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The History of Christianity The Early Church to the Reformation Jonathan Hill

20th November 2020
Digital (delivered electronically)
408 pages:
Lion Scholar
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How did a group of scared peasants from a backwater of the Roman empire – followers of an executed criminal – form the largest religion on the planet?

The story of Christianity, its transformation from an illegal sect to the religion of emperors, kings and presidents, and its spread across the globe, is an endlessly fascinating one. 

The History of Christianity gives readers an overview of these extraordinary 2,000 years. It is a history not only of how Christianity has changed the world, but also of how the world has changed Christianity.

The first half of this volume is arranged mostly chronologically to create a single narrative from the age of exploration to the late twentieth century.

The second half describes the history of the church in the past hundred years or so, with each chapter focusing on a different part of the world. 

Boxed features throughout the volume highlight especially important figures or themes from each of these periods. The History of Christianity:The Age of Exploration to the Modern Day will be welcomed by all those wanting a lively and engaging presentation of the people, events, places, and plain curiosities that have formed the Christian story.

Timeline of Christian History 9
Introduction 17
1. Christian Beginnings 19
The Setting 19
The Roman Empire 19
Palestine 20
Judaism 21
The First Christians 26
The Resurrection 26
Jesus (Peter Walker) 27
Pentecost 30
The Christian Community 31
Divisions and Disagreements 33
A theology of mission: Paul
(Jonathan Hill) 35
Christian Writings 38
The Faith of the Christians 39
Living in the Last Days 39
Faith in Christ 40
The ‘New Israel’ 44
Life in the Church 46
The Christian Rites 46
Leading the Community 48
The Spread of Christianity 50
Church and Synagogue 50
Christianity in the Empire 53
Beyond the Empire 55

2. The Young Church 58
The Roman Empire 58
Christianity in the Empire 60
Becoming a Christian 60
Leading the Community 62
The Christian Life 66
Ignatius of Antioch (Thomas Weinandy) 67
The Catacombs 70
The Christian Problem 71
Hellenistic Culture 76
Hellenistic Philosophy 77
Hellenistic Religion 77
Other Religions in the Empire 78
The Hellenizing of Christianity 80
The Decline of Jewish Christianity 80
Institutions and Rites 82
Hellenistic Theology 83
Heresy, Orthodoxy and the Birth of Theology 84
The New Prophecy 84
Ebionism 85
Gnosticism 85
The Foundation of Orthodoxy 87
A Christian philosophy: Origen (John McGuckin) 89
The Role of Scripture 91

3. Christian Rome 96
The Conversion of Constantine 96
Christians in a Christian Empire 98
The Arian Conflict 102
Arius 102
The Council of Nicaea 103
The Crisis Deepens 105
Athanasius, Hilary and Gregory of Nazianzus (Andrew Louth) 106
The Crisis Resolved 109
The Monks 111
Antony of Egypt 111
The Desert Fathers 112
The Monastic Ideal 114
New Disputes 115
Jovinianism 116
Pelagianism 116
Augustine (Andrew Knowles) 118
Schism 120
The Empire Crumbles 121
The Christological Controversy 126
Cyril of Alexandria (Thomas Weinandy) 128

4. Africa, the Middle East and
the Missions East 131
The Monophysite Movement and the Byzantine Empire 131
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (Paul Rorem) 135
The Monophysites and the Middle Eastern Wars 136
Monophysitism Outside the Empire 138
The Armenian Church 138
Ethiopia 139
The Nubian Kingdoms 141
The Church of the East 143
A Nestorian Church? 144
Eastern Spirituality, from Ephraim the Syrian to Isaac of Nineveh (John Healey) 147
Missions to the East 148
Central Asia 149
The Early Chinese Church 150
The Mongols and the Yuan Dynasty 151
The Malabar Church 152
Nestorians in Indonesia 154
The Coming of Islam 155
The Church of the East under Islam 157
Nubia in the Age of Islam 161
Ethiopia in the Age of Islam 164
New Dynasties, New Wars 165
The Sabbatarian Controversy 166

