Who are we? This is the main question that motivates my research. Specifically, I am interested in questions that deal with topics such as free will, grace, sin, salvation, and predestination. These questions began to be addressed in a serious way by Christians during the Pelagian controversy in the fifth century. My book, The Pelagian Controversy: An Introduction to the Enemies of Grace and the Conspiracy of Lost Souls, discusses these issues in depth. On the back cover, Peter Casarella, now of Duke University, commented that “Stuart Squires has transcended the label of patrologist while still marshalling the historical evidence even-handedly and with mastery … Every class in the history of Christian doctrine should assign this remarkable text.”
I have published articles in Annales Theologici, the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, Augustinianum, the Scottish Journal of Theology, Cistercian Studies Quarterly, The Heythrop Journal, and Augustiniana. I also have published articles in popular journals such as America Magazine, Homiletics and Pastoral Review, Crisis Magazine, and the New Oxford Review. My conversion narrative also has been published by the Coming Home Network.
Currently, I am working on several projects. I have been invited to contribute a chapter in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on the Pelagian Controversy that will be published by Oxford University Press. The chapter, tentatively titled “Biographies of the Main Players of the Pelagian Controversy,” will be the first chapter of the volume. It will summarize the biographies of Pelagius, Caelestius, Augustine, Jerome, and Julian of Eclanum.
I have recently finished a journal article exploring Augustine’s reliance on Ambrose of Milan for his teaching on original sin. Many contemporary scholars have claimed that Augustine took Ambrose’s quotes out of context. Original sin for these scholars is an idea that Augustine created ex nihilo, and cannot be found in the works of Ambrose. I argue that Augustine’s use of quotations from Ambrose do not distort Ambrose’s original meaning, and that original sin is an idea that can be traced back to the New Testament. I recently presented this paper at a conference at the Universitat de Barcelona in Spain. The article will be published in the forthcoming volume from this conference.
I also am writing a book on the Eucharist that is under contract with New City Press. In recent decades, Catholic books on the Eucharist have often focused narrowly on the question of the nature of the Eucharist. In light of continuing Protestant assertion that the Jesus is “symbolically,” or “spiritually,” or “metaphorically” present, Catholic books have emphasized that the Catholic Church teaches that Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity are “truly, really, substantially” present in the Eucharist.
Although the question of the nature of the Eucharist is undoubtedly important, it unfortunately has overshadowed a question that is just as important, if not more important: what does the Eucharist do? If Jesus’ body, blood, soul, and divinity are truly present in the Eucharist as Catholics believe, then we should not be surprised to learn that when Catholics receive the Eucharist they receive multiple effects, or fruits.
This book will introduce six of the most important fruits of the Eucharist. It will explore how the Jesus Event is brought to the present through Eucharistic memory; it will investigate how the Eucharist is the application of Christ’s sacrificial offering on the cross; it will demonstrate how the Eucharist radically conforms the communicant to the heart of Christ; it will review the unity in the human family that is created by the Eucharist through union with Christ; it will show how a Eucharistic life leads to a life of service; it will explain the significance of the Eucharist for the journey beyond this life.
After I have completed these projects, I intend to write a book exploring different ways that Augustine’s thought can be applied to our current cultural moment. Several avenues immediately come to mind. First, Augustine’s theological anthropology articulated throughout the Pelagian controversy offers a corrective to the current intellectual assumptions about the human person. Second, his understanding of the polis described in his De civitate Dei is a prophetic voice to the idolatry of politics in the United States today. Third, his epistemology discussed in his Contra Academicos offers hope to anyone who believes that it is impossible to know anything for certain. Fourth, his De beata vita and Confessions give solutions for a happy life that contrasts with the consumerism of our day. Augustine’s wisdom and legacy, I am convinced, are essential for navigating the chaos of the 21st century.