Christian Thought: A Historical Introduction

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The story of Christian thought is essential to understanding Christian faith today and the last two millennia of world history. This fresh and lively introduction explores the central ideas, persons, events,
and movements that gave rise to Christian thought, from early beginnings to its present forms. By highlighting the important but often neglected role of women and the influence of non-Christian ideas and movements, this book provides a broader context for understanding the history of Christian ideas and their role in shaping our world. This work chronicles the impressive developments of Christian thinking which arose from these contexts and have transcended the ages.

Christian Thought:

  • provides an overview of the context of Christianity's origin, including discussion of the influence of Hebrews,
    Greeks, and Romans in the ancient world and the founding figures of Jesus and Paul
  • explores the major events and figures of the history of Christian thought, while drawing attention to significant voices which have often been suppressed
  • analyses the impact on Christian thought of widely discussed events such as The Great Schism, the Scientific Revolution, and Modernism
  • surveys contemporary trends such as fundamentalism, feminism, and postmodernism.

Complete with illustrations, timelines and maps, this is an ideal resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the development of Christian thought and its influence over the centuries.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Most works on the history of Christian thought are written by historians. What makes Christian Thought: A Historical Introduction especially valuable is that its authors are philosophically trained theologians. Accordingly, while not setting aside important issues of historical context, Meister and Stump are highly successful in getting at the inner logic of the ideas that flow throughout Christian history. The book is user-friendly with excellent charts, summary points, and clarity of style, and it is an intellectually rich treatment of its subject matter. I highly recommend it."
J. P. Moreland, Talbot School of Theology, USA

"Meister and Stump have produced an impressive volume. Their writing is clear and their presentation is even-handed. Every writer of an introductory text has to wrestle with what to include and what to omit. Meister and Stump have done an admirable job focusing on what is essential without losing a sense of the nuance, detail, and narrative of the history of Christian thought. Also impressive is the way that they have woven into their account some of the lost voices in Christian history and that they have done so without diminishing the importance of traditional figures and loci. The inclusion of maps, timelines, and study questions maximizes this volume’s usefulness as a textbook. Highly recommended!"
James Beilby, Professor of Systematic and Philosophical Theology, Bethel University, Minnesota, USA

"This ambitious and far-reaching volume surpasses other introductions to Christianity in its combination of depth and scope, and its attentiveness to the contributions of women, of different liberationists, and, indeed, of Jews and Muslims, to Christian thought. Its focus is not the Church or Christian movements or practice, but theology. It brings the story of theology alive by telling it through the people and circumstances in which theological understanding has been demanded, mined, sculpted and honed." 
- Harriet Harris, Member of the Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford, and Chaplain of Wadham College, Oxford

"Focusing on both key individuals as well as broader movements, the authors demonstrate a skill for portraying the nuances of Christian thought, its context, and a spectrum of scholarly opinions on various topics in an accessible fashion. The result is a highly useful resource for students and scholars alike … the clarity with which Meister and Stump write on such a variety of subjects is admirable, as is their fair-minded analysis and inclusive approach." – D.A. Schmidt, Princeton Theological Seminary,USA, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415440066
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 7/9/2010
  • Pages: 552
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Chad Meister is Professor in the School of Religion and Philosophy at Bethel College in Indiana. His previous publications include Introducing Philosophy of Religion (Routledge, 2009) and The Cambridge Companion to Christian Philosophical Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

J. B. Stump is also Professor in the School of Religion and Philosophy at Bethel College in Indiana. His research is in the history of ideas and in the field of science and religion. He is co-editor of the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures. Acknowledgements. Introduction Part 1: Incubation and Origins: The Ancient Period 500BCE to 70CE 1. The Pre-History of Christian Thought 2. Jesus of Nazareth 3. The Apostle Paul: His Thought and Context 4. The Break from Judaism Part 2: Definition and Resistance: The Patristic Period 70-451 5. Persecution of Christians 6. Spirituality and Asceticism: Desert Fathers and Mothers 7. The Christian Apologists: Interacting with Gnosticism and Other 'Heresies' 8. The Early Church Councils: Christological Controversy and Definition 9. Trinitarian Debate 10. Formation of the New Testament Canon 11. Augustine: Philosopher, Theologian, and Church Father Part 3: Establishment and Diversification: The Medieval Period 500-1500 12. Monasticism of the Early Middle Ages 13. Eastern Christianity Splits from the West 14. Anselm, Abelard, and Bernard 15. Islam and Judaism in the Middle Ages 16. Women and Theology in the Middle Ages 17. Thomas Aquinas 18. Preparation for Reform Part 4: Protest and Revolution: The Reformtion Period 1500-1700 19. Martin Luther 20. The Reformed Tradition 21. Protesting Against the Protestants: Anabaptism and the Radical Reformation 22. Reformation Continues: The English and the Catholics Part 5: Enlightenment and Evolution: The Modern Period 1700-2000 23. The Challenge of Modernism 24. Pietism and Revivalism 25. Romanticism's Response to Enlightenment Theology 26. Neo-Orthodoxy: Karl Barth and Others 27. Major Theological Traditions and Developments in the 20th Century 28. Conclusion: Recent and Emerging Themes Glossary. Notes. Index
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