A new center for the study of ancient Christianity was launched yesterday – The Center of Ancient Christian Studies. Independent from the North American Patristic Society, the Center serves as an opportunity for Evangelical scholars to present current work on issues dealing with the 2nd Temple, New Testament, and Patristics. The Center’s website (www.ancientchristianstudies.com) houses the Center’s blog, book reviews of books related to the Center’s focus, interviews, and the Center’s journal – Fides et Humilitas.
In an article titled “What is Ancient Christianity?”, Coleman Ford, Shawn Wilhite, and Michael A. G. Haykin explain why the Center’s focus is on ancient Christianity as opposed to Patristic studies. The term “Patristics” was first used in the nineteenth century to reference the study of early Christian fathers. However, as times have changed institutionally and socially, the term “Patristics” has changed as well, for it does not adequately reflect scholarly work that engages “Jewish literature, female contributors, and broader heterodox literature” (Ford, Wilhite, and Haykin, “What is Ancient Christianity?”, accessed December 3, 2014, http://www.ancientchristianstudies.com/what-is-ancient-christianity). To include the wide range of scholarly work in the area of ancient Christianity, the Center focuses on Christianity from AD 80-700.
The existence of this Center illustrates the burgeoning interest among Evangelicals in the study of Christianity in its formative years. It’s exciting to see what this Center has in store. Feel free to take a look at the site, and if you have an article, book review, or other work related to the Center’s focus, then visit the “Contribute” page here.