see an M. Lloyd-Jones in there!

  • John Hick

  • Richard Swinburne

  • Kevin Fiske

    I want to see a Lane G. Tipton card.

  • LLM

    I’d most like the NT Wright signed card. Thanks for giveaway!

  • LLM

    JI Packer. His book “Knowing God” was a life changer for me.

  • Rebecca Trotter

    I’m too poor and busy raising kids to get a proper education re theologians, so getting a set of these cards and pouring over them would be a good stand-in for me! ;p If I got the NT Wright card, I’d be like a rock star to my teen boys – we actually own a couple of his books.

  • Clement of Alexandria.

  • Early Karl Barth, the one who wrote Epistle to the Romans.

  • Early James Cone, the one who wrote A Black Theology of Liberation and Black Theology and Black Power

  • the Prophet Ezekiel.

  • I would love to have the Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza card, of the three, she has most influenced my work.

  • Joss Whedon.

  • Harriet Tubman.

  • Sojourner Truth.

  • If I were to win this contest, I would create my own CCG, dealing with the AAR, write the rules, and blog about it.

  • Gupta Nijay

    Hi James. I’d like the Wright card!

    I’d like to see a Harold Camping card.

    Also, it would be fun to have cards depicting US presidents quoting Scripture – especially where they get it wrong, or clearly are using it out of context.


  • Marcus

    Not sure who’s present, but if Balthasar isn’t he should be. Another would be Origen.

  • Just Sayin’

    I’m in.

    • Just Sayin’ again

      My theologian for this entry in the draw is St. Augustine. A signed card of him would do me nicely.

      They don’t have to be living theologians, or do they? Hope not!

  • Just Sayin’

    Oh, I see I’m supposed to name a theologian for a signed card. I’d like a signed card of St. Paul. I could retire to the Bahamas on that.

  • cameronhorsburgh

    Saint Paul, because I’d love to see what big letters he really did write with.

    I made the point in a paper once that he was one of the church’s most influential theologians. My lecturer marked me down for that. I still can’t see how I was wrong.

  • Just Sayin’

    Hmmm … you mention getting signed cards, so maybe it does have to be a living theologian. Let me think ….

    I don’t read many theologians, more philosophers and biblical studies people than theologians, so the choice is limited. N.T. Wright is passe, you’ll have lots of those already I’m sure. I’m tempted to say philosopher Alvin Plantinga, as I’m currently reading his first book, having read his latest one a few months ago. David Bentley Hart will be a popular choice too, so I’ll pass on him (never follow the mob!).

    Miroslav Volf — but you’ll probably have a lot of posts naming him too. I didn’t like his last one much anyway …

    I know… I’d like a signed card of British theologian/philosopher Keith Ward.

    Did it, made my choice!

  • Alan Streett

    Oscar Cullmann

  • Guest

    Now why does Micah’s excelent poem

    keep rising to the top ?

    and why can’t I find my one liners?
    Perhaps I should I stop.

    I’ll try a new tactic
    A rhyme less didactic.

    It’s not quite an epic I fear
    nor in verse is this comment quite clear

    So, perhaps I will SHOUT IT
    Should anyone DOUBT IT

    I want theologians for Christmas this year.


    • davidevarts

      Appearantly I also posted as “guest” 😉

  • davidevarts

    Now why does Micah’s excellent poem
    keep rising to the top ?

    and why can’t I find my one liners?
    Perhaps then, I should I stop.

    I’ll try a new tactic
    A rhyme less didactic.

    It’s not quite an epic I fear
    nor in verse is this comment quite clear

    So, perhaps I will SHOUT IT
    Should anyone DOUBT IT

    I want theologians for Christmas this year.


  • Scott

    How about a James F. McGrath card?

  • NT Wright

  • I’d want a Charlotte von Kirschbaum card to counteract the tiny-font-Church-Dogmatics-footnote attack.

  • Good grief, I’d like Shultz. (Peanuts – more light than heat)

    But I wasn’t thinking for a moment about modern persons whose light will dim as time recedes and reseeds the time to come with a new batch of low-wattage solar-powered lamps. I was thinking these cards would be of the fathers of the churches – Arius and Athanasius, Cyril and Dionysius, Aquinas and Anselm, Basil and the Gregories (sounds like a rock group) etc and the rabbinical students of the Tannaim, Ammoraim, and Gaonim and because these are so male, a corresponding female set, virgins, martyrs, confessors, and doctors, and because these are so western, some even more ancient Chinese and Indian sets. Modern theologs? Good grief – Oh well I will take the one for Sarah Coakley or Suzannah Ticciati.

  • Bobby Nemeth

    I would like the N. T. Wright card as many here would.

  • Just Sayin’

    Richard Bauckham; because he’s got poor eyesight just like me (however he’s a wee bit smarter!).

    [Yes, I know he’s biblical studies not theology.]

  • Just Sayin’

    My alternative choice is the much maligned Bart Ehrman, from whose books I’ve greatly benefited. [Another one who’s biblical studies.]

  • Just Sayin’

    Hey, I’ve just remembered — my wife once played four-hands piano with the august N. T. Wright. Surely that reflected glory qualifies me for a triple, nay, quadruple entry???

    Please say it’s so!

  • Just Sayin’

    I’m also partial to Jacques Ellul.

  • I’ve announced the winners here:

    Click through to find out if you won!

  • Winner “James” has still yet to provide an address to accept the prize. If I don’t hear from you by the end of the day, I think I will have to pick an alternate winner. And so by all means add additional comment/entries today in the mean time, you who have already entered, in case I need to do so! 🙂

  • Jonathan Dalton

    I have my Theology degree and love learning about it. I would like some of the trading cards that you are giving away. God Bless

    • You are posting this three months after the giveaway took place.