arrow-orange arrow caret-dark-graycaret-orangefacebookinstagramlinkedinlogo-accentlogo-wordmarkplay-circlesearchsoundcloudtwitteryoutube

Events and Learning Cohorts

Loading Events

The Spirit of Early Christian Thought

May 1 @ 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM CDT

  • This event has passed.
“Greatness, depth, boldness, flexibility, certainty, and a flaming love”—that’s how one modern theologian describes the marks of early Christian thought.

Join us as we explore the emergence of the Christian intellectual tradition during the church’s first five centuries. We will read Robert Louis Wilken’s luminous book, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God (Yale UP, 2003), alongside selections from ancient writers on topics ranging from worship and the spiritual life to apologetics, the development of doctrine, and the creation of Christian poetry and art. Cohort leaders will provide a brief historical context for our common readings, which will form the basis for group discussions. Our aim is to introduce participants to the richness and relevance of early Christian thinking, which continues to shape all branches of the church today.

Cohort leaders

  • Eric Carlsson is Upper House Fellows Program Director and Teaching Associate in History at UW­–Madison
  • Susan Swanke is the Learning and Formation Program Assistant at Upper House

Meeting Dates & Expectations

We meet from 4:00 to 5:15 pm on the following Wednesdays during the spring semester: January 31, February 21, March 13, April 3, and May 1.

Participants are asked to commit to being present for at least four sessions and to read 60-80 pages per meeting from Wilken’s book and early Christian writers. The assignment for the first meeting will be sent in early January.

Book Purchase

Participants will need to purchase their own copy of Robert Louis Wilken’s book. Excerpts from ancient writers will be distributed as PDFs and in hard copy.



May 1
4:00 PM - 5:15 PM CDT
Event Categories:


Eric Carlsson


Upper House
365 East Campus Mall, Suite 200
Madison, WI 53715 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website