William P. Sampson, SJ
New Academia Publishing, 2016
170 Pages, 2 photos
ISBN 978-0-9966484-6-2 Paperback

For BULK ORDERS, order directly from New Academia Publishing.

About the Author

William P. Sampson (1928-2000) was a Jesuit priest who followed a decade of teaching high school with thirty years of work giving retreats. His insights into the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and his masterly guidance of hundreds of nuns, priests, and laypersons in Ignatian retreats, greatly influenced many religious congregations in the post-Vatican II era. His previous writings include The Coming of Consolation: How God Gets Through to Us (Sheed and Ward 1987), and Meeting Jesus (HarperCollins 1991). Before his death, Father Sampson entrusted this, his last book, to his longtime friend and editor, Jim Walsh, SJ, who did basic copyediting and tracked down references.


“In The Earliest Church, the late Rev. William P. Sampson, SJ, takes us on a journey of imagination, spirit, and theological contemplation.  By helping us to explore the earliest days of the Church, he guides us into a deeper understanding of our Church in the present day.  Just as Fr. Sampson guided so many on spiritual retreats, this book continues his legacy of scholarship, reflection, and helping others to most authentically live their faith.”

John J. DeGioia, President of Georgetown University

“The Earliest Church is exciting reading for anyone who wants to experience the initial development of Christianity as the work of humans essentially just like us. Here the late Rev. William J. Sampson, SJ, applies a unique combination of historical and exegetical imagination and scholarly rigor to reconstruct the hypothetical journey of the direct and indirect disciples of Jesus from their considering him to have been an extraordinary man to their envisioning him also as God. Before his own death, Georgetown University’s pedagogically gifted Rev. James S Walsh, SJ, carefully prepared Rev. Sampson’s manuscript for scholarly publication.

—David Goldfrank, Professor of History, Georgetown University

The Earliest Church is a fascinating exploration of how the religious experience continues to open up new insights into the past and the meaning of the Christian perspective. It provides a new analysis for readers seeking to know the history and contemporary unfolding of Christianity as seen in the early development of the church.”

—Dr. Ronald Johnson, Professor Emeritus of History, Georgetown University