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D. H. Williams


Contact Information:
Department of Religion
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97284
Waco, TX 76798-7284

Office: Tidwell 603A

Phone: (254) 710-6449
FAX: (254) 710-3740


Professor of Religion in Patristics and Historical Theology


  • Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1991
    Major Fields: Patristic Literature and Theology; History Christianity
    Minor Fields: Religions of Late Antiquity; Sociology of Religion
  • M.A., University of Toronto, 1986
  • Th.M., Princeton Theological Seminary, 1985
  • M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1981
  • B. A., Northeastern College, 1978


Besides teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, Williams is a Mentor-Scholar with the Green Scholars' Initiative which is involved with the transcription and translation of two manuscripts from the Carolingian era.

He is also active in teaching Christian studies in China. Since 2006 he has lectured at various universities in mainland China, and has had several articles published in Chinese, and serves as academic consultant for a publishing press in Beijing that is producing major works of the early Fathers. In the summers of 2009 and 2012, he was Visiting Research Professor at the People's University of China (Renmin) in Beijing. His book Retrieving the Tradition has been translated for a Chinese press.

Williams is completing work on The Church's Bible: Commentary on Matthew as volume editor (Eerdmans Publishing), and a comprehensive survey of the early Christian apologies (Eerdmans/Cambridge Publishing).

Academic Interests and Research:

Patristics and Historical Theology

Professional Awards and Activities:

Fellow, Center for Religious Inquiry across the Disciplines, 2005-pres.

Mentor and Lecturer in Honors Program, Baylor University, Honors College,2003-pres.

American Society of Church History

Development of Early Catholicism Seminar

Catholic Theological Society of America

Ecclesiastical History Society

Groupe Suisse d'Études Patristiques

International Assoc. for Patristic Studies

North American Patristic Society – Member, Board of Directors 2002-05, Chairman of Publications Committee 2000-05

Grants and Fellowships:

University Research Grant, Baylor University, 2009.

University Research Leave, Baylor University, Fall 2006.

Institute for Studies in Religion Grant, Fall 2006.

University Research Grant, Baylor University (Summer-Fall, 2004).

University Teacher's Fellowship, The National Endowment for the Humanities (Fall, 2000).

Research Grant, Loyola University Endowment for the Humanities (Summer, 1997).

American Academy of Religion Research Grant (Spring, 1990).


Transformations in Biblical Literary Traditions: Incarnation, Narrative, and Ethics, co-editored. (Notre Dame Press, 2014).

Commentarium in Matthaeum by Hilary of Poitiers. Complete English translation and annotation. Fathers of the Church series vol. 125 (Catholic University of America Press, 2012).

The Great Tradition-A Great Labor: Studies in Ancient-Future Faith, co-editor and contributor (Cascade Books, 2011).

Tradition, Scripture and Interpretation: A Sourcebook of the Ancient Church (Baker Academic Books, 2006).

Evangelicals and Tradition: The Formative Influence of the Early Church (Baker Academic Books, 2005). Selection in Mars Hill Journal 76 (Sept/Oct. 2005)2006.

Retrieving the Tradition and Renewing Evangelicalism: A Primer for Suspicious Protestants (Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999). Selections in Mars Hill Audio Anthology, 2000.

Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Nicene Arian Conflicts (Oxford University Press, 1995).

Selected Research Articles:

"The Gospel of Matthew in Service of the Early Fathers," Pro Ecclesia(2014).

Migne's Achievement and the Modern Transmission of Ancient Manuscripts," in The Bible and the Arts, ed., Stephen Prickett (Edinburgh University Press, 2014).

"Italy and Environs," in Early Christianity in Contexts, ed. W. Tabbernee (Baker Academic, 2014).

"The Evolution of Pro-Nicene Theology in the Church of the East," From the Oxus River to the Chinese Shores: Studies on East Syriac Christianity in China and Central Asia, eds., Li Tang & D. W. Winkler, Orientalia-Patristica-Oecumenica Vol. 5 (2013).

"The Jewish and Christian Transposition of Greek Intellectual Culture," The Journal for the Study of Christian Culture (2012) (in Chinese).

