~On Early Christianity~

The Holy Spirit in the Early Church

My area of focus in the fields of New Testament and Early Christianity is the study of the development of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit (that is, pneumatology). The best introductions to my research are my two books:



In 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.

In How the Spirit Became God: The Mosaic of Early Christian Pneumatology, Kyle R. Hughes 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.

Book Reviews

Below are some of my reviews of books related to the study of the New Testament and Early Christianity:

D. H. Williams, Defending and Defining the Faith: An Introduction to Early Christian Apologetic Literature (Oxford, 2020). [from Review of Biblical Literature]

C. Wallace and N. Thornborrow, Stories of the Saints: Bold and Inspiring Tales of Adventure, Grace, and Courage (Workman, 2020).

C. L. Yu, Bonds and Boundaries among the Early Churches: Community Maintenance in the Letter of James and the Didache (Brepols, 2018). [from Review of Biblical Literature]

C. D. Allert, Early Christian Readings of Genesis One: Patristic Exegesis and Literal Interpretation (IVP, 2018). [from Review of Biblical Literature]

M. W. Bates, Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of King Jesus (Baker Academic, 2017).

J. D. Hicks, Trinity, Economy, and Scripture: Recovering Didymus the Blind (Eisenbrauns, 2015). [from Review of Biblical Literature]

J. R. McConnell, Jr., The topos of Divine Testimony in Luke-Acts (Pickwick, 2014). [from Review of Biblical Literature]

A. B. McGowan, Ancient Christian Worship: Early Church Practices in Social, Historical, and Theological Perspective (Baker Academic, 2014)

S. M. Hildebrand, Basil of Caesarea (Baker Academic, 2014)

C. Hays and C. Ansberry, eds, Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism (Baker Academic, 2013)

C. Rapp, Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity: The Nature of Christian Leadership in an Age of Transition (University of California, 2005)

H. Y. Gamble, Books and Readers in the Early Church (Yale, 1995)

Background Research

Below, you will find links to background research and analysis of some of the most important Church Fathers that I have worked with.

Justin Martyr

Justin Martyr: Critical Biography

Justin Martyr: Key Writings

Justin Martyr: Annotated Bibliography

Irenaeus of Lyons

Irenaeus of Lyons: Critical Biography

Irenaeus of Lyons: Key Writings

Irenaeus of Lyons: Annotated Bibliography

Tertullian of Carthage

Tertullian of Carthage: Critical Biography

Tertullian of Carthage: Key Writings

Tertullian of Carthage: Annotated Bibliography