On a leisurely walk by the river Ilisus, just outside the walls of the ancient city, Socrates responds to his persistent interlocutor, "You know, Phaedrus, writing shares a strange feature with painting. The offsprings of painting stand there as if they were alive, but if anyone asks them anything, they remain most solemnly silent. The same is true of written words" (Phaedrus 275d).
I was born and raised by the shadow of the Acropolis, a stone's throw away from the bank of the Ilisus river where Socrates took the young Phaedrus for that famous walk; and though the sounds and smells of the megalopolis have for generations replaced the bucolic descriptions of Plato, the ancient sentiments remain the same: writing and, even more, reading, is a tricky business! Especially as one engages sacred Scripture and the history and theology of the Church. This, most rewarding of endeavors, demands attention, perseverance, and a curious and open mind, to really engage the multifaceted vision of the Painter, the author of the beauty that confronts us.
My research and writing interests focus on this dynamic relationship between the written documents and their interpretation in early Christianity. I pay particular attention to the development of Christological and Trinitarian thought, as well as the interplay of classical Greco-Roman and early Christian philosophical understandings of anthropology and biblical hermeneutics. Whether I study history or theology, first I seek to study the subject within its own historical, theological, and socio-political context so that I may understand it on its own terms; only then do I attempt to interpret it diachronically and explore its impact on theology and the church today.
For the past ten years I have had the opportunity to teach seminary and doctoral students as they were preparing to engage the world and the Church. Together we were challenged to allow ourselves to become agents of change in a world in desperate need of God; to learn how to be, in Stanley Hauerwas' words, "a community of character." My wife, Irene, and I share this goal and vision with our local congregation where we serve in missions, the worship arts programs, and in adult and children’s education.
Northwestern University: Ph.D., Religious and Theological Studies 1997
Specialty Patristics and Classics
Garret-Evangelical Theological Seminary: M.T.S., Patristics 1994
Moody Graduate School: M.A.B.S., Biblical Studies 1993
Northeastern Illinois University: M.S., Biology 1993
University of Illinois at Chicago: B.S., Biology 1990
Areas of Expertise and Research Interests (17)
Professional Affiliations (6)
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS): Fellow
- Association Internationale des Études Patristiques (AIEP): Member
- North American Patristics Society (NAPS) : Member
- American Society of Church History (ASCH) : Member
- Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians (FEET) : Member
- American Academy of Religion (AAR) : Member
Media Appearances (4)
The Doctrine of Incarnation: Why It Matters
Theology for Life Podcast online
Featuring Lynn Cohick and Ed Stetzer, with guest Dr. George Kalantzis
What does ‘Incarnation’ mean and why is it important historically and today? Why is the doctrine of Incarnation so important for the Church? What are some misconceptions about the Incarnation? And is there a connection between our salvation and our understanding of the Incarnation?
Straddling traditions, new Riverwest church connects with city, history
Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel online
The plant is part of a decadeslong trend among some evangelicals to reconnect with the historical church, said George Kalantzis, associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Early Christian Studies at the evangelical Wheaton College in Illinois. Historically, evangelicals have eschewed the "smells and bells" of liturgical traditions, such as Catholicism and Anglicanism, for an emphasis on Scripture, topical sermons by the pastor and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They are often described as hopscotching from the first century to the current year and skipping over everything in between, said Larry Eskridge, associate director of Wheaton's Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals...
Why Don't We Find Bloodshed Repugnant Anymore?
Christianity Today online
Recently other authors have studied early Christians' opposition to bloodshed. And it is no longer possible to deny, as Schaeffer did, that a consistent pro-life ethic runs through early Christian writings. Ethicist Ron Sider's The Early Church on Killing provides comprehensive source material, while patristics scholar George Kalantzis' Caesar and the Lamb, though focused on the church's stance on the military, includes evidence that it opposed abortion...
Eager to Study the Early Church
Christianity Today online
When theologian George Kalantzis returned to the Wheaton College campus last fall after spending the summer in the Holy Land, he had a very pleasant surprise. While he was out of the country, two donors had approached the college administration about funding a program that would encourage interaction between Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism over their mutual legacy from the early church...
