Hughes, Kevin L. 1969-
Hughes, Kevin L. 1969-
Born November 12, 1969, in Baltimore, MD; married Bridget E. Bedard, 1995; children: three. Education: Villanova University B.A. (summa cum laude), 1991; University of Chicago, M.A., 1992, Ph.D., 1997.
Home—Media, PA. Office—St. Augustine Center for the Liberal Arts, Villanova University, Rm. 128, 800 Lancaster Ave., Villanova, PA 19085. E-mail—[email protected]
Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL, adjunct instructor, 1995-96; Villanova University, Villanova, PA, assistant professor, 2000-05, associate professor of theology and religious studies, 2005—, director of theology graduate studies, 2002-04; director of Patristic, Medieval, Renaissance Studies Conference, 2004—.
American Society of Church Historians, American Academy of Religion, Society of Biblical Literature, Phi Beta Kappa.
Grants from University of Chicago, John Templeton Foundation, 1998-99, Pew Seminars in Christian Scholarship, 2000, and Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning, 2002.
(Editor, with Kim Paffenroth, and contributor) Augustine and Liberal Education, Ashgate (Burlington, VT), 2000.
(Translator and author of introduction, with Steven R. Cartwright) Second Thessalonians: Two Early Medieval Apocalyptic Commentaries, Medieval Institute Publications (Kalamazoo, MI), 2001.
Church History: Faith Handed On, Loyola Press/ National Conference for Catechetal Leadership (Chicago, IL), 2002.
(Editor, with John Doody and Kim Paffenroth) Augustine and Politics, Lexington Books (Lanham, MD), 2005.
Constructing Antichrist: Paul, Biblical Commentary, and the Development of Doctrine in the Early Middle Ages, Catholic University of America Press (Washington, DC), 2005.
Contributor to books, including The Future of Hope: Christian Tradition amid Modernity and Postmodernity, edited by Miroslav Volf and William Katerberg, Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 2004; and The Experience of God, edited by Kevin Hart and Barbara Wall, Fordham University Press (New York, NY), 2005. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Modern Theology, Franciscan Studies, Heythrop Journal, Augustinian Studies, and the Benedictine Review.
Kevin L. Hughes is a professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University. His research concentrates on ancient and medieval Christian history, theology, and spirituality, and he has a particular interest in the Franciscan tradition. Although his research focuses on history, he teaches both contemporary and historical subjects, believing that tradition can be vital within modern Christian life and practice.
In the book Constructing Antichrist: Paul, Biblical Commentary, and the Development of Doctrine in the Early Middle Ages, Hughes offers a close analysis of the Biblical book of Second Thessalonians. This book refers to a "Son of Perdition" that will "sit in the temple of God." The passage is believed by many to be a prophecy of an Antichrist figure. Although the book does not contain the word "Antichrist," it is nevertheless one of the most widely quoted sources for belief in an Antichrist, either as a figurative being, representing evil within the church, or as a literal entity that will be seen near the end of time. Hughes traces the history of prophecies and thought about the Antichrist that are based on these verses, beginning with the writings of Ambrosiaster, a fourth-century writer, and continuing up to the writing of Peter Lombard in the twelfth century. He demonstrates how Antichrist doctrine went through a repeated cycle of deconstruction and reconstruction throughout the first thousand years of Christianity. He discusses the differences between those schools of thought that regard the Biblical account of apocalypse to be literal predictions of future events, and the viewpoint that apocalyptic references in the Bible are meant to be symbolic. "The book's focus on a unique strand of Pauline exegesis has its advantages and disadvantages," stated Richard K. Emmerson in the Journal of Religion. "One advantage is that Hughes shows the remarkably consistent nature of commentary over eight centuries." Emmerson found, however, that due to its limited focus, "some texts crucial to the medieval understanding of Antichrist receive restricted attention." Nevertheless, Emmerson concluded, it is an "excellent" book.
Reviewing the book for Church History, Robert E. Lerner also commented on the author's evidence that early and medieval scholars conceived of both a literal and a figurative Antichrist. The Antichrist was thought by some to be alive even in medieval times, acting in the form of wrongdoers within the church. Lerner did fault Hughes's approach to the subject, feeling that the book is "is too slender in both content and method to bear the weight of its title." Lerner questioned Hughes's exclusive focus on Second Thessalonians, and noted that the author "never defends his decision to choose just one biblical book for the tracing of Antichrist traditions." Nevertheless, Lerner also stated: "Hughes's account is admirably clear, alert, and thoughtful. He provides valuable insights."
Another commentator, Karlfried Froehlich in the Catholic Historical Review, approved of the book's focus, noting that Hughes undertakes an impressively detailed analysis of "the history of just one particular biblical text which is of prime importance for all antichrist lore and speculation." Froehlich further noted that in his analysis, Hughes "proceeds with great caution and knows the importance of being open to surprises." Froehlich noted that one of the more surprising points made by Hughes is that early and medieval scholars did not regard Paul as a prophet so much as they did a teacher. The author also shows that early religious thought did not necessarily separate the two possibilities of allegorical thought or literal prophecy; they felt that the interpretations could coexist and both be true. Froehlich concluded: "Hughes's competent investigation of one short letter in its entirety demonstrates that the exegetical history of the Pauline Epistles is a gold mine for the historian of Christian doctrine."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Augustinian Studies, March 22, 2003, Todd Breyfogle, review of Augustine and Liberal Education, p. 121; September 22, 2006, James K.A. Smith, review of Augustine and Politics, p. 275; September 22, 2006, Carol A. Scheppard, review of Constructing Antichrist: Paul, Biblical Commentary, and the Development of Doctrine in the Early Middle Ages, p. 279.
Catholic Historical Review, January 1, 2007, Karlfried Froehlich, review of Constructing Antichrist, p. 128.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, November 1, 2005, J.L. Miller, review of Augustine and Politics, p. 568.
Church History, March 1, 2006, Robert E. Lerner, review of Constructing Antichrist, p. 176.
Journal of Religion, April 1, 2006, Richard K. Emmerson, review of Constructing Antichrist, p. 323.
Journal of Theological Studies, April 1, 2007, G.R. Evans, review of Constructing Antichrist, p. 335.
Medieval Review, June 1, 2006, Lawrence Besserman, review of Constructing Antichrist.