Heresy: A History of Defending the Truth

Overview

Why the Church must defend the truth.

Our ongoing fascination with alternative Christianities is ondisplay every time a never-before-seen gospel text is revealed,an archaeological discovery about Jesus makes front-page news, or anew work of fiction challenges the very foundations of the church.Now, in a timely corrective to this trend, renowned church historianAlister McGrath examines the history of subversive ideas, overturningcommon misconceptions that heresy is somehow more ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (19) from $3.50   
  • New (9) from $7.44   
  • Used (10) from $3.50   
Heresy

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price

Overview

Why the Church must defend the truth.

Our ongoing fascination with alternative Christianities is ondisplay every time a never-before-seen gospel text is revealed,an archaeological discovery about Jesus makes front-page news, or anew work of fiction challenges the very foundations of the church.Now, in a timely corrective to this trend, renowned church historianAlister McGrath examines the history of subversive ideas, overturningcommon misconceptions that heresy is somehow more spiritual orliberating than traditional dogma. In so doing, he presents a powerful,compassionate orthodoxy that will equip the church to meet thechallenge from renewed forms of heresy today.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Justo L. Gonzalez
"Not only a riveting story of ancient controversies, but also a much needed and timely correction to the commonly held notion that heretics were mostly free thinkers who challenged a narrow and closed orthodoxy."
Dallas Willard
“Alister McGrath helps us understand what heresy is and why it exercises a powerful attraction upon the human mind. It is full of illuminating historical discussions and insights into the motivations that lead people to adopt heresy as a style of life and a personal demeanor.”
Justo L. González
“Not only a riveting story of ancient controversies, but also a much needed and timely correction to the commonly held notion that heretics were mostly free thinkers who challenged a narrow and closed orthodoxy.”
Booklist
“A penetrating examination by an intellectual powerhouse.”
Booklist
“A penetrating examination by an intellectual powerhouse.”
Library Journal
McGrath (theology, religion, & culture, King's Coll., Univ. of London; Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-First Century) has written a scholarly synthesis of recent studies on the history of heresy in the Christian church, incorporating social, cultural, and theological aspects. Although he individually examines numerous heresies (mostly from the patristic period), it is primarily to use them as case studies to illustrate salient points about heresy in general. This work is not intended to be a comprehensive history of heresies but a history of the development of the concept of heresy, including its implications for the church today. Throughout, McGrath contrasts his findings with various other perspectives from church history, including the currently fashionable view of heresy as the heroic suppressed victim of history's arbitrary winners, found in many newer works about noncanonical gospels, Gnosticism, or the historical Jesus. VERDICT Although there are sections in which McGrath seems to wander away from the book's principal focus, this is still a useful contribution to the dialog on the nature of heresy from an orthodox Protestant perspective. Recommended for students of theology.—Brian T. Sullivan, Alfred Univ. Lib., NY
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061998997
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Pages: 282
  • Sales rank: 672,220
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Alister E. McGrath is a historian, biochemist, and Christian theologian born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A longtime professor at Oxford University, he now holds the chair in theology, ministry, and education at the University of London. He is the author of several books on theology and history, including Christianity's Dangerous Idea, In the Beginning, and The Twilight of Atheism. He lives in Oxford, England, and lectures regularly in the United States.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

foreword Dr. Rick Warren v

introduction Our Love Affair with Heresy 1

part 1 What is Heresy?

1 Faith, Creeds, and the Christian Gospel 17

2 The Origins of the Idea of Heresy 33

part 2 The Roots of Heresy

3 Diversity: The Background of Early Heresy 43

4 The Early Development of Heresy 61

5 Is There an "Essence" of Heresy? 81

part 3 The Classic Heresies of Christianity

6 Early Classic Heresies: Ebionitism, Docetism, Valentinism 101

7 Later Classic Heresies: Arianism, Donatism, Pelagianism 135

part 4 The Enduring Impact of Heresy

8 Cultural and Intellectual Motivations for Heresy 175

9 Orthodoxy, Heresy, and Power 197

10 Heresy and the Islamic View of Christianity 223

conclusion The Future of Heresy 231

Notes 235

Index 271

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    A well documented science of heresy!

