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Fr Aidan Nichols

The Writings of Aidan Nichols O.P.

(The following has been provided by Fr Nichols)

Fr Aidan Nichols has published some thirty books, and over seventy articles.

            From the standpoint of its form, his theological work aims so to explore the riches of Tradition as to present the faith as an organic whole characterised by divine-human truth, beauty and goodness.  To this end, he uses, philosophically, elements of both metaphysical and phenomenological approaches.  To the same end, he makes use theologically of both rational-scholastic and imagistic-poetic modes of discourse.  The aim is to show how divine revelation emerges in human experience and thought as coherently epiphanic in character: that is, as manifesting a superabundant fulness of truth, beauty, goodness which exceeds those available by other routes.  In this way, the incarnate revelation of the Trinity, from which issues the doxological life of the Church, provides the ultimate overall context in which all other reality is to be viewed.

            From the standpoint of its content, his theology begins (in 1980) from enquiry into Jesus Christ as the supreme divine artwork which irradiates, so Christian theology and iconography attest, not only the biblical history, but human existence and cosmic nature too.  From there his theology moves out to consider (‘FOUNDATIONS OF THE FAITH’) the rational-experiential basis of belief in God, and the content of Christian faith, both in its catechetical building-blocks and in its ecclesial-dogmatic structure, as well as the theological method best suited to its exploration.  His project requires for its realisation study of the range and depth of theological tradition (‘THEOLOGICAL RESSOURCEMENT’) not only as found in pre-modern writers but in those moderns who saw themselves as engaged in recycling, albeit with new insights, that tradition’s stored up wealth.  His writing takes the Liturgy as a key locus for theology and Church, and treats culture as the field of the world which a Gospel expressed doxologically must transform (‘CULT and CULTURE’).  Finally, for the re-integration of a catholicity impaired by Christian disunity he is concerned to repatriate elements of Eastern Orthodox and Anglican theology (‘ECUMENICAL EVALUATION’). This is in a perspective that, without infidelity to the doctrine of the Roman magisterium, encourages reunion with Constantinople and, in a more limited sense, Christians formed by the patrimony of Anglicanism.



1.      Theology of revelation

The Art of God Incarnate. Theology and Image in Christian Tradition (London, Darton, Longman and Todd, 1980)

2.      Philosophy of religion

A Grammar of Consent. The Existence of God in Christian Tradition (Notre Dame, Ind., University of Notre Dame Press, 1991)

3.      Theological catechetics

The Splendour of Doctrine. The Catechism of the Catholic Church on Christian Believing (Edinburgh, T. and T. Clark, 1995)

The Service of Glory. The Catechism of the Catholic Church on Worship, Ethics, Spirituality (Edinburgh, T. and T. Clark, 1997)

Come to the Father. An Invitation to Share the Faith of the Catholic Church (London, St Paul’s Publishing, 2000)

4.      Ecclesial dogmatics

Epiphany. A Theological Introduction to Catholicism (Collegeville, Minn., Liturgical Press, 1996)

5.   Theological method

The Shape of Catholic Theology. An Introduction to its Sources, Principles and History (Collegeville, Minn., Liturgical Press, 1991)


1.      Ancients

Byzantine Gospel. Maximus the Confessor in Modern Scholarship (Edinburgh, T. and T. Clark, 1993)

Discovering Aquinas. An Introduction to his Life, Work and Influence (London, Darton, Longman and Todd, 2002)

2.      Moderns

The Theology of Joseph Ratzinger. An Introductory Study (Edinburgh, T. and T. Clark, 1988)

Yves Congar (London, Geoffrey Chapman, 1989)

From Newman to Congar. The Idea of Doctrinal Development from the Victorians to the Second Vatican Council (Edinburgh, T. and T. Clark, 1990)

Dominican Gallery. Portrait of a Culture (Leominster, Gracewing, 1997)

Catholic Thought since the Enlightenment. A Survey (Leominster,  Gracewing, 1998)

The Word Has Been Abroad. A Guide through Balthasar’s Aesthetics (Edinburgh, T. and T. Clark, 1998)

No Bloodless Myth. A Guide through Balthasar’s Dramatics (Edinburgh, T. and T. Clark, 2000)

Say It Is Pentecost. A Guide through Balthasar’s Logic (Edinburgh, T. and T. Clark, 2001)

A Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century (Huntington, Ind., Our Sunday Visitor, 2003)


Holy Order. The Apostolic Ministry from the New Testament to the Second Vatican Council (Dublin, Veritas, 1990)

The Holy Eucharist. From the New Testament to Pope John Paul II (Dublin, Veritas, 1991)

Looking at the Liturgy. A Critical View of its Contemporary Form (San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 1996)

Christendom Awake. On Re-energizing the Church in Culture (Edinburgh, T. and T. Clark, 1999)

Scribe of the Kingdom. Essays on Theology and Culture (London, Sheed and Ward, 1994, two volumes)

Beyond the Blue Glass. Catholic Essays on Faith and Culture (London, Saint Austin Press, 2002, two volumes)


Theology in the Russian Diaspora. Church, Fathers, Eucharist in Nikolai Afanas´ev, 1893-1966 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989)

Rome and the Eastern Churches. A Study in Schism (Edinburgh, T. and T. Clark, 1991)

The Panther and the Hind. A Theological History of Anglicanism (Edinburgh, T. and T. Clark, 1992)

Light from the East. Authors and Themes in Orthodox Theology (London, Sheed and Ward, 1995)

For up to date list of writings of Fr Nichols

Three Books – a Common Thread
by Colin Mason

There is a thread that runs from Aidan Nichols’ book Christendom Awake, to his work The Realm, and now through to his new title Criticising the Critics. The line of argument that Nichols explores across all three works is this: if the Church is to have any chance of evangelising society, then it first must rediscover its own identity. The mission to re-christianise the world has to be built upon a rediscovery and renewal of its own tradition.

If we are to renew our culture, we must first renew our Church. If we are to recreate Christendom, then we must first reclaim, renew, and re-enchant the internal life of the Church – and thus re-energise the Church. This internal renewal and rediscovery of the Church’s self-identity will enable it better to witness externally to the world.

Nichols calls for us to be brave enough to talk once again of the “
conversion of England”. It should be clear of course that this argument is not limited to England or even to Britain. It is a call that carries across the whole of Western Europe and North America. The need to reclaim Western culture from the forces of secularism is one that will ring true to readers of these three books.

The Realm builds explicitly upon the earlier core message of Christendom Awake. In his new book, Criticising the Critics, Aidan Nichols meets head-on those internal and external challenges to the Church and its doctrines. He notes the disastrous challenge that secularism presents to our culture and the corresponding need to reinvigorate the Catholic body in order to meet and fight this challenge. It is Nichols’ intention, with his new book, to restore the confidence of Catholics and to allow them to become once again a public force.

Copyright © Aidan Nichols and Colin Mason 2011

Version: 3rd November 2011

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