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eBook A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years ePub

by Diarmaid MacCulloch

eBook A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years ePub
Author: Diarmaid MacCulloch
Language: English
ISBN: 0713998695
ISBN13: 978-0713998696
Publisher: Viking; First American Edition edition (2009)
Pages: 864
Category: World
Subcategory: History
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 668
Formats: lit azw lrf docx
ePub file: 1134 kb
Fb2 file: 1109 kb

A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is a 2009 book by the British ecclesiastical historian Diarmaid MacCulloch. It is a survey of Christianity from its earliest lineages.

A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is a 2009 book by the British ecclesiastical historian Diarmaid MacCulloch.

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Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity is such a book. In part this comes from the dual heritage of Christianity, which is well encapsulated by this book's provocative subtitle, ‘The First Three Thousand Years’. Ambitious, it ranges back to the origins of the Hebrew The author of The Reformation returns with the definitive history of Christianity for our time. The first 70 pages trace the Greek philosophical traditions of thinking about divinity – the Platonic idea of a remote, unknowable God – which became fused with Judaic tradition in an uneasy but dynamic relationship that is unique to Christianity.

Diarmaid MacCulloch ranges from Palestine in the first century to India in the third, from Damascus to China in the seventh century and from San . Christianity than Rome. This is the first truly global history of Christianity.

Diarmaid MacCulloch ranges from Palestine in the first century to India in the third, from Damascus to China in the seventh century and from San Francisco to Korea in the twentieth. He is one of the most widely travelled of Christian historians and conveys a sense of place as arrestingly as he does the power of ideas. He presents the development of Christian history differently from any of his predecessors. Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University.

MacCulloch introduces us to monks and crusaders, heretics and reformers, popes and abolitionists, and . Diarmaid MacCulloch is a fellow of St. Cross College, Oxford, and professor of the history of the church at Oxford University.

And he uncovers the roots of the faith that galvanized America, charting the surprising beliefs of the founding fathers, the rise of the Evangelical movement and of Pentecostalism, and the recent crises within the Catholic Church. Bursting with original insights and a great pleasure to read, this monumental religious history will not soon be surpassed.

MacCulloch writes an extensive history of Christianity, warts and halos all. Unlike many other books on the history of Christianity, this . I read only the first few hundred pages. The book can only confirm an unbelievers unbelief. Unlike many other books on the history of Christianity, this tome is not limited to Western Christianity. Пользовательский отзыв - jack2410 - ww. ibrarything. Not comforting to literalist. I did not find summary or conclusion sections.

I mention this because I sense a kind of kinship with Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the history of the church at Oxford University, who has written a sprawling, sensible and illuminating new book, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

I mention this because I sense a kind of kinship with Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the history of the church at Oxford University, who has written a sprawling, sensible and illuminating new book, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. A biographer of Thomas Cranmer and the author of an acclaimed history of the Reformation, MacCulloch comes from three generations of Anglican clergymen and himself grew up in a country rectory of which he says, I have the happiest memories. He thus treats his subject with respect.

A product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill, Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years goes back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and encompasses Christianity's spread across the globe.

The first three thousand years do not seem likely to be also the last. Rowan Williams is Archbishop of Canterbury.

So many books have been called magisterial that the impact of the word has been diluted. Thus I fear it will not suffice to convey what a monumental work MacCulloch has produced. Posted on 12/27/2012 by rhapsodyinbooks.

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch. Viking Pr,2010
MacCulloch's very detailed Christianity starts a thousand years before Christ with the Greek and Jewish foundations that formed the world's biggest religion. MacCulloch describes himself as a "a candid friend of Christianity" (p. 10), and perhaps some will find his viewpoint more objective than that of a devoted believer. I am less enthusiastic. But I am glad I read the book.

To the extent that I am qualified to comment, I find his views in line with mainstream Christian scholarship. Since I have difficulty with what I will uncharitably call the biblical revisionism that forms the foundation for much of the modern understanding of ancient Judaism, Christianity, and the Bible, at least in mainstream liberal critical circles, I found his exposition of Jewish and Christian history, through the second century, disappointing but unsurprising. I look forward to the day when scholars come to terms with the fact that, if they reject the more speculative aspects of nineteenth and early twentieth century biblical revisionism, they must also reject the more recent extrapolations of the earlier conclusions. My viewpoints are much more inline with those of Bruce, Carson, Kitchen, Longman, and Robinson.*

After introducing himself, MacCulloch starts his book with a discussion of ancient Greek history and philosophy, and its influence on Christian belief and theology. I found this very helpful. MacCulloch explained how Greek culture influenced Jewish culture throughout the Roman empire. He discussed how Greek notions of the perfection of God clashed with the more personal, passionate, and earthy Jewish God of the Bible. He pointed out how that for Greeks, the God of the Old Testament was the almost the antithesis of their ideas of God. Included in the discussion was Diogenes, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Pythagoras. MacCulloch later shows how these philosophers influenced both mainstream and heretical Christian belief throughout Christian history.

MacCulloch is really quite ambitious to try to teach all of Christian history, in all the world, from before Christ to now. This is not just a broad brush summary of Christian history: there is depth and detail, in my opinion, too much detail. In any given century, there seem to be about a half a dozen major heresies, at least two or three mainstream accepted theologies, a number of important Christian leaders, several major wars, one or more genocides, a new expectation of the end of the world, a few major missionary efforts, one or several large political shifts, a new understanding of what it means to be Christian, and the relentless expansion of the Christian church. There is a lot of information here, and I would like to assimilate it better, but for me, I am overwhelmed.