"Italy and Environs," in Early Christianity in Contexts, ed. W. Tabbernee (Baker Academic, 2012).

"More Nicene than Nestorian: Ancient Theology in the Church of the East," Studia Patristica 52 (2012), 319-25.

"The Evolution of Pro-Nicene Theology in the Church of the East," in the Proceedings of the Third International Conference: Research on the Church of the East in China and Central Asia (Leuven: Peeters, 2011).

"A Catechetical Address on the Nicene Creed?" Harvard Theological Review (2010).

"Similis et Dissimilis: Gauging our Expectations of the Early Fathers," in Ancient Faith for the Church's Future, ed., J. Green (IVP Press, 2008).

"The Earliest ‘Mere Christianity': The Rule of Faith," Christian History and Biography 105 (2008).

"Living the Good Life according to Augustine," Christianity Today, September, 2007.

"Monarchianism and Photinus as the Persistent Heretical Face of the Fourth Century", Harvard Theological Review 99 (2006), 187-206.

"Justification by Faith: A Patristic Doctrine," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 56 (2006), 649-667.

"The Patristic Tradition as Canon", Perspectives in Religious Studies 32 (2005), 357-79.

"American Protestantism and Vocation in Higher Education", Christianity and the Soul of the University: Faith as a Foundation for Intellectual Community, eds., D. V. Henry and M. D. Beaty (Baker Academic, 2005), 163-79.

"Do You Know Whom You Worship? The Council of Nicaea and Its Bitter Aftermath," Christian History and Biography 85 (2005), 445-61.

"The Diffusive Disintegration of Catholicity", Pro Ecclesia 23 (2003), 389-93.

"Scripture, Tradition and the Church: Reformation and Post-Reformation" in The Free Church and the Early Church: Bridging the Historical and Theological Divide, ed., D. H. Williams (Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002), 101-26.

"Defining Orthodoxy in Hilary of Poitiers' Commentarium in Mattheaum", Journal of Early Christian Studies 9 (2001), 151-171.

"The Search for Sola Scriptura in the Early Church", Interpretation 52 (1998), 338-350.

"Constantine, Nicaea and the 'Fall' of the Church", in Christian Origins: Theology, Rhetoric and Community, eds., L. Ayres and G. Jones (London: Routledge Press, 1998), 117-136.*

"Another Exception to Later Fourth Century 'Arian' Typologies: The Case of Germinius of Sirmium", The Journal of Early Christian Studies 4 (1996), 335-357.

"Polemics and Politics in Ambrose of Milan's De fide", Journal of Theological Studies N.S. 46 (1995), 519-531.

Reprinted in Recent Studies in Early Christianity: A Collection of Scholarly Essays, ed., E. Ferguson (New York/London: Garland Publishing, 1999).

"The Anti Arian Campaigns of Hilary of Poitiers and the Liber Contra Auxentium", Church History 61 (1992), 7 22.

Encyclopedic Articles:

"Auxentius of Milan," The Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity (Brill, 2014).


"How Indigenous is the "Fall of the Church" Historiography to Evangelical Protestantism?" Conference on the Ancient-Future Church, Wheaton College, March 2014 (in prep).

"Augustine's Preservation of the Liberal Arts." Symposium on Augustine of Hippo, November 2013, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, PRC.

"Some Characteristics of Mar Babai's Christology in On the Union," Fourth International Conference, Research on the Church of the East in China-Central Asia, Univerität of Salzburg, June 2013.

"In Honour of Everett Ferguson: Early Church and the Free Church," Abilene Christian University, March 2013.

"Following a Different Trajectory: Christology in the Church of the East," Robert Wilken Colloquium, Invited speaker, Baylor University, March 2013.

Response to "Peter and Paul in the Second Century," Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Sept., 2012

Courses Taught at Baylor:

  • REL 5350 Apostolic Fathers
  • REL 5350 Early Latin Theologians
  • REL 5350 The Nicene-Arian Conflicts
  • REL 5350 Neo-Nicene Christianity
  • REL 5350 Orthodoxy and Heresy
  • REL 4350/CLA 4303 Development in the Thought of Augustine
  • REL 4352 History of Christianity I
  • REL 3353 Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity


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