The Wheaton Center for Early Christian Studies officially opened a few days ago, on Oct. 29. The center, through which students can study early Christianity at an undergraduate, masters, or doctoral level (one doctoral-level student will be accepted per year), welcomed the distinguished Robert Louis Wilken of the University of Virginia to give its inaugural lecture.
Wilken is one of my favorite scholars, and I’m not alone: according to David Neff at Christianity Today’s history blog, the large majority of Wilken’s graduate students over the past ten years at UVA have been evangelicals. Wheaton has taken note, and the center, announced this spring, will accommodate many students of evangelical sympathies who would otherwise have had to do their study of the church fathers (“patristics”) at schools outside the evangelical orbit.
Even if you are not ready to rush out and enroll in an undergraduate or masters program on early Christian history, I strongly recommend Wilken’s book The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God. There’s no better book to get you inside the mind of the early Christian–and the prose is readable, even lyrical, to boot!