New Book! Retrieving History: Memory and Identity Formation in the Early Church

This week I want to highlight another publication from one of our own, Stefana Laing. I worked with Stefana for several years at Southwestern’s Houston campus and always enjoyed our conversations about the early Church.

Recently she published a new book entitled: Retrieving History: Memory and Identity Formation in the Early Church

This is the latest addition to the series Evangelical Ressourcement that appropriates the theological, exegetical, and spiritual life of early Christianity for the sake of the contemporary Church.

In her work, Stefana discusses the notions of historiography, or history writing, in the patristic period in order to explain how early Christians crafted their distinct theological and historical identities. She shows that, although ancient history writing was not without its problems, it does offer a healthy alternative to modern Evangelical tendencies to ignore history and privilege the modern over the ancient.

Despite modern tendencies toward individualism, contemporary Christians are never separated from the stories and experiences of those who have gone before them. Evangelical Christians, among others, would do well to recapture a strong sense of the history of the Christian faith.

For a quick summary of the book, here is an excerpt from the back cover:

Retrieving History introduces the early Christian ideas of history and history writing and shows their value for developing Christian communities of the patristic era. It examines the ways early Christians related and transmitted their history: apologetics, martyrdom accounts, sacred biography, and the genre of church history proper. Stefana Dan Laing shows that exploring the lives and writings of both men and women of the ancient church helps readers understand how Christian identity is rooted in the faithful work of preceding generations. Her book also offers a corrective to the individualistic and ahistorical tendencies within contemporary Christianity. It will appeal to professors and students in church history and patristics courses as well as pastors, worship leaders, and educated laypeople.

Click here for more information about the book or to order a copy from Baker!