Maurice Frank Wiles 1923–2005

Rowan Williams and Frances Young

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 153 Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, VII

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780197264348
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734250 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Maurice Frank Wiles 1923–2005

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Maurice Frank Wiles (1923–2005), a Fellow of the British Academy, was an Anglican theologian who was able within that tradition to develop the field of ‘doctrinal criticism’. He began his career concentrating on the period of the early Fathers of the Church, and it was this grounding that sowed the seeds of his later work on modern doctrine. Arianism would remain a particular interest. Yet Wiles retained a profound respect for tradition and, like the Fathers, constantly measured his doctrinal critique against the experience of believers in life and worship, regarding theology as second-order discourse – reflection on the significance of what was primary for Christianity, such as the experience of salvation. During his student days two people particularly influenced him: Ian Ramsey, who was Chaplain of his college and his first Theology tutor; and Henry Chadwick, who encouraged his early research in the Church Fathers. The evolution of Wiles' thinking is perhaps best observed in the collection published as Working Papers in Doctrine.

Keywords: Maurice Frank Wiles; British Academy; theology; modern doctrine; doctrinal criticism; Ian Ramsey; Henry Chadwick; Christianity; Arianism; Church Fathers

Chapter.  8158 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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