Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture

Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture

by Jaroslav Pelikan
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Yale University Press
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Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture

One of the most highly regarded works of intellectual history of the past decade, Jesus Through the Centuries is an original and compelling study of the impact of Jesus on cultural, political, social, and economic history. Noted historian and theologian Jaroslav Pelikan reveals how the image of Jesus created by each successive epoch—from rabbi in the first century to liberator in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—is a key to understanding the temper and values of that age.
“A rich and expansive description of Jesus’ impact on the general history of culture. . . . Believers and skeptics alike will find it a sweeping visual and conceptual panorama.”—John Koenig, front page, New York Times Book Review
“An enlightening and often dramatic story . . . as stimulating as it is informative.”—John Gross, New York Times
“A gracious little masterpiece.”—Thomas D'Evelyn, Christian Science Monitor
“A book of uncommon brilliance.”—Nathan A. Scott, Jr., Commonweal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300079876
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 11/28/1999
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 260,414
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface xv(2)
A Personal Preface to Jesus Through the Centuries for the Year 2000 xvii
Introduction The Good, the True, and the Beautiful The nature and purpose of this book: not a life of Jesus, nor a history of Christianity, nor even a history of theological doctrines about Jesus, but a series of images portraying his place in the history of culture. 1(8)
1 The Rabbi
Jesus as teacher and prophet in the setting of first-century Judaism
the Jewishness of the New Testament in relation to the tradition of Israel.
2 The Turning Point of History
The significance of Christ for human history
apocalypse, prophecy, and ethics in the first and second centuries
the implications of the life of Jesus for biography and historiography.
3 The Light of the Gentiles
Pagan "anticipations" of Christ, especially Socrates and Vergil
the message of Christian missionaries and apologists to the Greco-Roman world of the second and third centuries.
4 The King of Kings
The lordship of Caesar versus the lordship of Christ in the Roman Empire of the second and third centuries
the triumph of Constantine as Caesar and as Christian; the rise of the "Christian Empire" in the fourth century.
5 The Cosmic Christ Christ the Logos as the mind, reason, and word of God and as the meaning of the universe in the Christianized Platonic philosophy of the third and fourth centuries.
6 The Son of Man The incarnate Son of God as the revelation both of the promise of human life and of the power of evil, according to the Christian psychology and anthropology worked out above all by Augustine in the fifth century.
7 The True Image
Christ as the inspiration for a new art and architecture in Byzantine culture
the artistic and metaphysical meaning of the icons in the eighth and ninth centuries.
8 Christ Crucified
The cross in literature and art
the crucified Christ as "the power of God and the wisdom of God" in the Middle Ages
metaphors for the saving work of Christ in the language of the tenth and eleventh centuries.
9 The Monk Who Rules the World
The Benedictine definition of "love for Christ" as denial of the world
monastic conquest of the world and of the church
monasticism and politics in the medieval Western society of the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
10 The Bridegroom of the Soul
Christian and non-Christian sources of Christ-mysticism
sacred and profane love in the allegorical interpretation of the Song of Songs
the problem of the relation between secular and sacred in mystical language and thought.
11 The Divine and Human Model
The rediscovery of the full humanity of Jesus through Francis of Assisi, "the second Christ"
the Franciscan image of Jesus as the inspiration for demands in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries that society and the institutional church be radically transformed.
12 The Universal Man
The Renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, with its image of Jesus, as the rebirth of the Christian gospel
"sacred philology" and "the philosophy of Christ" in Erasmus and other humanists.
13 The Mirror of the Eternal
Reformation images of Christ
Christ as the Mirror of the True in the new vernacular, as the Mirror of the Beautiful in Reformation art and in the literature of the Catholic Reformation in Spain, as the Mirror of the Good in the Christian politics of Calvin and the Reformed tradition.
14 The Prince of Peace
The Reformation and the Wars of Religion
"just war" as justified by the teaching and example of Jesus
Crusade as "holy war" sanctified in the name of Jesus
the resurgence of pacifism in the spirit of Christ as Prince of Peace.
15 The Teacher of Common Sense
The quest of the historical Jesus in the scholarship and philosophy of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment
the effort to go beyond (or behind) the Christ of dogma to the system of morals he represented.
16 The Poet of the Spirit Idealism in the philosophy of the nineteenth century and Romanticism in its art and literature: their protest against both orthodox rigidity and rationalist banality, and their portrayal of the beauty and sublimity of Jesus as the "bard of the Holy Ghost" (Emerson).
17 The Liberator Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from Tolstoy to Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King, the use of Jesus' prophetic opposition to the economic and social injustice of his time as the dynamic for revolutionary change in the ordering of human relations, public as well as private.
18 The Man Who Belongs to the World
The unprecedented circulation of the message of Jesus, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, into Asia and Africa
the relation between Jesus and other "Teachers of the Way"
Jesus as a world figure, also beyond the borders of Christendom.
Notes 235(24)
Index of Proper Names 259(9)
Index of Biblical References 268

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Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this for my Judeo-Christian Heritage class and really was amazed by how it changed my view of church history. I came to understand the various contraversies that have always existed in the church and enjoyed finding out how other more temporary issues were resolved. As a protestant, this book also helped me to appreciate catholicism and its enormous impact on current Christian practices.