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History Of The Church #1 The Early Church Revised Paperback – Dec 1 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin UK; Revised edition (Dec 1 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140231994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140231991
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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THE first Christians were Jews. Read the first page
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Labarum on May 29 2003
Format: Paperback
With the recent resurgence of interest in the historic churches, histories of the early Church have attracted a greater audience. While this development is surely welcome, there is a growing tendency to quote (or misquote) the Church Fathers to support one's own theological position. There have also been works of Church history where the sole purpose appears to be "spinning" historical facts in order to validate theological presuppositions. Such polemical volumes are generally aimed at a large audience and so are often written in a popular style. More impartial works are often comprehensive tomes poorly suited to those seeking an introduction to the patristic era.
Henry Chadwick's The Early Church goes a long way in solving this problem. Written as part of Penguin's History of the Church series, this excellent work is a great place for those with an interest in early Church history to begin their investigations. Chadwick arranges the sections thematically rather than chronologically - allowing a clearer focus for the reader - and masterfully covers all the major currents in the patristic era without leaving his audience adrift in a sea of minutiae. Beginners to the subject of Church history may find it useful to read the book, digest the information, and then reread it, as they will be better prepared to see how the various theological and political currents interacted in the development of Christian orthodoxy.
Those who approach the topic with a theological axe to grind will not find solace in this book. Chadwick is nothing if not an honest historian and both sides in the Protestant/Roman Catholic apologetics wars may feel a bit uncomfortable at times.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mel on Dec 10 2003
Format: Paperback
I found Chadwick's work to be a masterpiece and highly enjoybale. Every area of his scholarship (both from what I know and what others have written concerning his works) is as near perfect as can be. This is a standard work in most seminaries and is a must read for any Christian serious about their Faith.
What he explains is neither Roman Catholic or Protestant, he explains the Church like it was and still is in the Orthodox Church which is really shocking for RCs and Protestants that it wasn't either way but rather just how it is, if they know about it, in the Orthodox Church. That there was no Sola Scriptora and that the sacraments and lituragy were an integral part of Christian worship from the time of Christ on is odd for most Protestants of a non-traditional background.
For the Roman Catholics it is shocking to find out there was no Filioque or the theology which goes with it and that it was actually condemned by the Church at the city of Rome from the beginning of its introduction. Nor was there anything like the modern day papacy. That in fact, the Pope was just a bishop among bishops, all he could do was rule over the city of Rome just as any other bishop and could give a judgement to two bishops if they both decided to appeal to him to solve a minor problem of jurisdiction (a primus interpares), there was no Papal infallibility, cardinals, madatory celibacy for the priesthood, purgatory, etc. and how the "Rock" Christ says he will build His Church on, when read in Greek, is not refering to Peter, but is refering to his proclamation which all Church Fathers, even Augustine agreed on.
As a convert to Orthodox Christianity I was not at all surprised to read what I read, even though it's from an Anglican who still manages to surport Orthodoxy simply through telling it how it is.
I highly recommend it, short read, full of important and integral history to Christianity, a must read.
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Format: Paperback
"The Early Church" provides the reader with an excellent history of the first six centuries of Christianity. Author Henry Chadwick covers structural and doctrinal development, along with the rise and fall of heresies and introductions to the leading characters of the period.

This excellent book provides an overview of so many things which casual students of Church history probably heard of but may not have really understood. From my reading of this book I have a better understanding of early heresies including Arianism (Jesus was not co-eternal with the Father), Donatism (no reconciliation with apostates) Manichaeism (a secret, gnostic type sect) and Pelagianism (denial of original sin). The role of councils, such as Nicaea, in combating heresy and guiding the development of orthodoxy is made clearer. A greater understanding of the roles of the Church Fathers such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian, Theodore of Mopsuestia, St. Jerome and St. Augustine is gained by the reader of this book.

From a theological or historical perspective this book is a treasure. One test I apply to books is whether they inspire me to study more. This one does. I am confident that it will do the same for you.
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Format: Paperback
Chadwick provides his readers with a thorough historical account of the early Christian church. He begins with the Jewish context into which the church was born, tells how the church grew and developed in the ensuing centuries, and takes the reader all the way to the Germanic invasions and their aftermath. The book is written in Chadwick's usual scholarly style, and has gained a wide reputation as an excellent source for the student or the layman who wishes to find out more about the early church.
His unromantic approach is one of Chadwick's strongest points, and is quite clear from the way he deals with, for instance, the conversion of Constantine and the Council of Nicaea in chapter 8. Constantine's conversion is not portrayed as spectacular and immediate as we find in certain history books. Rather, we see a military strategist who initially did not quite know the difference between Christianity and the 'Unconquered Sun', the deity to whom the Roman senate attributed Constantine's legendary victory over the troops of Maxentius at the Milvian bridge in 312, but one who nevertheless gravitated from solar monotheism to Christianity.
In my view Chadwick has done the church an immense favour by writing this book. The book has been reprinted many times, and it is widely used and referred to as a reliable source on the early church. The book does not read quite as easy as some modern works on church history, and this might be due to the fact that it was written in 1967, before the concept of 'user-friendliness' were popularised. The paragraphs are sometimes long (a single paragraph would often be longer than an entire page), and one wonders if the time has not perhaps arrived for a newer and easier to read version, edited to compensate for the collective attention deficiency disorder of the culture we live in. By doing so the book might be accessible to a much wider audience.
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