In Engaging Theologians, Aidan Nichols explores the work of a number of major writers who have inspired him at different points over the last forty years. They are theologians who engage with a wide range of doctrinal topics and do so in a way that is both robust and persuasive, which makes them, he believes, engaging in a rather different sense of that word. Each chapter begins with a short autobiographical preface, explaining why each writer (or pair of writers) was chosen. The selection reflects the ecumenical breadth of the authors life. While his family were Anglicans, his conversion to a consciously held dogmatic Christianity came via Eastern Orthodoxy, but was lived out in a Catholic setting, in the United Kingdom or beyond. Hence there are chapters on the Anglo-Catholic systematician Eric Mascall and the Orthodox spiritual theologian Olivier Clement as well as on a trio of Jesuits Jean Danielou, Henri de Lubac, and Avery Dulles, the first two of whom are giants of the movement of ressourcement common to all three Christian traditions (Rome, Canterbury, Constantinople) as this is. Aidan Nichols considers that Hans Urs von Balthasar (here studied in his dialogue with Martin Heidegger) has accompanied him throughout his theological studies and writing, as indeed has Thomas Aquinas, whose school is represented by the English Dominican Victor White and the Neo-Thomist master Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange.
John Aidan Nichols was born into a nominally Anglican family at Lytham St Annes, UK, in 1948, and became a Catholic while at school. After studying Modern History at Oxford he entered the English Province of the Order of Preachers in 1970. Since ordination he has acted as chaplain to students at Edinburgh and Cambridge, and lectured in theology in Rome, England, Ethiopia and the United States. He is the author of some forty-five books on many aspects of Catholic doctrine and culture as well as Orthodox and Anglican theological history.