The Spirit of Early Christian Thought
Seeking the Face of God
Robert Louis Wilken
Narrated by Walter Dixon
Approximately 10 hours
Available as an MP3 CD in a sturdy vinyl case.
$32.00 for MP3 CD edition.
Book published by Yale University Press
Written by a preeminent religious historian, this book provides an introduction to early Christian thought. Focusing on major figures such as St. Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa, as well as a host of less well known thinkers, Robert Wilken chronicles the emergence of a specifically Christian intellectual tradition.
In chapters on topics including early Christian worship, Christian poetry and the spiritual life, the Trinity, Christ, the Bible, and icons, Wilken shows that the energy and vitality of early Christianity arose from within the life of the Church. While early Christian thinkers drew on the philosophical and rhetorical traditions of the ancient world, it was the versatile vocabulary of the Bible that loosened their tongues and minds and allowed them to construct the world anew, intellectually and spiritually. These thinkers were not seeking to invent a world of ideas, Wilken shows, but rather to win the hearts of men and women and to change their lives.
Early Christian thinkers set in place a foundation that has endured. Their writings are an irreplaceable inheritance, and Wilken shows that they can still be heard as living voices within contemporary culture.
Robert Louis Wilken is William R. Kenan Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia. His previous books include The Christians as the Romans Saw Them and The Land Called Holy: Palestine in Christian History and Thought, both available in paperback from Yale University Press.
“[A] magnificently learned, deeply felt and surprisingly pellucid set of essays. Anyone who approaches The Spirit of Early Christian Thought with a welcoming spirit and patient attention will learn from it. Certainly, an attentive reader of Wilken, whether believer or nonbeliever, will be touched anew by his survey of Christian intellectual life.”
—Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World
“The Spirit of Early Christian Thought is a delight to read. It is written as history ought to be, especially for nonspecialist readers.”
—Richard A. Kauffman, Christian Century
“A stunning achievement aimed at the general reader.... Rich in learning and insight. It is one of the best and most meaningful Christian books this reviewer has ever read.”
—W. L. Prehn, The Living Church
“An elegant and learned survey of patristic spirituality, written by a distinguished American scholar.... This is a lovely book, and much to be commended. It will be appreciated by scholars for its subtlety and sensitivity of judgement, but could be easily read by anyone wanting an insight into early Christianity, into the faithfulness and integrity of those who have gone before us.”
—Dr. Peter Forster, Church Times
“Prof. Wilkenís book is much more than a history of the early church and its thought.... The themes are obviously the fruit of Prof. Wilkenís long and insightful study of the early church.... Prof. Wilkenís thematic approach has the advantage of giving the reader a comprehensive and sympathetic portrait of the early church, and it is a compelling one.... The book represents a real contribution. The birdís eye view attends to the full dimensions of the life of the early church and captures its spirit in a sympathetic and persuasive way.... [Prof. Wilken] has enabled us to see the early church in a vivid and exciting way.”
—Rowan A. Greer, Modern Theology
“A sensitive, essayistic overview of how pre-medieval Christians engaged in the life of the mind, and the role that intellect played in their work and worship.... This excellent book is a window into a very rich intellectual world.”
—Michael Potemra, National Review
“It captures perfectly for the general reader, in non-technical terms and relying on the words of the fathers themselves, the all pervasive theme that thinking is an essential component of believing,and that Christianity always has been a religion that is moral, intellectual, and liturgical.”
—Casimir Bernas, Religious Studies Review
“A thoroughly persuasive case.... Accurately and convincingly argues that the early Churchís approach to its most characteristic issues is historical, biblical, and incarnate, not just timeless, philosophical, and spiritual.... An effective, dependable, even inspiring introduction to early Christian theology.... Masterfully and attractively presented.”
—Joseph G. Mueller, Theological Studies
“An interpretation of early Christian thought for the general reader.... A good general introduction to the writings of Christian antiquity, this is appropriate for both public and academic collections.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. Founded on the Cross of Christ
2. An Awesome and Unbloody Sacrifice
3. The Face of God for Now
4. Seek His Face Always
5. Not My Will But Thine
6. The End Given in the Beginning
7.The Reasonableness of Faith
8. Happy the People Whose God Is the Lord
9. The Glorious Deeds of Christ
10. Making This Thing Other
11. Likeness to God
12. The Knowledge of Sensuous Intelligence