question: does history count for theologians?

So recently I have run across a spate of stories about how bad tempered theologians can be. Of course, it's not fair to pick out a bad day or two, but there are plenty of lasting examples: Calvin and Wesley were tough for their spouses to live with. Barth, among others, had an affair. And lets not forget all the theologizing that goes into things like crusades and slavery. I have had a few disappointing experiences lately though, and it hit me that I would feel obliged to confront somebody in church who acted like some prominent theologians have. I'm speaking particularly though about how unapologetically nasty the rhetoric gets in debates and interactions. Theologians just come across as petty and arrogant sometimes, -and I'm in a blue state!

It got me thinking about how ironic it is that the people who spill so much ink explaining how we cannot separate Christ from history, kernel from husk,that God is one, can be such off-putting pricks. When a critique of character is raised people rush to defend with, "They're just human, too." -I get that, believe me, but what I wonder is how it should affect the way we read them? It can feel as though we are asked to separate the kernel of theology from the husk of their lives.

Is it dualistic to ignore or be ignorant of their personal character and relations? How they are in the world should influence how we evaluate their theologies, if their theologies are to be believed. So my question: At what point does the life of a theologian, their character and relationships reflect upon and even interpret their theology?
(Also known as do sexism and racism matter in theologians?)

I think this reflects upon theological language, too. more on that later.


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