NEW IN 2022!

Teaching for Spiritual Formation: A Patristic Approach to Christian Education in a Convulsed Age (Cascade, 2022)

“[Hughes] moves back and forth easily and convincingly between patristic theology and our current education environment, displaying a sound grasp both of the ancient writers drawn upon and also of the challenges and possibilities inherent in modern classrooms.”

—John Sullivan, Emeritus Professor of Theology, Liverpool Hope University, Irish Theological Quarterly

“If we are to sustain wisdom in teaching, we need more conversations like this, thoughtful conversations with the best of those who have taught before.”

—David I. Smith, Director of the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning and Professor of Education, Calvin University, from the foreword

Teaching for Spiritual Formation: A Patristic Approach to Christian Education in a Convulsed Age advances a fresh vision of Christian teaching and learning by drawing upon the riches of the Christian tradition, synthesizing the wisdom of the church fathers with contemporary efforts to cultivate a distinctively Christian approach to education. Of interest to a wide range of Christian educators, veteran classroom educator and scholar of early Christianity Kyle R. Hughes examines the writings of five significant church fathers whose writings have the potential to stimulate our ability to reimagine five different aspects of Christian education and to consider what kinds of habits and practices can help bring this new vision to life.

Topics explored include the vocation of teachers as spiritual directors, the characteristics of students as embodied learners, the role of curriculum in training in virtue, the relationship between pedagogy and formative practices, and strategies for lasting catechesis. Featured ancient texts include those written by Gregory the Great, John Chrysostom, Basil of Caesarea, Benedict of Nursia, and Cyril of Jerusalem. Teaching for Spiritual Formation was published by Cascade in January 2022 and features a foreword by one of the leading authorities on Christian education today, David I. Smith of Calvin University and the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning. For more information, see Cascade’s book page here, or order a copy from Amazon here.


How the Spirit Became God: The Mosaic of Early Christian Pneumatology (Cascade, 2020)

“No study is as up to date with early patristic readings of the Spirit in the Bible than Kyle R. Hughes’ new book, How the Spirit Became God. Quite the book!”

—Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary, Jesus Creed

“[Hughes] succeeds admirably, writing a work that both contributes to the ongoing academic discussion about early Christian Trinitarian theology, while also providing fine fare for interested nonprofessionals.”

—Michael Brummond, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Journal of Early Christian Studies

“The book is a pleasure to read. […] Hughes has made a valuable contribution to the ongoing exploration of this inexhaustible topic.”

—Janet Sidaway, Visiting Research Fellow, King’s College London, Journal of Theological Studies

“The strengths of this book are legion—from its succinctness to its clarity to its theological precision—but its greatest contribution is its avoidance of generalizing early pneumatological development. […] This book is recommended for anyone seeking to understand how and why Christians confess the Holy Spirit’s full divinity.”

—Brandon D. Smith, Assistant Professor of Theology and New Testament, Cedarville University, Southwestern Journal of Theology

“When did the ancient church recognize the full deity of the Holy Spirit? And what brought it to this conclusion? Hughes not only connects the dots through early patristic exegesis but also through the lived experience of the saints of old. The Triune God is seen, in the end, to be every bit as much the One we know as the One we trust, every bit as much the fount of our Credo as he in whom we find our life.”

—Daniel B. Wallace, Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, from the back cover

CASCADE_TemplateHow the Spirit Became God: The Mosaic of Early Christian Pneumatology tells the often-neglected story of how and why the early church came to recognize that the Holy Spirit was a distinct divine person. While the subject of Christ’s divinity is a popular topic in church and academy alike, the notion of the Spirit’s divinity remains a mysterious yet intriguing question for many Christians today. Focusing on major pneumatological innovations from Pentecost through the Council of Constantinople in 381, Hughes examines how biblical interpretation and the lived experience of the Spirit contributed to the development of this important, and yet often overlooked, aspect of trinitarian theology. This book not only explains, from a historical yet accessible perspective, the development of early Christian pneumatology but also challenges readers to apply these insights from the church fathers to engaging with the person of the Holy Spirit today.

