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From Nicaea to Chalcedon, 2nd Edition

A Guide to the Literature and Its Background

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"This new edition significantly expands and enriches Young's book and brings us face to face with the best of current scholarship on the period, yet it still retains the balance, breadth of scope, and critical good sense that has always made it so valuable. An indispensable guide."--Brian E. Daley, SJ, University of Notre Dame

In this volume, a world-renowned scholar of early Christianity updates and expands her classic survey of the writers and writings of the golden age of Greek patristic theology. This reliable guide to Christian literature from the late third century to the mid fifth century is more accessible than specialized works on individual authors but more informative than coverage provided by general histories and reference works. The second edition has been revised throughout for use by a new generation of students and scholars and includes a new chapter and updated bibliographies.
Preface to Second Edition
1. The Birth of Church History and Its Sequel
I. Eusebius of Caesarea
II. Eusebius' Successors
2. Athanasius and the Shaping of Nicene Theology
I. Arius
II. Athanasius: The Legend and the Critique
III. The Fundamentals of Athanasius' Theology: Contra Gentes-De Incarnatione
IV. Marcellus: Ally or Embarrassment?
V. Orations against the Arians
VI. Self-Justification, Retrospective History, and Shifting Theological Alliances
VII. Other Works
3. Heroes of the Faith: the Literature of the Desert
I. Athanasius and the Life of Antony
II. The Histories: the Lausiac History and the Historia Monachorum
III. The Apophthegmata Patrum
IV. Didymus the Blind
V. Evagrius Ponticus
VI. The "Macarian" Homilies
VII. Theodoret's Historia Religiosa
4. The Cappadocians
I. Biographical
II. Withdrawal and Involvement
III. Christianity and Contemporary Culture
IV. Basil and the Ascetic Movement
V. The Dogmatic Debates
VI. Gregory the Theologian
VII. Gregory of Nyssa and Neoplatonic Mysticism
VIII. Preachers and Teachers of the Church
5. The Temper of the Times: Some Contrasting Characters of the Late Fourth Century
I. Ephrem the Syrian
II. Cyril of Jerusalem
III. Epiphanius of Salamis
IV. John Chrysostom
V. Nemesius of Emesa
VI. Synesius of Cyrene
6. The Literature of Christological Controversy
I. Introduction: Eustathius
II. Apollinarius and Diodore
III. Theodore of Mopsuestia
IV. Polemical Correspondence and a Pamphlet War
V. Nestorius
VI. Cyril of Alexandria
VII. Theodoret of Cyrrhus


"Since its first appearance in 1983, From Nicaea to Chalcedon has been the best available introduction in English--for readers serious about patristic theology and early church history--to the crucially important personalities and theological works that dominated fourth- and fifth-century debate about Jesus' relationship to God and to us all. This new edition significantly expands and enriches that book and brings us face to face with the best of current scholarship on the period, yet it still retains the balance, breadth of scope, and critical good sense that has always made it so valuable. It is an indispensable guide for anyone wanting to get a clear view of the early development of classical Christian doctrine."--Brian E. Daley, SJ, Catherine F. Husking Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

"The original edition of Frances Young's From Nicaea to Chalcedon established itself immediately as the best introduction to the Greek patristic tradition in the golden age of the first four councils. It approached the fathers through their writings, and with conciseness and clarity it enabled students to read them with intelligence and understanding. This new edition surpasses the old, not only bringing it up to date after a quarter of a century of unprecedented scholarly activity, demonstrating an easy command of the shoal of new literature, but also introducing students to new approaches, some of which Prof. Young herself has pioneered. A new feature is a whole chapter devoted to ascetic writings, the 'literature of the desert.' This is an indispensable work, revealing new insights on every page."--Andrew Louth, professor of patristic and Byzantine studies, Durham University

"From Nicaea to Chalcedon has been a standard in the field for twenty-five years. In clear, elegant prose and with close attention to the original texts, this book opens a window for students into not only Young's own views of the figures she covers but also a wide range of relevant scholarly debates and controversies. This thorough updating constitutes a deep revision of the original, not just the addition of new bibliography. We are anew in Prof. Young's debt!"--Lewis Ayres, Bede Professor of Catholic Theology, Durham University

"The original edition of From Nicaea to Chalcedon was a standard work on the most illuminating Greek writers of the fourth and early fifth centuries. This new edition deserves to assume that status also. Since so much of this period has been reconstructed and rewritten over the last thirty years, a patrological-style handbook as produced here is most welcome."--D. H. Williams, professor of religion in patristics and historical theology, Baylor University

The Authors

  1. Frances M. Young

    Frances M. Young

    Frances M. Young (PhD, University of Cambridge) is the retired Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham, England, and a Fellow of the British Academy. The lead editor of The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature and...

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  2. Andrew Teal

    Andrew Teal

    Andrew Teal (PhD, University of Birmingham) is tutor in church history at Ripon College Cuddesdon and chaplain of Pembroke College of the University of Oxford.

