“What are you reading?”

It’s a question often heard within the walls of many learning institutions, yet the answer that follows is typically in regards to a textbook or a predetermined selection of pages for a class.

Today, we’d like to help you expand your reading list—whether you’re a student, life-long learner, or someone who enjoys settling down with a good, theological read.

But this is no ordinary list of “must-reads.” Through recommendations from faculty and staff, we’ve compiled a list of women theologians who are shaping and challenging discussions around womanist theology, race, feminism, and women and gender in scripture.

We hope you are able to explore and uncover the depth, wisdom, and insight these women theologians have to offer.

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite

Recommended by: Jennifer Fernandez, PhD, ABD

“She’s an activist! She’s a scholar! She’s a theologian! Basically she’s a triple threat. After serving two, five- year terms as president of Chicago Theological Seminary, Thistlethwaite has gone on to work as a public scholar and even returned to teaching. Her work focuses on women, violence, peace, and justice.”

For your reading list:
In Women’s Bodies as Battlefield: Christian Theology and the Global War on Women, Brooks-Thistlewaite analyzes the scaffolding in Western culture and Christianity that perpetuates widespread violence against women.

Elaine Padilla

Recommended by: Jennifer Fernandez, PhD, ABD

“Padilla is a Latinx theologian who constructively brings together current philosophical issues with Christian theology, Latin American religious thought, and mysticism. She explores issues such as borders and migration, race, and ecology in ways that bridge the philosophical with the spiritual.”

For your reading list:
In Divine Enjoyment: A Theology of Passion and Exuberance, Padilla explores what it means to focus on the possibility that God experiences our joys in deeply communal and relational ways.

Rita Nakashima Brock

Recommended by: Kj Swanson, PhD

“Born in Japan and raised in a US Military family, Nakashima Brock was the first Asian-American woman to earn a doctorate in theology (1988). She has been a foundational voice in numerous areas of theological and civic discourse, from feminist theology to the Truth Commission on Conscience in War (2010). Nakashima Brock’s theology is deeply relational while also engaging issues of systemic oppression and abuse, taking seriously the call of love towards justice.”

For your reading list:
Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury After War

Saving Paradise: Recovering Christianity’s Forgotten Love for This Earth

Journeys By Heart: A Christology of Erotic Power

Kathryn Tanner

Recommended by: Chelle Stearns, PhD

“Tanner’s work dives deep into the gift-giving nature of who God is as Father, Son, and Spirit. Ultimately, because God graciously gives us gifts, we become a gift to the world. Her non-competitive model of God and creation has shaped my theology in significant ways.”

For your reading list:
Christ the Key

Jesus, Humanity, and the Trinity

Dr. Phyllis Trible

Recommended by: J.P. Kang, PhD

“An esteemed pioneer in the text-based exploration of women and gender in scripture, Dr. Phyllis Trible is an internationally recognized biblical scholar and rhetorical critic. She is the Baldwin Professor Emerita of Sacred Literature at Union Theological Seminary in New York and a past president of the Society of Biblical Literature (National Women’s History Museum).”

For your reading list:
In Texts of Terror, she leads readers into encountering four biblical women (Hagar, Tamar, an unnamed concubine, and the daughter of Jephthah) and models the transformative power of careful and close readings.

Sarah Coakley

Recommended by: Chelle Stearns, PhD

“Her writing provokes me in so many ways, causing me to stop and rethink my assumptions. She is the primary reason that the category of desire has woven itself through my theological work.”

For your reading list:
God, Sexuality, and the Self

Delores Williams

Recommended by: Chelle Stearns, PhD

“She is considered the ‘founding foremother’ of Womanist theology and has encouraged a whole new generation of female theologians to arise and speak.”

For your reading list:
Sisters in the Wilderness

Rev. Katherine Sonderegger

Recommended by: Darren Sumner, PhD

“A rigorous and careful theologian, Prof. Sonderegger models for our guild a commitment to the enduring value of classical doctrine and a calm humility in going about the work of theology. She has a deep love for the tradition and a desire to take it seriously in an era when many pay little mind to matters such as Trinity, Christology, and the church as a locus of divine mission.”

For your reading list:
Systematic Theology: The Doctrine of God

Dr. Meredith Minister

Recommended by: Andrea Sielaff, MA

“She has a significant body of published work, including work on sexual violence, embodied theology, (dis)ability theologies, trauma, and trinitarian theology. She has also co-authored a textbook and reader on religious studies and she is the recipient of several grants for the teaching of religious studies.”

For your reading list:
Rape Culture on Campus

Cultural Approaches to Studying Religion

Trinitarian Theology and Power Relations: God Embodied

Frances Young

Recommended by: Chelle Stearns, PhD

“I love how she brings her life experience as a mother to bear upon her theology. Her Christological thinking has radically challenged and deepened my understanding of how God meets us in our suffering and our lingering traumas.”

For your reading list:
Arthur’s Call

God’s Presence


Stay tuned to the Intersections blog for next month’s list, Women of Color Theologians. Email submissions@theseattleschool.edu to make a recommendation!