The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God

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Yale University Press, Jan 1, 2003 - Religion - 368 pages
"[A] magnificently learned, deeply felt and surprisingly pellucid set of essays."--Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

"A delight to read. It is written as history ought to be, especially for nonspecialist readers."--Richard A. Kauffman, Christian Century

In this eloquent introduction to early Christian thought, eminent religious historian Robert Louis Wilken examines the tradition that such figures as St. Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, and others set in place. These early thinkers constructed a new intellectual and spiritual world, Wilken shows, and they can still be heard as living voices in the modern world.

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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User Review  - kant1066 - LibraryThing

Anyone who has ever tried to dip their toes into the waters of medieval theology can quickly be overwhelmed by its complexities and occasional rank obscurantism. Wilken, much to his credit, knows his ... Read full review

User Review  - T. Kevin Schrum - Christianbook.com

Good resource for those wanting an intro to Christian thought. At times a reader may need a Thesaurus but not enough to burden the understanding. Probably better for the slightly more advanced student ... Read full review

Contents

Founded on the Cross of Christ
1
An Awesome and Unbloody Sacrifice
25
The Face of God for Now
50
Seek His Face Always
80
Not My Will But Thine
110
The End Given in the Beginning
136
The Reasonableness of Faith
162
Happy the People Whose God Is the Lord
186
Making This Thing Other
237
Likeness to God
262
The Knowledge of Sensuous Intelligence
291
EPILOGUE
312
NOTES
323
SUGGESTIONS FOR READING
341
GENERAL INDEX
353
INDEX OF BIBLICAL CITATIONS
361

The Glorious Deeds of Christ
212

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About the author (2003)

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.

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