The polis included the surrounding mountains, fields, woods, shrines, as far as its frontiers; it was the collective mind of the community who made it up, and whose daily interactions and efforts at making decisions came to constitute ‘politics’. I only read the first 150 pages, plenty far enough to understand how MacCulloch feels about Christianity. It depresses me a bit because it is written in the cynical, anti-establishment style which is typical of the educated elite today, but it is valuable for its quality and the insight which it offers regarding the multitude of different takes on Christianity (most of them sincere and justified, none of them isolated from political expediency) which were the fruit of the early Church. As a double priests kid (both my parents were Anglican clergy) an assumption was usually made that I knew quite a bit about Christianity. I'll begin my review this way: there are a few reviewers who did not like this book due to the secular (but by no means anti-Christian) perspective most educated readers would expect from a serious church historian. Even if the meaning of the word is given one more layer of sophistication as ‘city-state’, the translation is inadequate to convey the resonance of polis, with the same sort of difficulty one might find in speaking of the resonance of the English word ‘home’. Abundant slave labour, after all, blunted the need for any major advance in technology. My Christ is obviously English and he, like me, loves churchyards and cathedrals, waits every year with eager anticipation for a decent carol service so he can join robustly in the old, familiar favourites, and if it ever snows at Christmas, likes to read Elliot's Journey of the Ma. Whether it be one person, one nature, and one will; or two people, one nature, and one will; or ....... doesn't make sense and never will and trying to understand that is a wasted effort and anyone who doesn't believe in my narrow interpretation is deserving of death (j/k, but historically that is what happened). This kind of book is exactly why the adjective "magisterial" was invented. I'm only halfway through and we've already covered: Rome, early popes, African christians, the Orthodox Church, the beginnings of various brotherhoods and convents, ways to pray, Constantine, early theologians and philosophers, pergatory, the energy of God. I'm what you might call a slightly bewildered agnostic, but I've always had a particular interest in Christianity. The results are frequently disappointing, and always terminate in the embarrassing non sequitur of death.”, “The only way in which Darwin's data made sense was to suppose that species battled for survival, and that evolution came when one slight adaptation of a species proved more successful than another in the battle: a process which he named 'natural selection'. It gets more PC the closer he gets to our time. ‘I'm the one with all the well-meaning rules that don't work out in real life…uh…Christianity.’ One of the many pleasures in Diarmaid MacCulloch's amazingly comprehensive book is getting a handle on what historical basis there is for the rules and doctrines of this prolific and mercurial religion, which nowadays seems characterized by extreme reactions of either perfect secular indifference or increasingly literalist devotion. It was neither as well flowing or as unbiased as I hoped it would be. He”, “Thucydides had grasped that vital historical insight that groups of people behave differently and have different motivations from individual human beings, and that they often behave far more discreditably than individuals.”, “The writing and telling of history is bedevilled by two human neuroses: horror at the desperate shapelessness and seeming lack of pattern in events, and regret for a lost golden age, a moment of happiness when all was well. I have found the historical review of Jesus, by Bart D. Ehrmann, to be a well balanced, historically comprehensive, and intellectually satisfying summary of the impact of Jesus' "apocalypsist" teachings. There was nothing benevolent about the providence which watched over the process. AbeBooks.com: A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years (9780713998696) by MacCulloch, Diarmaid and a great selection of similar New, … How did an obscure personality cult come to be the world's biggest religion, with a third of humanity its followers? Most readers will find parts of it objectionable--or, perhaps, find its omissions so. Three thousand years in even 1000+ pages is pushing the limits for any topic. It's not only huge, it's pretty overwhelmingly erudite. For the history of Christianity and its pre-history (the other 1000 years) in many places it is eclectic and only mars, not scratches the surface. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Christianity : The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch (2010, Hardcover) at the … My Christ is obviously English and he, like me, loves churchyards and cathedrals, waits every year with eager anticipation for a decent carol service so he can join robustly in the old, familiar favourites, and if it ever snows at Christmas, likes to read Elliot's Journey of the Magi and ponder the whole mystery of the thing. Doubtless anyone wishing to find fault can do so in a work of this breadth; this is not difficult but for me it should be taken as a whole and its worth becomes self evident. But this book, which is surely destined to become a classic in the field, goes a long way to explaining why Christianity has had so many schisms, so many sects and splinter groups, reformations and counter-reformations. I had high hopes for his one-volume Christian history with its intriguing title. the Rapture. Put these together and you have an urge to create elaborate patterns to make sense of things and to create a situation where the golden age is just waiting to spring to life again. Christianity, the religion, has done its share of good for the world, as the author describes, but it has its dark side too, practiced imperfectly over three thousand years. Note: