Kelly begins these lectures on the Athanasian Creed - also known after its opening words in Latin as the Quicunque Vult - by acknowledging the truth of the quip that it is neither a creed nor written by St Athanasius. As he explains, although traditionally ascribed to the great 4th century Alexandrian bishop and champion of orthodoxy, it was most likely composed in Gaul in the 5th century. Not initially intended as a creed, but rather as a short exposition of the Trinitarian faith, its combination of brevity, comprehensiveness, and rhetorical rhythm nonetheless made it ideally suited for liturgical use - a use which has helped to ensure its longevity.
Carefully and thoroughly, Kelly exhaustively examines the questions surrounding the date, authorship, sources, content, and influence of the Quicunque. The depth and detail of his scholarship are remarkable, although indeed likely to exhaust the patience of casual readers.