The woman detective novelist who was one of Karl Barth’s favorite theologians


The Christianity Today history blog has just posted a piece by me on the British mystery author and lay theologian  Dorothy L. Sayers. And yes, the great modern theologian Karl Barth not only enjoyed Sayers’s detective stories, but called her one of the “outstanding British theologians.” He himself translated three of her essays into German.

6 responses to “The woman detective novelist who was one of Karl Barth’s favorite theologians

  1. Dear Chris, Could you tell me please, which where the Three titles of Sayers which Karl Bart translated to German? I am a Scholar on Sayers and that infomation would be of great help.

    • Racking my brains. I ran across this in, I believe, one of the biographies. Said he had used Sayers as a sort of aid to learning English, but also considered her an “outstanding British theologian” and translated three essays into German. Sorry, I can’t seem to track more than that through my research notes.

  2. Pingback: “The most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man” at A Brick in the Valley

  3. Thanks again. I just ordered a couple of your suggestions. I have a sabbatical coming up next summer and I’ll put these on the sabbatical stack.

  4. Chris — where would you recommend that we start in reading Sayers?

    • Chris:

      For her lay theology, Letters To a Diminished Church or (more philosophical and extended) Mind of the Maker

      For her novels, The Nine Tailors or Strong Poison. The latter is the beginning of the Harriet Vane/Peter Wimsey series. The top of her novelistic craft

      For her translation, her Penguin edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy

      For her drama, find a used edition of a book or anthology that includes her Just Vengeance (her biographer and friend Barbara Reynolds told me she thinks this is still the most produce-able of Sayers’s Canterbury Festival plays), or Emperor Constantine, or Man Born To Be King

      ABOUT her theology, Laura Simmons’s Creed Without Chaos.

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