History of Christianity

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Overview

Eminent church historian Owen Chadwick has written this original, sweeping history of the Christian faith. Using layman's language, he surveys the lives of Christians over two millennia. A History of Christianity is essential reading for anyone interested in one of the most powerful influences on global civilization.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Graceful and vigorous . . . excellent."—Commonwealth

"A remarkable broad, comprehensive and well-balanced book . . . distinguished by a fabulous set of illustrations."—Parade

"Beautifully illustrated . . . Chadwick's single-volume 'overview of the whole' of Christianity is so accessible it is sure to be in great demand. Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University from 1968 to 1983, the author is among the most eminent of church historians; he notes that any attempt at 'an overview of the whole, by a single hand, is bound to contain an element of the personal, and the interest of a particular mind.' Both could be taken as weaknesses, but they are among the book's greatest strengths: a personal view, an overview from Cambridge—and, viewed in that light, a singularly instructive (and interesting) introduction to a particular mind in relation to the historical development of a global tradition."—Booklist

"The author infuses this history with a sense of the impact of Christianity on the lives and beliefs of ordinary men and women. In addition to tracing Christianity's origins as a Jewish sect, the history of its spread, and the growth of its institutions, he explains the evolution of the faith's artistic expression in architecture, painting, rituals, and music. He also discusses the Church's role in caring within the community—both medical and pastoral care—and its shifting attitudes to cruelty and war. The volume is abundantly illustrated with color and black and white reproductions and photos; and the author's integrated discussion of art, history, and beliefs gives it wide appeal to both scholars and general readers."—Book News, Inc.

Library Journal
Chadwick Michael Ramsey: A Life, Oxford Univ., 1990 has written an accessible, easily readable history of Christianity. It is beautifully illustrated, with the text and pictures working well together to give the reader a clear meaning of basic Christian concepts. However, this book has faults. It attempts to be utterly noncontroversial, relating the traditional history taught in mainstream schools and omitting or downplaying much. The Spanish Inquisition is discussed in three paragraphs, and the Holocaust receives barely a half-page. Radical feminist theological movements of the 20th century are not mentioned at all. These oversights unfortunately give the book the sanitized narrative tone of a companion book to a PBS special. Further interrupting the work are the intrusive opinions of the author. Nonetheless, the facts are correct, the time lines are accurate, the voice is that of a lover of Christian history rather than a purely academic scholar, and if all the reader wants is a comfortable and entertaining historical introduction to this immense academic field, this book satisfies that need. Recommended for public libraries.Glen Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
Booknews
The author infuses this history with a sense of the impact of Christianity on the lives and beliefs of ordinary men and women. In addition to tracing Christianity's origins as a Jewish sect, the history of its spread, and the growth of its institutions, he explains the evolution of the faith's artistic expression in architecture, painting, rituals, and music. He also discusses the Church's role in caring within the community--both medical and pastoral care--and its shifting attitudes to cruelty and war. The volume is abundantly illustrated with color and b&w reproductions and photos; and the author's integrated discussion of art, history, and beliefs gives it wide appeal to both scholars and general readers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Steve Schroeder
Beautifully illustrated though strikingly Eurocentric, Chadwick's single-volume "overview of the whole" of Christianity is so accessible it is sure to be in great public library demand. Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University from 1968 to 1983, the author is among the most eminent of church historians; he notes that any attempt at "an overview of the whole, by a single hand, is bound to contain an element of the personal, and the interest of a particular mind." Both could be taken as weaknesses, but they are among the book's greatest strengths: a personal view, an overview from Cambridge--and, viewed in that light, a singularly instructive and interesting introduction to a particular mind in relation to the historical development of a global tradition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312187231
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/1998
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. Edition
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Owen Chadwick was Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge from 1968 to 1983. He has written many books, including The Reformation, The Victorian Church, The Popes and European Revolution, as a result of which he was awarded the Wolfson Prize for history, and Michael Ramsey.

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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1: JEW AND GREEK

The Jewish inheritance

The religions of the non-Jews

The Christian way of life

CHAPTER 2: THE CHRISTIAN EMPIRE

The end of persecution

Monks and nuns

Saints

Time

The conversion of the northern tribes

CHAPTER 3: EASTROME

Constantinople

The law

Tradition

Mount Athos

The mystics

The effect of Islam

CHAPTER 4: WESTERN SOCIETY IN THE MIDDLE AGES

Popes

Society and religion

Architecture

The parish system

Confession

The Holy Grail

Cruelty

The imitation of Christ

The last of the Middle Ages

CHAPTER 5: THE NEW WORLD AND REFORM

The Americas divided

The East

Reform

The oratorio

Catholic reformation

Wars of religion

The Baroque

Bayle and Voltaire

Changes in Christian ideas

CHAPTER 6: THE MODERN ACE

The French revolution

Industry and the churches

The modern hymn

The 'end' of slavery

The shrinking world

Socialism

Conscience and war

The cold war

China

India

The decline of faith in Europe

Liberation in Latin America

Fundamentalism

Africa

Next?

CHRONOLOGY

FURTHER READING

INDEX

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2006

    Great graphics but missing important information

    Browsing in the bookstore, I was at first impressed with the beautiful photographs and graphics throughout the book. However, when I got it home and started the read-through, I was disappointed with some glaring omissions. As an Episcopalian, I was interested to see what Chadwick had to say both about Henry VIII and the Church of England, and about the early years of the Episcopal Church in America. Unfortunately, he mentions neither. No mention of Thomas Cranmer, no mention of The Book of Common Prayer. To me, that's a glaring omission. Common Prayer in the language of the people seems to be a major event in the history of Christianity, but obviously I'm alone in that opinion. I think this is a good book for someone who wants a VERY general overview of the church, however, I would never recommend it to someone who asked me. A much better choice (albeit with far fewer graphics) would be Bruce Shelley's 'Church History in Plain Language.' THAT is truly a book that leaves out nothing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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