Major writers and texts analyzed in the book include the Johannine literature, the Pauline corpus, the Epistle of Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Tertullian, Origen, Athanasius, Didymus the Blind, and Basil of Caesarea. How the Spirit Became God was published by Cascade in April 2020 and features a foreword by renowned New Testament scholar Matthew W. Bates. For more information, see Cascade’s book page here, or order a copy from Amazon here.


The Trinitarian Testimony of the Spirit: Prosopological Exegesis and the Development of Pre-Nicene Pneumatology (VCSup 147; Brill, 2018)

“Extraordinary…one of those rare breakthrough books that will reshape both historical and systematic theology. Read it.”

—Matthew W. Bates, Associate Professor of Theology, Quincy University, OnScript

untitledIn The Trinitarian Testimony of the Spirit, Kyle R. Hughes offers a new approach to the development of early Christian pneumatology by focusing on how Justin, Irenaeus, and Tertullian linked the Holy Spirit with testimony to the deity and lordship of the Father and the Son. Drawing extensively on recent studies of prosopological exegesis and divine testimony in the ancient world, Hughes demonstrates how these three pre-Nicene Christian writers utilized Scripture and the conventions of ancient rhetoric and exegesis to formulate a highly innovative approach to the Holy Spirit that would contribute to the identification of the Spirit as the third person of the Trinity.

See further Brill’s page on the book here.



The Rev. Dr. Kyle R. Hughes (PhD, Radboud University Nijmegen) is a scholar-pastor-teacher specializing in the study of early Christianity and working to mine the riches of patristic theology for the modern church and for Christian schools. He is the author of the books Teaching for Spiritual Formation, How the Spirit Became God, and The Trinitarian Testimony of the Spirit, as well as several peer-reviewed journal articles, book reviews, and dictionary entries. Kyle’s primary theological interests include the development of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, spiritual formation in the Anglican tradition, and Christian teaching and learning. Kyle, his wife Karisa, and their three children live in Powder Springs, Georgia, where he works as Lower School Principal at The Stonehaven School in Marietta. He is an ordained deacon in the Reformed Episcopal Church (Anglican Church in North America) and is the Director of Catechesis at Christ the King Anglican Church in Marietta. A frequent conference presenter, he also serves on the Board of Directors of the Robert E. Webber Center for an Ancient Evangelical Future at Trinity School for Ministry. Follow him on Twitter @KyleRHughes10.


All updates to this site are published on the “Blog” tab above; be sure to click the “Follow” button on any page to get updates delivered directly to your inbox. The tabs on Anglicanism, Christian teaching, and early Christianity will take you to pages where previous posts have been collected and where helpful links and information on these subjects have been made available. You can also peruse my published work on the publications tab above.

As for why this site is sub-titled “Early Christian Archives,” the name is taken from a famous passage in Ignatius of Antioch’s letter to the Philadelphians, where he recounts the following exchange with some opponents: “For I heard some people saying, ‘If I do not find it in the archives [τοῖς ἀρχειοῖς] I do not believe it in the gospel.’ And when I said to them, ‘It is written,’ they answered me, ‘That is the point at issue.’ But to me the archives [τὰ ἀρχεῖα] are Jesus Christ, the inviolable archives [τὰ ἀρχεῖα] are his cross and death and his resurrection and the faith that is through him” (Ign. Phil. 8.2). Most scholars understand the first reference to “the archives” to refer to the Hebrew (or Old Testament) Scriptures. As such, this passage provides a glimpse into early Christian attempts to make sense of the sacred texts of Judaism in light of the Christ event, and reflects this site’s interest in early Christian hermeneutics, and how the first Christians read, wrote, and interpreted Scriptural texts.