Bibfeldt made his first appearance as the author of an invented footnote in a term paper of a Concordia Seminary student, Robert Howard Clausen. Clausen's classmate, Martin Marty, adopted the name for continued satire and Bibfeldt became a running joke for Martin and his friends. His birthdate and baptismal day was set as November 1, 1897. In 1951, Marty's review of Bibfeldt's The Relieved Paradox was published in the Concordia Seminarian. When the ruse was uncovered, Marty's fellowship to study overseas was revoked, and he instead enrolled in the University of Chicago, where he spent the rest of his academic career.
Since then most Bibfeldt writings and talks have come out of the University of Chicago, where a tradition exists of a Donnelley Stool of Bibfeldt Studies. Targets of Bibfeldt-related content include conservative theologians who maintain the historical consistency of their causes, neo-orthodoxes, those who pander to donors or cultural whims, compromisers lacking moral backbone, and American evangelicals. Bibfeldt's bibliography includes his doctoral thesis, "The Problem of the Year Zero"; his response to Søren Kierkegaard's Either/Or, titled Both/And, as well as the subsequent reconsideration Either/Or and/or Both/And; and his argument for the Mesopotamian origins of baseball, The Boys of Sumer. Most of the content was collected in The Unrelieved Paradox: Studies in the Theology of Franz Bibfeldt (ISBN 0-8028-0745-3) edited by Marty and Jerald C. Brauer, which includes a discussion of "Proofs of the Existence of Franz Bibfeldt."
- "Franz Bibfeldt: The Most Important Theologian You've Never Heard Of". Theoblogy. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Easton, John (February 1995). "The Unbearable Lightness of Being Bibfeldt". The University of Chicago Magazine.
- Teresi, Dick (March 28, 1999). "Is Franz Bibfeldt for Real? Yes and No". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Guide to the Franz Bibfeldt Papers 1951-1995 at the University of Chicago Library