ISR News & Events

Ancient Christianities

March 27, 2024 all-day
Lewis-Birkhead Lecture Hall, Armstrong Browning Library

In its first three centuries, Christianity underwent critical developments and conflicts of various kinds. Non-Christians often contended against Christians, while Christian identity was fiercely contested among Christians themselves. What, then, can profitably be said about “ancient Christianity” in its formative years, before it gained a surer, legal footing in the Roman imperial world? Various ancient sources provide different insights and diverging answers to that question. This forum considers some of the complexities involved in these matters, foregrounding the recently published Cambridge History of Ancient Christianity (2023) edited by Bruce Longenecker (Department of Religion, Baylor) and David Wilhite (Truett Seminary, Baylor).


9:30am – 9:45am
Introduction, Philip Jenkins

9:45am – 10:40am
Reading the Cambridge History of Ancient Christianity
Philip Jenkins, Baylor University

10:45am – 11:50am
Bruce Longenecker, Baylor University

12:00pm – 1:15pm

1:15pm – 2:20pm
David Wilhite, Baylor University

2:20pm – 2:45pm

2:45pm – 4:00pm
Robin Jensen, University of. Notre Dame

4:00pm – 4:45pm
General Discussion: Where Next?

About the Speakers

Philip Jenkins directs the Program in Historical Studies in Religion at Baylor University. His latest book is A Storm of Images: Iconoclasm and Religious Reformation in the Byzantine World (Baylor University Press, 2023). 

Robin Jensen is the Patrick O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Her many publications include From Idols To Icons: The Rise Of The Devotional Image In Early Christianity (University of California Press, 2022) and The Cross: History, Art, and Controversy (Harvard University Press, 2017).

Bruce Longenecker holds the W.W. Melton Chair of Religion and is Professor of Christian Origins at Baylor University. He has written, co-written, or edited more than two dozen books, including In Stone and Story: Early Christianity in the Roman World (Baker 2020), and Greco-Roman Associations, Deities, and Early Christianity (Baylor University Press,2022).

David E. Wilhite is Professor of Historical Theology at Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary. His books include Tertullian the African (De Gruyter, 2007), The Gospel According to Heretics (Baker, 2014), and Ancient African Christianity (Routledge, 2017).