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A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

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Maps are included throughout the text, helping to illuminate every chapter of Christianity’s global journey. The rest of the book is fluff and stuff I could get from any feel-good motivational speaker, Christian or non-, on any channel at 3 in the motning. But what you do see in Gibbon is a very exhilarating rejection of priestcraft, the claims of the Church to absolute authority, and the attempts of the Church to boss people around in their lives.

The people who also shared his land, the British Isles, – the Celts, the Irish, the Welsh, and the Scots – were not as loyal to Rome. These questions were of critical importance when Christianity emerged, and Forsyth’s book provides essential context. Strike two for me came at about page 70 when I realized that Kelly kept writing about people “becoming Christians,” yet he hadn’t once shared the Gospel. The first American edition was titled Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, published in 2010 by Viking Press, imprint of Penguin Books.Christian history had been going for six centuries or so; there were little fragments of history in some big books. His other broadcasting work includes How God Made the English (2012), Henry VIII’s Fixer: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell (2012) and Sex and the Church (2015).

Taking in wars, empires, reformers, apostles, sects, churches and crusaders, Diarmaid MacCulloch shows how Christianity has brought humanity to the most terrible acts of cruelty - and inspired its most sublime accomplishments. His Thomas Cranmer won the Whitbread Biography Prize, the James Tait Black Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize.Bestselling British novelist Cara Hunter—author of the DI Fawley series and Murder in the Family—talks us through some of her favourite crime novels set in the city of dreaming spires. It's about time that someone wrote church history that tells about people, not just about "eras" and "ages. This first book in the Mark of the Lion series is so much more than a book about early Christianity and why Rome hated it.

Transported two thousand years into the past, readers are introduced to Antipas, a Roman civic leader who has encountered the writings of the biblical author Luke.

In terms of his specific argument – that Christianity helped cause the collapse of the Roman Empire by, amongst other things, preaching ‘patience and pusillanimity’ – has that been borne out by modern scholarship? Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human. He shows how, after a semblance of unity in its earliest centuries, the Christian church divided during the next 1400 years into three increasingly distanced parts, of which the western Church was by no means always the most important: he observes that at the end of the first eight centuries of Christian history, Baghdad might have seemed a more likely capital for worldwide Christianity than Rome. I had to wait until my college years to find that out by reading Francis Schaeffer’s book Art and the Bible. Traditionally a lot of writing about the Scottish Reformation presents a picture of an enormously gloomy, repressive society – and there’s something in that.

So Bede’s story is celebrating his people’s association with this far away place, Rome, which was the centre of the Roman Empire. More than that, because the Christian Church has been in Africa, in Egypt, since the 1st century of the Christian era, and it’s been in Ethiopia since at least the 4th century of the Christian era.

While wealthy Roman citizens indulge their every whim, Jews and barbarians are bought and sold as slaves and gladiators in the bloodthirsty arena. He’s travelled as far as China, throughout Central Asia, and to India, taking beautiful colour photos. For the historian Charles Freeman, this noxious combination of secular and ecclesiastical power stands as the origin of the development he described earlier in The Closing of the Western Mind (Anchor, 2005).

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