Robert Louis Wilken: Essays and Reviews

Last fall I was introduced to the work of Robert Louis Wilken when I read his book The Spirit of Early Christian Thought. He’s an excellent writer, and the book was the best introduction I’ve read to the Church Fathers. He’s a historian of early Christianity at the University of Virginia, and he also contributes pretty regularly to First Things, one of the few magazines I subscribe to. First Things makes all of their content available online a few months after it’s published, so a few days ago I ran a search for Wilken’s articles on their site. I was amazed not just by the amount of articles he has written for them but by how regularly he writes with a clear perspective on the very same things I’m interested in. So in a fit of whimsy I’m linking to all of them here and annotating a few for clarity or an extra-special plug.

The Language of Belief.

The Church’s Way of Speaking. Very good. This was also adapted as a chapter for The Spirit of Early Christian Thought.

Augustinian Justice.

The Church as Culture. This is the best essay I’ve read by Wilken.

Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition. A review of Jaroslav Pelikan’s companion volume to his three-volume set on the Creeds of the church.

Christian Figural Reading and the Fashioning of Identity.

The Crisis of Isalm: Holy War and Unholy Terror.

Keeping the Commandments.

Augustine of Hippo: A Biography. A review of the second edition of Peter Brown’s biography.

In Defense of Constantine. An excellent review essay that goes just a little of the distance toward showing how incredibly complicated the events were that surrounded Constantine’s embrace of Christianity and the consequent politics involving the relationship between Christianity and the empire (read today as church and state).

The Jews as the Christians Saw Them.

From the Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East.

Gregory VII and the Politics of the Spirit.

Thinking Biblically: Exegetical and Hermeneutical Studies. I haven’t read this yet, but it looks like a tasty morsel.

Cassian the Monk and John Cassian: The Conferences. A review of two books, one on John Cassian (and actually just given to me by a relative – thanks!) and the other a translation of John Cassian).

Jaroslav Pelikan: Doctor Ecclesiae.

Confessing Mysticism. You can also buy this article on Amazon for $9.95. It’s your choice. A review of John Peter Kenney’s book The Mysticism of St. Augustine: Rereading the Confessions, which, after reading this review, I will be reading sooner rather than later.

Catholic Scholars, Secular Schools.

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