This issue of Ad Fontes takes us to the depths of Christian intellectual history, the heights of metaphysical contemplation, and the breadth of the Christian tradition. It is undeniably fitting, therefore, that this issue was birthed in an ordinary Midwestern house, in a 10×10 first-floor bedroom that once housed my brother-in-law but had been long-since repurposed as a storage unit for childrens’ toys–toys whose owners were delightfully producing such pandemonium that I could hardly follow my own arguments to Brad Littlejohn as I tried to sell him on relaunching Ad Fontes.
Whatever I said–or whatever Brad heard–worked, and Brad greenlit the project. Ad Fontes relaunched a year ago, and the Summer 2022 issue marks our fourth print issue and second symposium. Our first symposium, in Winter 2022, focused on the work of religion scholar Jason Josephson-Storm, who has recently concerned himself with moving through–not merely beyond–critical theory’s epistemological dead-ends. This issue’s symposium, centering on Johannes Zachhuber’s magnificent new book, The Rise of Christian Theology and the End of Ancient Metaphysics (Oxford University Press 2020), is similar in form but not in content: instead of treating a contemporary intellectual movement, it focuses our attention squarely in the patristic era; instead of engaging an intellectual movement with roots outside the Church, it is concerned exclusively with Christian philosophy. Indeed, as Zachhuber argues, it is possible to speak of Christian philosophy precisely because of the figures, movements, and patterns of thought his book describes.
The essays from our contributors relate Zachhuber’s book to issues of diverse relevance. Readers will learn a great deal about the birth and “biography” of the Church’s doctrinal development (Minich), the relation of Zachhuber’s book to the last century of patristic scholarship (Peterson), and to issues of contemporary relevance for British and American evangelicals (Laverty). Professor Zachhuber’s summary response then provides stimulating reflection on the nature and possibility of Christian philosophy.
Likewise, the reviews in this issue share the focus on philosophy and metaphysics, but in different contexts. Matthew Colvin reviews two books investigating the relationship between Scripture and Greek philosophy; Brad Littlejohn reviews a new book on the metaphysics of Peter Martyr Vermigli; and Nicholas C. DiDonato reviews a book putting Reformed and Eastern Orthodox doctrines of God into conversation. Our opening poem by Scott Cairns is likewise concerned with the philosophical, and is well complemented by poetry from Cameron Brooks and Pastor Wang Yi (translated by Eastern Pleb) bringing us back down to earth.
The quality of these essays, poems, and symposium contributions exceed anything I could have hoped for those couple years ago when I pitched the magazine relaunch to Brad Littlejohn. It should go without saying that I could have done none of this without the unwavering support of Brad. I am grateful to all of the contributors who have worked with us and made this journal possible. And I am grateful also to my colleagues Michael Riggins, Colin Redemer, and especially Rhys Laverty, who has been doing the lion’s share of the work behind the scenes for months now; it is only fitting, then, that he should succeed me as I step back from my role as Senior Editor to focus on other pursuits. I have every confidence in him (and look forward to still collaborating with him as an Editor-at-Large). Finally, I am grateful to my family–and especially my wife, Elaina–for supporting my endeavors and not begrudging the time that this magazine took from them.
There are, as ever, countless other people to name and thank–too many to name here. I trust you all know who you are. It has been one of the privileges of my career to edit this magazine, and I will miss it–though I am glad that I will now get to join you readers as a part of the community that has formed around it. Thank you for reading.
Soli Deo Gloria
Onsi Aaron Kamel
Outgoing Senior Editor