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

Sat, May 28 at 4:00pm
University Club of Chicago
76 E Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60603
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John CavadiniUniversity of Notre Dame

Lewis AyresDurham University

Ellen ScullySeton Hall University

Bogdan BucurSt. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary

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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.

John Cavadini is Professor of Theology and the Director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame. He specializes in patristic and early medieval theology, the theology of St. Augustine, and the history of biblical exegesis. He has published extensively in these areas, as well as in the theology of miracles, the life and work of St. Gregory the Great, catechetical theology, and the theology of marriage.


Lewis Ayres is Professor of Catholic and Historical Theology at the University of Durham, UK. He previously taught at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He was also a Distinguished Fellow of the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (2014-2015). Among his books are Nicaea and Its Legacy (Oxford 2004/6) and Augustine and the Trinity (Cambridge 2010/14).  He is currently working on a book entitled As It Is Written: Ancient Literary Criticism, Hellenization and the Rise of Scripture 150-250 for Princeton University Press.


Ellen Scully is Associate Professor of Theology at Seton Hall University. She specializes in early Christianity with a research focus on Latin Patristics in the 3rd through 5th centuries, especially Hilary of Poitiers and Augustine. Her book, Physicalist Soteriology in Hilary of Poitiers (Brill, 2015) has paved the way to a larger project in which she seeks to categorize and clarify different early Christian soteriological models with a particular emphasis on defining the "physical" or "mystical" model of redemption through a study of its main proponents: Hilary of Poitiers, Marius Victorinus, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Cyril of Alexandria.


Bogdan Bucur is Associate Professor of Patristics at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, NY. Born in Romania, he studied at the faculty of Orthodox Theology in Bucharest (1994-1999). He left for the USA, where he earned his PhD (2007) in Religious Studies at Marquette University From 2007 to 2020, he was Assistant and then Associate Professor of Theology at Duquesne University, where he worked in the areas of Early Christian Studies and Reception History of the Bible. In 2010 he was ordained a priest in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese and served as the pastor of St Anthony Orthodox Church in Butler, PA (2010-2020). He is the author of Angelomorphic Pneumatology: Clement of Alexandria and Other Early Christian Witnesses (Brill, 2009), Scripture Re-Envisioned: Christophanic Exegesis and the Making of a Christian Bible (Brill 2019) and numerous articles.