D. H. Williams, Ph.D.

D. H. Williams, Ph.D.
Professor of Patristics and Historical Theology
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Professor of Patristics and Historical Theology

  • Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1991
    • Major Fields: Patristic Literature and Theology; History of 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

         He has published books with Oxford University Press, Eerdmans Publishing, Baker Academic and Notre Dame Press. His over three dozen peer-reviewed articles and essays appear in journals such as the Harvard Theological Review, Journal of Ecclesiastical HistoryJournal of Early Christian StudiesJournal of Theological StudiesChurch HistoryStudia PatristicaScottish Journal of TheologyInterpretationPro Ecclesia and contributions to books.  Of particular interest, Williams wrote an essay that immediately followed the book of Revelation in the New Living Study Bible (Tyndale Press, 2008) entitled “After the Apostles.”

         Williams has been active in teaching in China since 2006.  He has lectured at five major universities in mainland China, served as a plenary speaker at People’s University of China’s Summer Institute conferences, and has had several articles published in the Journal for the Study of Christian Culture.  In the summer 2009, he was Visiting Professor at the International Promotion of Chinese Language and Culture, at the People’s University in Beijing.  His book Retrieving the Tradition has been translated published in 2011 by China Social Sciences Press and reprinted in 2016.  He is presently co-director of the Center for Hellenism and Late Antiquity at Shandong University in Jinan.

         He is member of various national and international academic societies, a Fellow of the Institute for Studies in Religion, and an affiliated faculty member with the Department of Classics, Baylor University.

Academic Interests and Research

Patristics, Historical Theology, Christianity in the Roman Empire; contemporary Evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism; Tradition as an ecumenical language.

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.

Affiliated Faculty, Department of Classics, Baylor University, 2012-pres.

Development of Early Catholicism Seminar

Oxford International Conference on Patristic Studies

Ecclesiastical History Society

Groupe Suisse d'Études Patristiques

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,


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


Defending and Defining the Faith:  An Introduction to Early Christian Apologetic Literature (Oxford University Press, 2020).

The Church’s Bible:  The Gospel of Matthew Volume Editor and contributor (Eerdmans Publishing, 2017).

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).

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 Magi and the Star,” in The Oxford Handbook of Christmas, ed., T. Larsen (Oxford University Press, 2020).

“The Council of Ariminum (359) and the Rise of the Neo-Nicenes” in The Cambridge Companion to the Council of Nicaea, ed., Y. Kim (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

“The Tradition of Christian Persecution,” Pro Ecclesia (2019)

“The Career of the Lógos: A Brief Biography,” Philosophies 1.3 (2017), 209–219.

“Introduction,” Christian Theologies of Salvation (Forthcoming, New York University Press, 2017).

“John 21:  Peter, John and Jesus” (Cascade Books, 2016).

“Ambrose and Apologetics,” Studia Patristica (2016)

“Augustine’s Negotiation of The Liberal Arts,” The Journal for the Study of Christian Culture (2012) (in Chinese).

“The Gospel of Matthew in Service of the Early Fathers,” Pro Ecclesia 23 (2015), 81-98.

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).

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

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


“Ambrose’s Last Shot at Apologetics” North American Patristics Society, Chicago, 2016.

“Ambrose’s Use and Disuse of the Argument of Antiquity,” North American Patristic Society, Chicago, May 2016.

“The Concretization at Spiritual Ideals,” Ancient-Future Christianity, Pittsburgh, 2016.

Papers presented at the People’s University of China, Beijing, 2016: “The Career of the Logos: A Brief Survey,” “Augustine’s Reclamation of the Liberal Arts,” “Earliest Christian Burials in the Catacombs,” “Amnesia about Early Christianity in China”

“Ambrose of Milan and His Use of Apologetics,” International Conference on Patristic Studies, Oxford University, UK, August 2015.

“The Trinity in Origen’s De principiis,” Shandong University, Jinan, PRC, May-June 2015.

“The Career of the Logos:  A Brief Biography.”  Peoples’ University of China, Bejing, PRC June 2015.

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

"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.

Current project

Currently working on a comprehensive volume on early Christian apologetic writings (Oxford University Press, 2018).

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
View Dr. Williams' CV and Books