The Spirit of Early Christian Thought

I’m in the midst of reviewing some resources for a course I’m going to be offering on the Church Fathers in the winter and came across this quote from the introduction to Robert Wilken’s wonderful book The Spirit of Early Christian Thought that resonates with Robyn’s and Don’s comments on my previous post:

“The distinctive marks of early Christian thinking can be set down in a few sentences.  Christians reasoned from the history of Israel and Jesus Christ, from the experience of Christian worship, and from the Holy Scriptures (and earlier interpretations of the Scriptures), that is to say, from history, from ritual, and from text.  Christian thinking is anchored in the church’s life, sustained by such devotional practices as the daily recitation of the psalms, and nurtured by the liturgy, in particular, the regular celebration of the Eucharist.  Theory was not an end in itself, and concepts and abstractions were always put at the service of a deeper immersion in the res, the thing itself, the mystery of Christ and of the practice of the Christian life.  The goal was not only understanding but love . .”

– Robert Louis Wilken, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), xvii-xviii.

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