Skip to content

<< All News

Open and Relational Theologians Among Most Influential in Recent Decades

The Center for Process Studies is excited to share below the recent press release from the Center for Open and Relational Theology which reveals the increasing influence of open, relational, and process theologians in the last decade.


Study Shows Open and Relational Theologians Among Most Influential in Recent Decades

August 2021 – A new study by Academic Influence reveals that open and relational thinkers are among the most influential scholars in theology over the last thirty years.

Open and relational thinkers ranking in the top ten are Thomas Jay Oord (#5), Rosemary Radford Ruether (#6), John B. Cobb, Jr. (#8), David Ray Griffin (#9), and James Cone (#10).

The ranking is based on a computational process that consults open-source data on the internet. The databases consulted contain billions of data points. The Influence Ranking program aggregates scholarly and academic citations, evaluates information databases, and searches periodicals, journals, and global media outlets. Results are not a popularity measure but come from records of achievement, frequency of citation, institutional sources, and more.

“Institutions are increasingly recognizing the power of the internet for theological education and information dissemination,” says Robert Duncan, President of Northwind Theological Seminary. “This ranking of influential theologians shows how various digital sources advance academic theology in multi-faceted and far-reaching ways.”

Other open and relational theologians in the top fifty are Keith Ward (#29), Walter Brueggemann (#32), Jurgen Moltmann (#35), Clark Pinnock (#44), William Hasker (#45), Charles Hartshorne (#52), Ian Barbour (#58), Marjorie Suchocki (#92).

“Open and relational thinkers come in many stripes,” says Tripp Fuller of Edinburgh Divinity School and host of Homebrewed Christianity, one of the longest-running and most influential theology podcasts. “As this study shows, their influence only continues to grow. This way of thinking makes sense not only to scholars but to the person on the street.” 

Open and relational theology is a broad umbrella under which rests a variety of ideas and people. The shared ideas include 1) the notion that the future is open and neither pre-decided nor foreknown by God and 2) God and creation are relational, in the sense of mutually influencing. Open and relational thinkers also often emphasize the priority of love, freedom, and the possibility of transformation.

Click to see the full theology ranking and the justification of the Academic Influence study methodology.

For more information, contact:
Phone: 208-284-2730 Learn More