The Vocation of the Patristic Theologian: Inheriting the Voice of Early Christians

May 28, 2022
University Club of Chicago
76 E Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60603
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John CavadiniUniversity of Notre Dame

Lewis Ayres Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas - Angelicum, Rome

Ellen ScullySeton Hall University

Bogdan BucurSt. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary


This forum and reception, following the annual meeting of the North American Patristics Society, is co-sponsored by the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame.

This forum invites graduate students and scholars of patristics to reflect on the nature of the craft and its relationship to contemporary theological studies, the academy, and church today. A panel of scholars, featuring John Cavadini, Lewis Ayres, Ellen Scully, and Bogdan Bucur, will speak on the nature of the vocation of the Patristic theologian and the challenges and opportunities one faces in research, scholarship, and teaching. We will further attend to the question of how patristic theologians participate in a fuller reception of the depth and the breadth of the Christian intellectual tradition in an ecumenical key, as well as provide opportunities for common reflection among the participants on the work of making present the Christian past.

Lewis Ayres, a lay Catholic theologian, holds the McDonald Agape Distinguished Chair in Early Christian Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas - Angelicum, Rome. Previously, he served as the inaugural holder of the Bede Chair of Catholic Theology at Durham University in the United Kingdom. He has also served as a Distinguished Fellow of Notre Dame's Institute for Advanced Study. The core of his research has been Trinitarian theology in Augustine and in the Greek writers of the 4th century. Ayres's period of research into patristic pneumatology has resulted in a collaborative translation of patristic texts on the Holy Spirit, but as yet the much-anticipated monograph on the subject has not appeared. Besides Trinitarian theology in this pivotal period he is also interested in the later development of Trinitarian theology and in the place of Scripture in Early Christianity – both the history of Christian reading practices from the late 2nd century and the history of what can be termed the theology of Scripture itself. He is at present writing a monograph that will concern the shifts in Patristic exegesis between AD 150 and 250. It is provisionally entitled As It Is Written: Ancient Literary Criticism and the Rise of Scripture AD 100-250.