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Al Baker's Research Background

R.A. Baker
Ph.D. Ecclesiastical History
University of St Andrews
Summary of my research

I have great passion for church history in general, and the first three centuries in particular. There is a real lack of knowledge and understanding of early church history, especially among Protestants. We should realize that the early church was not perfect, though they were closer to the apostolic age. To understand how the fathers faced the issues of their day should instruct us, at the very least to give us perspective, and help us know which issues are truly important.

My primary focus was on second century Egyptian Christianity as evidenced through the writings of Clement of Alexandria - specifically, the spirituality contained in his third major work, Stromateis (or Miscellanies). Clement led the famous philosophical/theological school in Alexandria, Egypt. He authored several works, all probably written between 190-202 AD.

More Recently:
I have been doing research on Constantine and his role in the development of the early church. Many CH101 visitors come to site looking for good historical information on Constantine. Unfortunately, there are many non-historical and blatantly false things being written/said about Constantine. These errors are then copied over and over on the internet. Some of my writing on the CH101 site has been dedicated to correcting errors which have been published in texts by scholars who have failed to check references. I am committed to reporting historical data accurately - that is what guides me.


At my desk after a round of golf

Bibliography: around 20% of my research revolved around Gnosticism, gnostic writings, and Clement's interaction with these concepts. Because philosophy was so important to Clement, especially Plato and Philo of Alexandria, another 20% of my research revolved around these two writers, what is now referred to as Middle Platonism, and Clement's interaction with them. Another 10% was in New Testament documents, NT Acts, the Pauline letters and the Alexandrian letters To the Hebrews and The Epistle of Barnabas. The remaining 50% focused specifically on Clement and his writings. My Ph.D. bibliography.

Published Work and Papers Presented at International Conferences
- "Spiritual Contemplation in Clement of Alexandria's Stromateis: The Adaptation of the Philosophical Category Theoria," (Ph.D. Thesis, University of St Andrews - March 2001)

- "The Secret Oral Tradition of Jesus Revealed in Clement of Alexandria's Stromateis," Prayer and Spirituality in the Early Church, Vol. 2, edited by Pauline Allen, Wendy Mayer, Lawrence Cross (Brisbane 1999), p.229-243.

- "The Clear Language of Prayer and Spirituality in Clement of Alexandria's Stromateis VII.7" (North American Patristics Society - Chicago, U.S.A. - May 2000).

Other Articles/Papers Include:
How the New Testament Canon was Formed
A Brief Introduction to Gnostic Texts
"Second Repentance" in the Early Church: The Influence of The Shepherd of Hermas
Wine in the Ancient World, Part I (Part II has not even been started...yet)
The Da Vinci Code: Fact, Fiction, or Faith?
"A Brief Introduction to The Sayings of the Desert Fathers"
- "The Theology of a Martyr: The Letters of St. Ignatius"
- "Early Christian Worship Represented in the Didache"
- "Origins of Christian Monasticism: Evidence for the Greek Classical Tradition"
- "St. Gregory of Nyssa: A Mystic?"
- "St. John of the Cross: The Positive Framework in his Darkness"
- "The Spirituality of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Letters from Prison and Life Together"
- "The Biblical Ethos of The Rule of Benedict"

You can find lectures and readings of other papers on our Podcast page:
- Lecture on Epistemology
- Three Part Paper on The Development of Christian Spirituality
- Lectures on Church History

Personal/Professional Experience
- Grew up in Huntsville, Alabama
- Attended Grissom High School
- Graduated from Dothan High School, Dothan, Alabama (1977)
- Discipleship Training School/School of Evangelism, Youth With A Mission, Argentina (1978)
- B.S. in Business Administration (Management/Marketing), Troy University, Troy, Alabama (1981)
- Founded and led "The Brother's House," a discipleship center located in Troy, Alabama (1981-1983)
- Chi Alpha Campus Ministry (Assemblies of God University Ministry, 1983-96)
   (Troy University, Western Washington University, and the University of Alabama)
- Chi Alpha District Rep, Alabama Assemblies of God (1989-1996)
- Homeric Greek, University of Alabama (1989-1990)
- Ordained, Alabama Assemblies of God (1995)
- New Testament Greek, University of St Andrews, Scotland (1997-1998)
- Ph.D. Ecclesiastical History, University of St Andrews, Scotland (2001)
- Assistant to Patrick Jones III, Attorney-at-Law, Dothan, Alabama (2001-2002)
- Marketing Manager with BluePhoenix Solutions, a global software company (2002-2007)
- Guest Lecturer, Saint Augustine's College, Raleigh, NC (2005-2006)
- Adjunct, Saint Augustine's College, Raleigh, NC (2006-2009)
- Asst. Prof./Department Chair - Philosophy/Religion, Saint Augustine's College (2010-2011)
- Six years on a summer mission to Ecuador with the Cary Church of God (leading a team to the University of Guayaquil)



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First Century Christian Church History
ist Century Church History
The conversion of the apostle Paul
Early Church History of Galatians
James Just brother of Jesus in the Bible
1st Century Christian Church Struggles
Christian History - conversion Apostle Paul
Palestine - Philo, Josephus, Strabo, Aristotle
Apollos NT Hebrews in Ancient Rome
Apollos NT Hebrews in the Bible
Wine in Bible Alcoholic?
James the Just and Jesus in the Bible
Hellenized Jews First Century Christianity
Hellenized Jews Gentile Christians
Hellenized Jews New Testament
Jews and the conversion of the apostle Paul
Conflict in the Early Christian Church
Palestine vs Israel Zola Levitt Dr. McCall
Palestine in the Bible and the Ancient World
Apollos NT Hebrews in the Bible
Apollos NT Hebrews - Ancient Roman World
Palestine Israel in Ancient Greece Rome
Alcoholic Wine - New Testament
James the Just Paul and Jesus in the NT
First Century Christian Church History Issues
How the New Testament was formed
How the NT Canon was formed or canonized
Questions about Wine in the Ancient World
Wine Alcohol in the Bible - New Testament
Early Church Catechesis - Catechetical Training
Questions regarding Christian Issues
Palestine - Israel Map Ancient World
Apollos Alexandria Hebrews in the Bible
Apollos Paul Corinthians - Bible
James the Just the brother of Jesus
First Century Christian Persecution
1st Century Persecution of Christians
Gnosticism in the 1st Century Early Church
Early Church History of Galations
Early Christianity War and Conflict
Early Christianity Constantine and War
Important Issues in Early Christianity
Palestine Israel in Greek Roman World
Apollos Alexandria Hebrews - Bible
Apollos Paul Corinthians NT