What is the best book on the history of Christianity?
A History of Christianity. First published in 1976, Paul Johnson’s exceptional study of Christianity has been loved and widely hailed for its intensive research, writing, and magnitude—“a tour de force, one of the most ambitious surveys of the history of Christianity ever attempted and perhaps the most radical” (New York Review of Books).
How do I start studying the history of Christianity?
The popular and distinguished Oxford historian, Diarmaid MacCulloch, recommends books that will help you make a start. T he topic you’ve chosen is the history of Christianity, which is pretty huge. How did you decide what particular areas of it to focus on? There is a lot to cover.
How difficult is it to write a history of Christianity?
Now a one volume history of Christianity is a difficult undertaking since almost 2,000 years of history is not easily condensed. So there is an editorial process by the writer as to what to cover. This is a very opinionated history as variant interpretations are not discussed at all.
Is MacCulloch’s history of Christianity an acceptable history?
It offers an acceptable history of Christianity for someone new to the subject but precious little to anyone who has already done some reading in the area. MacCulloch is a specialist on the birth of the Church of England.
What was the point of Christianity after the Dark Ages?
The point of religion was thought to be how it can assure the safe propulsion of your immortal soul into the basket-hoop of eternal bliss. This wasn’t taken lightly. After you died, unless you were a spotless lambkin, your soul was still in contention between bliss and torment. So those with money laid down in their wills that there should be masses conducted for their souls after death, and these masses should be performed on a daily basis. Many hundreds of monks and others were employed in just praying for dead rich people. People thought it worked like that – X amount of prayer will get you Y amount of bliss.
What is Goodreads for?
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
What are some examples of mechanical Christianity?
Another example of mechanical Christianity is infant baptism – many examples litter mediaeval literature of the horror felt at the child dying before being baptised. But if you ticked the box, you were okay. Completely mechanical.
How many villages were there in the monastery of Goldenkron?
10) Dig the size of some of these monasteries! In 1150 the monastery of Goldenkron in Bohemia owned an area of 1000 square miles, containing about 70 villages. The monks were making money hand over fist with their agricultural surpluses. They were rich, baby! But they couldn’t spend it! Except on cathedrals. And writing materials. And relics. (That’s like old toes and fingers. Gruesome. See below. )
What happens if we reduce our knowledge of Jesus to points where there is unanimity, plausibility and an?
If we reduce our knowledge of Jesus to points where there is unanimity, plausibility and an absence of objections, we are left with a phenomenon almost devoid of significance.
How many pages is Paul Johnson’s book?
Paul Johnson manages in this excellent book to cram the history of this enormously complex religion into a mere 500 pages, mostly without losing the ordinary reader in a welter of theology and weird sect names. He is a great companion, throwing out summaries and judgements boldly and crisply. Here for instance is PJ on the witch craze :
What is Mr Johnson’s prose like?
Mr Johnson’s prose is like a galleon in full sail , which occasionally opens the hatches and lets fly with a cannonball zinger.
What is the book Diarmaid MacCulloch?
Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Christianity is such a book. Ambitious, it ranges back to the origins of the Hebrew Bib. The author of The Reformation returns with the definitive history of Christianity for our time. Once in a generation a historian will redefine his field, producing a book that demands to be read–a product of electrifying scholarship …
What is the definition of early missionary work in northern Europe?
The discussion of early missionary work in northern Europe describes the adoption of Christianity as more of a group experience than decisions made by individuals. Those who experienced the event generally described it with words such as, “accepted” or “submitted” rather than “conversion.”.
What is the theme of the story of MacCulloch?
Though MacCulloch is too even-handed to build a cumulative argument out of this story, the theme that emerges for me is the constant interplay between Christianity’s interior, metaphorical truths, and the factual historicity of the information by which such truths have been communicated. This is related to a crucial duality present from the very start.
What was MacCulloch’s last book?
The son of an Anglican clergyman, MacCulloch writes with feeling about faith. His last book, The Reformation, was chosen by dozens of publications as Best Book of the Year & won the Nat’l Book Critics Circle Award. This inspiring follow-up is a landmark new history of the faith that continues to shape the world.
What was the advantage of Christianity everywhere?