Rated three out of five stars on Goodreads, as Goodreads defines three stars as "I like it" and two stars as "It's okay". Its quite humbling for those who maintain 'the correct doctrines' and at the same time. I'm what you might call a slightly bewildered agnostic, but I've always had a particular interest in Christianity. “Human societies are based on the human tendency to want things, and are geared to satisfying those wants: possessions or facilities to bring ease and personal satisfaction. I found the book deeply satisfying, and I recommend it highly. by Allen Lane, A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. whereas it is true that to cover 3000 years of human and religious history, the writer must default to an inch and a half below the surface and some readers may be disappointed in that factor, i decidedly was not. Ignore anyone who tells you it's anti-(insert your own sect here), and read it. MacCulloch is so uptight PC he must squeak when he walks. So much of its own history - fragmented, argumentative and hypocritical - has always seemed to be at odds with much of Christ's core message, and I've never quit understood how so many Christians can fail to see that contradiction in their own faith's history. Ehrmann states the historical fact of Jesus' crucifixion with incredible clarity, and without succumbing to wishful thinking regarding the brutality of the Roman crucifixions of Jesus time. Author MacCulloch, Diarmaid. Ignore anyone who tells you it's anti-(insert your own sect here), and read it. It's so learned, engaging, and comprehensive that by the time you finish it your mind feels full. It's rich with explanations of periods and time that my education skipped over—oh, let's be frank, my education didn't even go faintly near, periods like the entire history of the Eastern Christian Church and the millenium of Byzantine history. MacCulloch makes reading exhaustive history exhilarating rather than exhausting, and although everyone will have a favourite nit to pick - mine being the dubious treatment of Hegel, and the absence of anything about Erigena - only the most die-hard partisan could claim that this is anything other than brilliant. Readers' Most Anticipated Books of January. Before the hills rise to mountains in the north, they curve to the coast, enclosing the Kishon river valley running down to the sea. This is probably the best one-volume history of Christianity that you can find. This book is certainly thorough, however, it is neither straight forward or unbiased. Reason was served her notice as the handmaid of Christian revelation.”. Robert Louis Wilken's "The First Thousand" years is an exemplary survey of Christianity's first millenium. Another point that irked me about this book is the use of BCE and CE instead of AD and BC. This was not accurate as I neither had much interest in the subject, nor access to a decent history about the faith. New year! And I'm sure you'll be mining the 'recommended reading' section at the back of the book before you've finished chapter 7, at the latest. It's nothing less than an attempt at a truly "ecumenical" (pun intended) history of Christianity, covering not only its temporal history, which as you can tell by the subtitle goes back much farther than the BC-AD line, but also all of the different denominations, their doctrinal disputes, the major figures, philosophical lin. Sections. Most of the book is, by nature, extrapolation based on a very fragmented set of documents and conflicting histories, but MacCulloch is always overanxious to undermine Christianity by taking huge leaps of speculation and is never, at least that I saw in the first 150 pages, willing to. A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch: review. This book did not destroy my faith. The terms he uses are used by certain publishing houses and writers to "avoid offending non-Christians". A History of Christianity The First Three Thousand Years Diarmaid MacCulloch Allen Lane 1184pp 35 [pounds sterling] ISBN 978 971399869 6 The Cambridge History of Christianity Vol 4, Christianity in Western Europe, c.1100-c.1500 Miri Rubin & Walter Simons (eds.) New this month: Scandal rocks an elite British boarding school in The Divines. When Diarmaid MacCulloch was a small boy, his parents used to drive him round historic churches. The content ranges from the breezy, as in his descriptions of modern trends, to the dense, as in his treatment of the controversies animating the earliest church councils. And in all that time I still haven’t come up with something deeply insightful or clever to say. A dark secret spans several... To see what your friends thought of this book, I have found the historical review of Jesus, by Bart D. Ehrmann, to be a well balanced, historically comprehensive, and intellectually satisfying summ. It is not surprising, therefore, that the great powers of the ancient world repeatedly fought over such a strategic place.”, “Right down to the seventeenth century, Christian debate about faith and the world involved a debate between two Greek ghosts, Plato and Aristotle, who had never heard the name of Jesus Christ.”, A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. That's a very long span of history, in fact too broad of a scope to cover in great detail even with 1184 pages (actually 1000 pages plus table of contents, notes, bibliography, index and illustrations). This book, now the most comprehensive and up to date single volume … A massive book--over 1000 pages. For most of the book, my biggest problem is one that's basically impossible to solve in something with such a sweeping objective - too much stuff passes by in a flurry of names and dates without enough detail to understand it. I am going to look for a more balanced and complete history of Christianity. The title alone should tell potential readers that they are in for an interesting journey. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is a 2009 book by the British ecclesiastical historian Diarmaid MacCulloch. 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