Evolution Of Christianity At The University Of Virginia Essay

2630 Words Oct 31st, 2016 11 Pages
Robert Louis Wilken is the William R. Kenan Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia. He has written numerous works including The Christians as the Romans Saw Them and The Land Called Holy: Palestine in Christian History and Thought. In this particular work, Wilken set out to narrate the development of early Christian thought in the first centuries of the church with specific intentions to show how the Christian intellectual tradition came about, or as the author puts it, “how Christians thought about the things they believed (xiv).” At the outset, the author established a framework in which his work, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought, should be understood. He gave a few preliminary comments to this end. First, the early church and its thinkers were not primarily concerned with developing a systematic theology or hashing out the implications of ideas about God. Instead, its mission was to meet the nations with the Gospel and to change their lives. Second, Wilken saw three distinctions, or loci, of early Christian thought. He used the story of influential individuals in early Christendom to depict how Christians reasoned from the history of Israel and Jesus Christ, their experience in Christian worship, and from the Holy Scriptures. Above all, early Christian thinking developed in a crucible where theological progress was made when cultural circumstance necessitated it. Wilken’s first argument surrounded the topic of the legitimacy of the…

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