I like MacCulloch's story telling style. It is enjoyable and informative and very readable. But I had trouble absorbing key points. As MacCulloch points out, many Christian leaders and theologies continue to impact the faith for centuries after their inception. When a student first encounters these leaders and theologies, it is not obvious which ones will become important. As I am reading about them, I don't know what to focus on. Without knowing history, I don't know how to read history! A little help from the teacher in this instance would be appreciated.

As an example, MacCulloch describes Martin Luther's theology in the context of his life, including his upbringing, rivalries, influences, politics, and travel. We then learn the stories of Luther's followers. Eventually great changes are triggered by Luther's writing, several large protestant denominations develop, even the course of nations is changed, and each development has a history of its own. MacCulloch expounds seemingly on each development of theology, ritual, art, politics, and culture, decade by decade, throughout Europe, and then beyond. In the midst of all this information, I become lost. What was it that Luther was trying to say? The problem with history is there is just too much of it!

In spite of my complaints, I am glad I read the book. It has made me aware of the size and diversity of Christianity. I have learned a little about tolerance, and especially intolerance. I have learned about the quest for power, influence, and control in human institutions, churches, and nations, and especially the horror that can result. And I have learned a little about belief, faith, hope, and spirit; I think I have especially learned that humility is key to love and understanding, for each other and our creator. Overall, I liked the book, not a lot, but I liked it. I may read it again, and if I do, I will take better notes. I hesitantly recommend it.

* That is I more closely embrace the viewpoints expressed in the following books:
- Bruce, F. F. The New Testament documents : are they reliable. Grand Rapids, Mich. Downers Grove, Ill: Eerdmans InterVarsity Press, 2003.
- Carson, D. A., and Douglas J. Moo. An introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2009.
- Kitchen, K. A. On the reliability of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans, 2006.
- Longman, Tremper, and Raymond B. Dillard. An introduction to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2006.
- Robinson, John A. Redating the New Testament. London: S.C.M. Press, 1976.

Note: Rated three out of five stars on Goodreads, as Goodreads defines three stars as "I like it" and two stars as "It's okay".
There's no doubt that MacCulloch is a great scholar of Church History and has, rightly, acquired an international reputation in his field. This work is, therefore, what one would expect from such a renowned scholar: a work of much erudition and intellectual reflection. I would normally give it a five star review except for two caveats. The first problem with the book, in my humble opinion, is that it is ostensibly directed at the average layman and intended to introduce the average reading public with the history of the Christian Church. The problem therein lies in one of the beauties of the work: it is so erudite. As a church buddy of mine commented on reading the book, "He mentions things he obviously expects me to know but he hasn't given me any explanation or background." I feel this is a correct assessment of the book. If you dive into it without any previous study of Church history it will be confusing at times. The second issue I have with MacCulloch is a more personal one (although I certainly don't mean this to be an ad hominem attack on a scholar I greatly admire). He has a distressing tendency to present personal opinion (or- shall we say- minority academic opinion) with fact agreed upon by the consensus of scholars. Just a couple examples, MacCulloch opines that Jesus spoke mediocre "market-place" Greek. He says this as a fact that is indisputable. Actually, of course, no one knows what type of Greek Jesus spoke- if any at all. Some scholars believe that Jesus' Greek was fluent; others have maintained that he spoke no Greek at all. But you would never know there was any disagreement on this issue from MacCulloch who- as I say- presents his own opinion as fact. Another example is his interesting and rather long discussion of the meaning of the Greek "epiousios" in the Lord's Prayer. He flatly states that the word relates to future events and connects it with Jesus' proclamation of the imminent end of the world and his parousia. However, there is absolutely no consensus in the academic community that this is what the word "epiousios" (usually translated "daily' as in "daily bread") means. Many scholars believe it means what it is normally translated to mean: i.e., "daily". Other scholars frankly admit that the word is enigmatic and let their readers know that there is no definitive academic position on its meaning. MacCulloch, however, in his typical fashion presents his theory (which may, of course, be the correct one) and doesn't let his reader have the benefit of knowing that this is a debated point among scholars
So, long story short, I think this is overall a great work of Church history that every serious student should probably read. Even if you disagree with MacCulloch, which I often find myself doing, he provokes thought and that is always a good thing. If you decide to read Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years just do yourself a favor and read a shorter, simpler introduction to Christianity first and, then, as you are reading the work always keep in mind that some of his assertions may be more personal opinion than scholarly consensus. With these two caveats in mind, I think any reader will enjoy the book and find it a gold mine of information.
While this book could be used as an entry level text in college or seminary (I've taught both), it's really aimed at a general audience. While the author presumes little (other than an acceptance that the evidences of history, archeology and logic should have meaning for readers of the Bible and theology), and does not make assumptions concerning the faith of its readers, it does come from a perspective faith seeking understanding, and the embedded presumption that Christianity can and should have meaning in people's lives. With this said, I found it to be a well informed theological and historical exploration of the first 3000 years of Christianity. The opening chapters, being a whirlwind of Biblical criticism and Greek and Latin history move along very briskly. Sometimes bits of detail are missing, but not often.
This is the central reading for a class/group (Education for Ministry), and while I love EfM, I believe this book is not strong in teaching a narrative history. It has many other strengths.

The author is surely brilliant, but there is little sustained chronological or topical structure beyond the chapter headings. Others may love the book for the author's witty observations of the accidents of history that produced the Western church. I have turned elsewhere for a useful introductory historical and theological survey of the growth of Christianity.

But let me be clear: many will enjoy the book's spirituality, the author's writing style, and his informative observations along the way. And the book succeeds in sparking discussion during EfM!
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