The author goes on to say: “Christianity everywhere had a big advantage in being associated with the ancient power that obsessed all Europe, Imperial Rome. The Latin speaking church became a curator of Roman-ness. That is a paradox since Jesus had been crucified by a Roman provincial Governor and Peter by an Emperor.
What does "don’t study its history" mean?
Honestly, to hold onto the mystery and conviction of a religion: don’t study its history.
What is the code of life?
They form a code of life which is a chorus of love directed to the loveless or unlovable, of painful honesty expressing itself with embarrassing directness, of joyful rejection of any counsel suggesting careful self-regard or prudence. That, apparently, is what the Kingdom of God is like.".
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What happened to African states in the 1960s?
When all the African states became independent in the 1960s, all the bien pensant liberals across the world said, ‘Oh, this is the end of Christianity – it’s associated with colonialism.’. But what happened was that all these states fell apart and the Christian churches just grew and flourished.
How is Edward Gibbon different from Bede?
Gibbon is terribly different from Bede. Bede is such a devout and enthusiastic servant of the church (he’s a monk). Edward Gibbon was a very self-absorbed 18th-century Englishman, and yet also a citizen of the world. He felt that the enlightened, sceptical outlook that he held was the way people ought to be. He left us a wonderful account of his life – a rather solemn and not terribly humourous autobiography – in which you get a picture of a snobby, rather prissy, self-important man who likes everything just so. Such people don’t always have an easy time with the rest of the human race, and, like a lot of people who devote their time to writing, he was very selfish: very few other people ever got in the way of Edward Gibbon and his building a life to suit himself. I think he once fell in love, but it didn’t really work out. Otherwise, he was a single man who devoted his time to writing this immense book. I’m just looking at my own copy, which is a lovely, nicely bound copy from 1813. It’s in 12 volumes, which gives you a sense of the scale he was writing on. It’s a formidable task to read it, but it’s very readable, because although Gibbon was humourless about himself, he has a tremendous sense of humour about the rest of the world. All the time there is a wonderful, slight edge to what he is writing. It’s a distancing thing, but it does also incorporate human sympathy for the past. I think he may have enjoyed the past more than the present.
What are the three major strands of Christianity?
What you can do is separate out the various strands in its history. The three obvious ones are Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism. What also fascinated me as I wrote my book were the bits of Christianity not covered by those categories – the really ancient Christianities of the Middle East, which in many ways are more in touch with the very first Christians. They are given dismissive names by the mainstream, like Monophysites or Nestorians. But if you get a strong sense of these different categories – the big three and also the other bits of Christianity that could have been the future of the Church – then it becomes a bit simpler to grasp.
Why does Bede not use the word "english"?
He doesn’t use the word ‘England’ because it didn’t yet exist. Bede is actually one of the people who creates this sense of Englishness – and it’s very much associated with the idea of the Church. His book is a celebration of the English becoming Christian, and, in the centuries after him, these people, the Angli, will think of themselves as a single nation, England. It’s a very important piece of history – the first real, proper history that the English wrote about themselves – and it’s one of the earliest pieces of church history.
Why is evangelical Christianity so successful?
One reason for its success is that it empowers people, particularly those who don’t feel they have power in any other way. If you look at the enslaved peoples in the southern part of the United States in the 18th century – these are people who had no choice in their lives. One thing that evangelical Christianity offered them was to make a choice: to choose to turn to Jesus. Instantly that gives you back a sense of self-respect. Again and again, in all sorts of different societies, it is that sense, that however unfortunate you are, however powerless in political terms, you’ve got access to a different sort of power. That image of a man who died on the cross, absolutely helpless, and who yet has more power than you could possibly dream of – that’s a constant at the centre of Christianity.
What is Bede’s story about?
So Bede’s story is celebrating his people’s association with this far away place, Rome, which was the centre of the Roman Empire. The people who also shared his land, the British Isles, – the Celts, the Irish, the Welsh, and the Scots – were not as loyal to Rome.
Why is Bede’s story so interesting?
They felt really drawn to Rome, and united with Rome. So Bede’s story is celebrating his people’s association with this far away place, Rome, which was the centre of the Roman Empire. The people who also shared his land, the British Isles, – the Celts, the Irish, the Welsh, and the Scots – were not as loyal to Rome. He makes a big point about this and sort of sneers at them.