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Story of Christianity: Volume 1, The: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation Paperback – Aug 10 2010


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Story of Christianity: Volume 1, The: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation + The Story Of Christianity: The Reformation to the Present Day + Finding Pieces of the Puzzle: A Fresh Look at the Christian Story
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 2nd edition (Aug. 10 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006185588X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061855887
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

In this fully revised and updated edition, the lauded church historian Justo González tells the story of Christianity from its fragile infancy to its pervasive dominance at the dawn of the Protestant Reformation. The Story of Christianity, volume 1, relates the dramatic events, the colorful characters, and the revolutionary ideas that shaped the first fifteen centuries of the church's life and thought.

From Jesus's faithful apostles to the early reformist John Wycliffe, González skillfully weaves details from the lives of prominent figures tracing core theological issues and developments within the various traditions of the church. The Story of Christianity demonstrates at each point what new challenges and opportunities faced the church and how Christians struggled with the various options open to them, thereby shaping the future direction of the church.

This new edition of The Story of Christianity incorporates recent archaeological discoveries to give us a better view of the early Christian communities. Among these are advances in the recovery of Gnostic texts that have revealed a richer diversity of "Christianities" in the first century. González also includes important research done in the past twenty-five years revealing the significant role of women throughout the history of the church.

With lively storytelling incorporating the latest research, The Story of Christianity provides a fascinating introduction to the panoramic history of Christianity.

About the Author

Justo L. González, retired professor of historical theology and author of the highly praised three-volume History of Christian Thought, attended United Seminary in Cuba and was the youngest person to be awarded a Ph. D in historical theology at Yale University. Over the past thirty years he has focused on developing programs for the theological education of Hispanics, and he has received four honorary doctorates.


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Format: Paperback
For a long time, the Protestant paradigm was that the church had been completely corrupted somewhere around the time of Constantine, and that Christian history was completely fallen until the Reformation, over 1000 years later. This book does away with that myth, and does an excellent job of demonstrating some of the continuous strains that bind contemporary Christianity with orthodox Christianity throughout the millennium and a half preceding the Protestant Reformation.

Its strongest points are found in its consideration of Constantine, its deep look at the monastic movement (which is often demonized by Protestants, including Luther), and its consideration of the early reformation movements which were genuinely attempting to reform, rather than divorce from, the Catholic Church.

The book was also very effectively written, done in such a way that almost anyone could pick it up and read sections of it without trouble. However, despite the fact that it is very readable for the majority of the time, there are stretches where the author attempts to consider entire stretches of history. These sections can be incredibly detailed and very tough to read through, which sometimes killed the momentum of the book. Also, as an academic, I was a little concerned with how invisible his process of citation was. It would have been nicer to have some solid endnote referencing to ensure that he really was drawing from reliable sources, although I have little doubt that that is the case judging by the complex and helpful way that he presents Christian history.

I look forward to reading more in part 2!
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It is clear, well written and comprehensive but I have only read the first six chapters. One of the rather silly and quaint comments from historians including this author, Mr. Gonzalez is to claim that some writing, dated to a hundred or more years later than the actual events, i.e. the martyrdom of a saint, should be discredited as a fictional tale about this said saint's death because it is at a later dater than the eye-witness account. However, his whole book should be discredited because it is based on events 500 to 1000 years ago, by himself, who is not an eye-witness to any of the events he describes in the book. I just wish that argument would stop being used in a historical academic textbook. (By the way, "current" events are often fictionalized, exaggerated or completely erroneous, so so-called eye-witness accounts of daily news can also be discredited.) What is odder still, is that the book, a history of Christianity, is about people, early Christians and later the Catholic Church, who believe that the Gospels as well as the Old Testament are indeed true accounts and these are histories that were written down at later dates than the actual events of God and of Jesus Christ. Paul's letters on the other hand are his own eye-witness accounts.
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Format: Paperback
This is part of a course that I am doing on the history of Christianity. Often books like this are rather heavy going but, I am finding this one an interesting and informative read. The author has an easy style of writing which makes this book very readable and a good start for anyone just begining their journey into the history of the Christian faith.
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