Written by a religious historian, this is 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.
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"By turns scholarly, contemplative, and argumentative, this is an exposition in which the early Christian writers speak for themselves - and to us." -- Jaroslav Pelikan, author of The Christian TraditionAbout the Author:
Louis Wilken is William R. Kenan Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia. His previous books include The Land Called Holy (0 300 06083 1, pb. [pound]12.50) and The Christians as the Romans Saw Them (0 300 09839 1 pb. [pound]10.95), both published by Yale University Press.
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