Thomas F. Torrance and the Church Fathers: A Reformed, Evangelical, and Ecumenical Reconstruction of the Patristic Tradition

By Jason Robert Radcliff

An analysis of Scottish theologian T.F. Torrance’s understanding of the teachings of the Church Fathers and how they intersect with the Reformed tradition.

ISBN: 9780227175309


In this examination of T.F. Torrance’s reading of the Church Fathers, Radcliff explores how Torrance reconstructs the patristic tradition, producing a Reformed, evangelical, and ecumenical version of the Consensus Patrum (“Consensus of The Fathers”). Thomas F. Torrance and the Church Fathers investigates how Torrance uniquely understands the Fathers and the Reformers to be mutually informing and how, as such, his approach involves significant changes to both standard readings of the Fathers and to Torrance’s own Reformed Evangelical tradition. Torrance’s approach is distinctive in its Christocentric rootedness in the primary theme of the Nicene homoousion (“of one essence [with the Father]”) and its champion, Athanasius of Alexandria. The book explores Torrance’s inherently broad ecclesiology and his constructive achievements, both of which contribute to his ongoing ecumenical relevance.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 248

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Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Jason Robert Radcliff (PhD, University of Edinburgh) teaches at The Stony Brook School in New York. He also serves as Assistant Editor for Participatio: The Journal of the Thomas F. Torrance Theological Fellowship.


Foreword by Thomas A. Noble

Introduction: Thomas F. Torrance and the Consensus Patrum

1. The Consensus Patrum: An Historical Overview
2. Protestant Evangelical “Discoveries” of The Fathers
3. T.F. Torrance’s Consensus Patrum: Catholic Themes
4. T.F. Torrance’s Consensus Patrum: Catholic Streams
5. The Ecumenical Relevance of T. F. Torrance’s Consensus Patrum

Conclusion: An Assessment and Proposed Adoption of Torrance

Appendix: Patristic Sources Cited in Trinitarian Faith
Index of Patristic Writers


Endorsements and Reviews

T.F. Torrance’s theology developed in large measure through conversation with the early Church Fathers, especially Athanasius, Cyril of Alexandria, and Gregory Nazianzen. As such, his theology provides an exercise in both retrieval and creative appropriation. Jason Radcliff’s study now offers an invaluable commentary on this reading of early Church thought. It is a welcome and significant contribution to the growing literature on Torrance.
David Fergusson, Professor of Divinity and Principal of New College, University of Edinburgh

By focusing on the internal coherence of theological ideas, the strength of the ‘constructive-systematic’ analysis carried out by Radcliff is that it successfully shows that the kind of historical understanding Torrance is aiming at is unashamedly constructive. … On this score, Radcliff without doubt fulfills the stated goal of his book to demonstrate the consistency and faithfulness of Torrance’s Consensus Patrum to the Reformed-evangelical tradition.
Pui Him Ip, in Reviews in Religion and Theology, Vol 23:1

This is a highly focussed study, suitable for graduate departments of theology, especially evangelical/Protestant schools looking to engage the patristic tradition.
Ethan Vanderleek, in Theological Book Review, Vol 27, No 2