    It was a well documented science of early church heresy,and anyone interested on avoiding the mistakes of past christians will want to pick this one up.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Idea of "Heresy," and Why It's Important

    "Heresy" is actually a Greek word, originally meaning a "school of thought," and then meaning a "division" caused by a different school of thought. In church history a heretic was one who taught a variation of Christianity that the church condemned.

    "Heresy" is an unpopular category today, in the sense that it considered intolerant and narrow minded to accuse someone of heresy. On the other hand, it can be popular to be the heretic. This same attitude has made its way into historical studies of the Christian church. Movements within the church that were called heretical and were denounced and suppressed in the church are now considered to be equally valid streams of mainstream Christianity. The modern idea is that the "winners" determine what orthodoxy is; the "losers" are then labeled as heretics. Alister McGrath has done a great service in this book. He shows that this modern perspective is false-that the heretics were designated as heretics for a very good reason: their versions of Christianity contradicted its essential core, and, if adopted, would have been destructive to Christianity.

    Alister McGrath is professor in theology, ministry, and education at the University of London, and has written extensively on theology and related fields. McGrath defines and traces several early heresies in Christian history, three early ones (Ebionitism, Docetism, and Valentinism) and three later ones (Arianism, Donatism, and Pelagianism). He notes that these all sprang up from within the church; they were not rival movements from outside the church. They all were responding to cultural and intellectual pressures and threats to the church. Their proponents were not willfully trying to harm the faith, but rather to strengthen it in its struggle against other beliefs.

    A key principle the book develops is the nature of heresy. A heresy, as historically understood and has McGrath defines it, is a belief that varies from the mainstream Christian faith in such a way that, if consistently believed and followed, it would destroy the Christian faith itself. It attacks a necessary and foundational truth. There were many various beliefs held by Christians, but most of them did not affect these foundational truths, and therefore were not labeled as heresies.

    McGrath has done a masterful job outlining many of the early Christian heresies, and, more importantly, showing what the concept of heresy means and its importance for the continuation of the Christian church. His book is well documented, with 35 pages of notes and an index. I recommend this book to all students of Christian history and theology.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    Another timely and informative book by Alister McGrath

    I am never disappointed in an Alister McGrath book. He writes with scholarly thoroughness and accuracy. Some of his books have a devotional flavor that reveals a heart set on knowing God and Jesus Christ. I just finished his book, "A Passion For Truth," that lays out a convincing argument for the intellectual validity of Evangelicalism. This book makes a good follow-up, tracing the history of impostors in the Church. It requires full attention to appreciate the significance of what he is saying, but you will not be sorry for having given it. If you are interested in Church history, this book is an important addition to your library.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Level-Headed & Thoughtful

    The central piece of his work is on 6 early heresies: ebionitism, marcionitism, gnosticism, arianism, donatism & pelagianism. He does a nice job describing them in an even-handed, level-headed way.

    One of is overarching themes is that 'Christian' heresies evolved from within the Church. They were normally sincere & honest attempts at trying to explain Jesus that went astray. This constant thought keeps him from being a frothing-at- the-mouth fault-finder & heresy-hunter. In these core chapters he also shows how the first 3 heresies were not expunged by force or power-because the Church had no force or power. They simply either purged themselves (Marcion) or the Church simply grew to see their weaknesses & sort of turned its back on them (Ebionitism & Gnosticism). The later 3 heresies, the Constantianian Power was on the Heresies' side & not necessarily the Church's (esp. Arianism) & the sword was often weilded on behalf of the heresies & not on the side of orthodoxy. But the Church came to see that the heresies had taken a wrong turn & were headed for a wreck & resisted the pressure of the State etc. A.M. takes on Bauer & Pagels & those who romanticize the heresies. He makes some surprisingly helpful observations in this regard.

    Surrounding the core chapters are chapters where he appears to be developing another thought: orthodox doctrine developed, or chrystallized or grew from a seed to a fuller flowering plant. Sometimes his approach would put him at odds with Eastern Orthodoxy, but I think he finally pounds out a sober case for what he means & what he is explaining, in a way that might be agreed on by both East & West.

    One of his unspoken agendas appears to be with regard to the crisis in worldwide Anglicanism right now. Almost seemed to me that he was making a quiet & subtle case against the forceful manhandling that the African & [some] American Anglicans are promoting today.

    Well, I'm sure I have sold A.M. short in my little synopsis, but maybe this will give everyone an idea & whet their desire to purchase & read the book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)