Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
J. N. D. Kelly was principal of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, from 1951 to 1979. One of the foremost patristic scholars after World War II, he wrote and edited a number of works now considered classics: Early Christian Creeds (1950), Jerome (1975), Oxford Dictionary of the Popes (1986), and Golden Mouth: The Story of John Chrysostom (1995). Kelly was known for his capacity to synthesize huge qualities of primary material. He was remarkably objective in his writing, and his ways of categorizing early Christian thought have become standard.
In Early Christian Doctrines, Kelly arranges the first five centuries of Christian doctrines in loose chronological patterns. The chapters (in sequence) cover the following topics: four chapters on background (Judaism, Roman religion, philosophy, Gnosticism), followed by chapters on tradition, scripture (methods of exegesis), Trinity, Christology, human redemption, ideas of the Church, the Council of Nicaea, Homoousion (the word used by the Council of Nicaea to describe Christ’s divinity), the Fall and divine grace, soteriology, ecclesiology, Sacraments, and an epilogue (in which he addresses the virtue of hope, Mary, and the saints). Each chapter is footnoted, with a bibliography of primary and modern works at the end of every chapter. A bibliography was added to the 1975 edition.
Kelly describes the main lines of development of Christian doctrine, stressing that...
(The entire section is 1107 words.)
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