Presentations and Event Appearances (5)
Passibility, Tentability, and the Divine Οὑσία in the Debate Between Cyril and Nestorius
17th International Conference of Patristic Studies Oxford University, England
The Reception of Augustine in the Orthodox East
Zhejiang Workshop in Research on Augustine Hangzhou, China
There Will (Not) Be Blood: Early Christian Attitudes Towards War and Military Service
Dean's Lecture Series Emory University, Candler School of Theology
Evangelicals and the Early Church
Invited Presentation Emory University, Candler School of Theology
Mentoring Doctoral Students
Led the Dissertation Chair’s Workshop Andrews University, The School of Graduate Studies and Research
Academics and Published Research (5)
- Historical Theology: The Ancient & Medieval Church
- Christology and Trinity in the Early Church
- Christian Thought
- Theological Politics
- Gospel, Church, and Culture
- Color & Gender in the Early Church
- Christianity and Culture in the Early Church (C.E. 100-565)
- Reading through the Fathers (De Genesis)
- Origen's De Principiis
- Origen: Theology & Exegesis
- Augustine: City of God
- The First Christian Histories: Eusebius to Theodoret
- Anthropology & Hermeneutics in the Early Church
- Leland Ryken Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities, Wheaton College, 2009-2010
- Outstanding Service Certificate, Faith Passage Spiritual Leadership Development Academy, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (2004)
Fellowships & Professional Honors
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS)
- Faculty Fellow of the Humanitarian Disasters Institute (HDI)
- Association Internationale des Études Patristiques (AIEP)
- Series Editor, Ad Fontes: Early Christian Sources, Fortress Press
- Series Editor, The Annotated Patristics project, Fortress Press
- The development of early Christian (patristic) theology, especially the doctrines of the Trinity and Christology
- Alexandrian Theology and Hermeneutics (esp. Origen, Athanasius, Cyril of Alexandria)
- Antiochene Theology and Hermeneutics (esp. Theodore of Mopsuestia, Nestorius, Theodoret of Cyrus)
- The Cappadocian Fathers
- Augustinian theology
- Patristic exegesis and historiography
- The relationship between Christianity and classical culture and the emergence of Christendom
BOOKS UNDER CONTRACT (Submitted & in Preparation)
IN PRESS (scheduled to appear in 2017-2018)
Kalantzis, George and Matthew Levering, eds. On Christian Dying: Witnesses from the Christian Tradition. 2017.
Kalantzis, George and Matthew Levering, eds. Divine Simplicity. Special issue of Modern Theology, vol. no. 34 (October 2018).
Kalantzis, George, Christology in the Early Church. In Ad Fontes: Early Christian Sources, George Kalantzis, ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. (Scheduled for fall 2017).
Kalantzis, George and Amy Brown Hughes, “Early Christianity (100-500),” in Kelly, Kapic M. and Hans Madueme, eds., Reading Christian Theology in the Protestant Tradition (New York and London: T & T Clark/Continuum, 2017; 50,000 words).
The twelve chapters include:
1. Didache: The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,
2. Ignatius of Antioch: Letters,
3. Justin Martyr: Dialogue with Trypho,
4. Irenaeus of Lyons: Against Heresies,
5. Tertullian: Against Praxeas,
6. Origen: On First Principles,
7. Cyprian of Carthage: On the Unity of the Church,
8. Athanasius of Alexandria: On the Incarnation,
9. Gregory of Nazianzen: Five Theological Orations and 10. Gregory of Nyssa: To Ablabius, On Not Three Gods,
11. John Chrysostom: The Rich and the Poor,
12. Nestorius: Letters to Cyril and Cyril of Alexandria: On the Unity of Christ and Third Letter to Nestorius,
13. Augustine of Hippo: Confessions.
Three entries in Treier, Daniel J., and Walter A. Elwell, eds., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Revised edition. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, submitted July 2013):
“Antiochene Theology,” (~ 1000 words)
“Divine Energies,” (~ 500 words)
“Theodore of Mopsuestia” (~300 words)
Kalantzis, George. Crumbs From the Table: The Eucharist for the Life of the Church. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. (Under contract. Submission due 2018).
Kalantzis, George. With God on Our Side: The Transformation of Christian Attitudes to War and Military Service in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. (Submission due 2019; in progress).
Kalantzis, George. Of God and Men: Christian Attitudes to War and Military Service in the Middle Ages. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. (Submission due 2020).
Kalantzis, George, and L. Edward Phillips, Epitome Book VIII of the Constitutum Apostolorum: Text, Translation, Commentary. In Writings From the Greco-Roman World, SBL/Brill Academic Publishing.
Select Articles, Chapters, Reviews, and Other Publications (15)