5. The Byzantine Empire 168
Byzantium and the Orthodox Church 168
Emperors, Churches and Heaven on Earth 168
The Monasteries 174
Christ on Earth and Christ in Paint: The Controversies 176
The Three Chapters 176
Monotheletism 177
From Monotheletism to Iconoclasm 179
The Isaurians 179
The Female Emperor and the Second Council of Nicaea 182
The Final Phase 183
Other Nations, Other Churches 185
Rome 185
Avars, Slavs, Bulgars and Magyars 186
The Filioque (Thomas Graumann) 187
Missions to Eastern Europe 189
A Dwindling Empire 192
New Heresies 193
New Enemies, New Defeats 195
The Last Days 197
Gregory Palamas (Constantine Scouteris) 201

6. A New Europe 204
Europe After the Empire 204
Italy under the Ostrogoths 205
Spain under the Visigoths 207
The Franks 208
Celtic Christianity 209
The Conversion of Ireland 210
A Monastic Church 210
The development of the monasteries (Thomas O’Loughlin) 212
The Celtic Missions 214
The Rise of the Papacy 215
The Bishops of Imperial Rome 215
The Papacy and the Barbarians 217
Mission and the Spread of Papal Power 219
The church in England (Stephen Platten) 220
Christianity and paganism (Lesley Abrams) 223
Christianity in the Vice: The Late Dark Ages 224
Al-Andalus and the Mozarebs 225
The Carolingians 226
The Age of Charlemagne 227
The Carolingian Renaissance 229
Tradition and innovation in ninth-century theology (Elina Screen) 231
Hungary: The Eastern Border 232
The Vikings 233

7. The High Middle Ages 237
Medieval Europe 237
The Emergence of Nations 237
The Feudal System 238
Feudalism and the Church 239
Spirituality, Reform and the Papacy 240
The Cluniac Movement 240
Corruption and Reform 241
Medieval religious life (Justin Clegg) 243
Carthusians and Cistercians 247
Innocent III and the Fourth Lateran Council 249
The Friars 251
Francis and Clare (Michael Robson) 253
The World of Faith and Reason 255
Early Scholasticism 255
Scholasticism Develops 257
The Flowering of Scholasticism 258
Thomas Aquinas (Richard Cross) 260
Buildings and Beauty 262
Christendom and Its Neighbours 263
Relations with the Byzantine Church 264
The Crusades 266
The Crusades and Europe 268
Heresy and Orthodoxy 271
The Waldensians 271
The Cathars 273
The Inquisition (Edward Peters) 275
The Decline of the Middle Ages 277
The Avignon Captivity and the Great Schism 278
Critics and Reformers 280

8. Russia: The Heir of Byzantium 283
The Conversion of the Russians 283
Vladimir and the Links to Byzantium 284
Christianity Becomes Established 285
The Third Rome 286
The Church under the Tatars 286
Christianizing the Russians Paul Steeves) 287
The Threat from the West 289
The Rise of Moscow 291
Art, Architecture and Christian Culture 293
Ivan ‘The Terrible’ 294
Ivan IV, the Hundred Chapters Council and a new state church (Paul Steeves) 295
Monasticism and Spirituality 297
The Russian Monasteries 297
Russian Mysticism 300
The Holy Fools 301
Early Modern Russia 302
The Time of Troubles 303
The Great Sovereign 303
Sects and Schismatics 304

9. The Reformation 306
The Renaissance 306
New Economies, New Societies 306
Back to Basics 307
Humanism and the cult of the ‘text’ (Kenneth Austin) 308
Mysticism and Science 309
The condemnation of Galileo (David Lindberg) 310
Backlashes 314
The Renaissance Papacy 315
The Early Reformation 318
Martin Luther and the 95 Theses 318
The New Churches 322
The Swiss Reformation 324
The Radical Reformation 326
The Church of England 327
The Catholic Response 331
The Council of Trent 332
A new spirituality: The Carmelite mystics (Edward Howells) 333
The Jesuits 336
The Later Reformation 339
John Calvin and the Reformed Tradition 339
The Protestant Rome (Carl Trueman) 341
Europe Divided 343
Baptists and Quakers 347
Witch hunting (Allison Coudert) 349
The Wars of Religion 351
Glossary 355
Contributors 365
Bibliography 367

Jonathan Hill is Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion at the University of Exeter. He holds an MPhil in Theology from Oxford, and a PhD in Philosophy from the National University of Singapore. He is the author of the highly acclaimed The History of Christian Thought (Lion, 2003), What Has Christianity Ever Done for Us? (Lion, 2005), The Big Questions (Lion, 2007), and The New Lion Handbook: The History of Christianity (Lion, 2007).

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