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

Franz Bibfeldt: The Most Important Theologian You’ve Never Heard Of November 2, 2012

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.

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