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"Written primarily for students in an accessible format but informed by judicious scholarship, the book is intended as a guided tour of the Greek patristic writings from the late-third century to the mid-fifth century CE. . . . The first edition of Young's book was a standard textbook for introducing students to patristic figures and writings, and the revised edition allows a classic text to remain authoritative, taking into account some of the advances in research since the first edition. It is a welcome guide."--Wesley A. Hill, Theological Book Review

"The first edition of this work . . . quickly became a fundamental resource on the golden age of Greek patristic theology. In this second edition, [Young and Teal] significantly expand and enrich readers' exposure to patristic events, crisscrossing the first four ecumenical councils. . . . This book bridges several different approaches: historical, biographical, and heresiological, giving them new perspectives. The second edition sports a new chapter devoted to 'the Literature of the Desert.' Assiduously prepared bibliographies, notes, and stimulating suggestions attest to the volume's academic integrity. At the same time, Young's writing style is enjoyable. One may safely predict a long and fruitful life for this handbook on patrology. . . . Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty."--J. W. McCant, Choice

"Given the importance of the early history of the church for the formulation of the doctrines of the Trinity and Christology, historians of the period will welcome eagerly the second edition of Frances M. Young's thorough and insightful study. . . . Young's acclaimed study . . . has been revised and updated in a way that will enhance its reputation as one of the most important and thorough studies of this vital period of the early church's history. . . . Young's second edition should prove an outstanding resource for the study of the history of doctrine during the period from Nicaea to Chalcedon. Students of this history will find in [t]his study a thorough review of the principal actors, the historical circumstances, and the doctrinal developments of the period, and all of it in conversation with the leading scholarship of past and more recent studies."--Cornelis P. Venema, Mid-American Journal of Theology

Praise for the first edition:

"This is a wonderfully coherent and comprehensive book. . . . What gives richness and substance to [Young's] portrayal is the thoroughness with which she places each of these figures solidly within the context of their own era: ecclesial and imperial politics are discussed in detail; the tension between Christian and classical culture and philosophy is illuminated; the development of liturgy and catechesis, of preaching and exegesis, of monastic movements and forms of spirituality--all of these are described with sympathy and accuracy. . . . Each of the chapters is written with a remarkable grasp of the primary sources (from which she quotes liberally and appropriately) in conjunction with an equally remarkable familiarity with the numerous points at issue in modern patristic scholarship. Her assiduously prepared bibliographies . . . attest to this familiarity and will elicit from the student of this period an exclamation of gratitude. In addition to all this, Young's style is light and facile, often humorous. . . . It is a book I expect to read often and to refer to even more often. There is to my knowledge no better treatment of the subject."--Donald F. Winslow, Anglican Theological Review

"The first 289 pages of text discuss the careers of nineteen theologians who played important roles in the Christological controversies of the fourth century. The remainder of the book consists of footnotes and two comprehensive bibliographies. . . . The footnotes and bibliographies make this book invaluable to patristic scholars and to all students of the history of Christian doctrine. Young's brief treatment of the nineteen protagonists is valuable because she incorporates much recent research and passes balanced judgments on many of the sources that she quotes. . . . The book is filled with stimulating suggestions."--Herbert T. Mayer, Currents

"With wisdom, erudition, and occasional irony, Dr. Frances Young's From Nicaea to Chalcedon surveys a broad field. . . . The book represents a substantial achievement and deserves to be on every reader's shelves. The different writers are treated with genuine sympathy; for she does not regard the ancient controversies as hairsplitting but rather as concerned with authentic religious issues. She is at home both with the texts and with the modern literature about them. . . . The book well brings the reader up to date with the debate. This is a rich and enjoyable book."--Henry Chadwick, Expository Times

"From Nicaea to Chalcedon is a series of five essays dealing with leading Greek theologians and churchmen of the period, describing enough of their lives and circumstances to give one an imaginative grasp of their thinking and writing as the work of men who really lived, felt, and cared. . . . The last chapter is a tour de force. Clearly and sympathetically, but with not a whiff of hagiography, sentimentality, or contempt, the various characters . . . are brought on to the stage, their concerns identified, and their arguments expounded. The reader is helped to understand why they variously thought that issues of faith were at stake, and why they cared so much as to argue and fight with such passion and, sometimes, ferocity. Here is a book to which students, who are trying for the first time to come to terms with issues of the christological controversy, can be directed with a reasonable hope that they will see not only that there was an argument, but that it was a real one, and that it still matters. All of this is based on a thorough knowledge, both wide and deep, of the relevant literature, ancient and modern, and it is expressed in good clear English. There are excellent notes, and two bibliographies. . . . This is a very good book."--Mark Santer, Theology

"Conceived as a 'companion' to already existing histories of doctrine, this volume is a reference work on leading figures, their writings, and critical studies of them. It is somewhat like a patrology, but it is written in a more expansive style, and the author occasionally warms to various topics or figures and launches into full-scale essays in historical theology. The value of such a volume is to direct our attention to individual thinkers, so that we will consider the entire career and corpus of writings of this or that figure who usually appears only as one of the dramatis personae of a doctrinal debate."--Eugene TeSelle, Church History

"This is a book that will surely have a long and honorable life. It is a highly competent survey of the most densely packed period doctrinally in the patristic church (and rivaled only by the sixteenth century in the whole of Christian history) and so an extremely useful student resource. . . . Dr. Young's approach--to examine certain theologians around whom she clusters 'problems and presuppositions'--and her straightforward style make the book eminently readable. . . . The author controls an extensive body of secondary literature and presents positions on controverted topics fairly and clearly. . . . The bibliographies appended to the book are a service in themselves."--Joanne McWilliam Dewart, Horizons

"[Young] draws on a massive body of research so as to broaden the reader's understanding of the culture, history, and crucial issues of early Christianity. . . . This is truly an impressive work. It exhibits meticulous scholarship and a wide ranging mastery of the literature, all presented in very readable, even elegant, prose. . . . This work will undoubtedly become a standard in the library of Christian thought. Young's approach takes the early controversies out of the heat of partisan strife and places them into the more reasonable realm of dispassionate conversation."--Carl A. Volz, Word & Word