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The Early Christian Centures Paperback – April 12, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0582256538 ISBN-10: 0582256534 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (April 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0582256534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582256538
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,153,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'A sweeping work by one of the leading historians of late antiquity. This is early Christianity as it was actually lived and experienced.' 

Averil Cameron, Keble College, Oxford 

The book of an epoch in more than one sense...This is a work whose huge experience sets the reader free to try the perspectives that open on every page. Colourful in feeling, thought and action, The Early Christian Centuries gives as sharp a sense as one can now imagine having of how Christianity made itself 'part of history'. 

Mark Vessey, University of British Columbia

' ...the scope of Rousseau's work sets this volume apart... an accurate and articulate treatment of the first 600 years of Christianity.'

David Meconi, Journal of Ancient Christianity, Volume 10, 2006, Issue 1

From the Back Cover

¿A sweeping work by one of the leading historians of late antiquity. This is early Christianity as it was actually lived and experienced.¿

Averil Cameron, Keble College, Oxford

¿The book of an epoch in more than one sense¿Colourful in feeling, thought and action.¿

Mark Vessey, University of British Columbia.

The first six centuries of Christianity were perhaps the most dramatic in its history, as a faith held by a small group expanded to become a dominant world religion.

The Early Christian Centuries

is the full story of those first six hundred years. Starting in the world of second-temple Judaism The Early Christian Centuries carries the reader down to the Byzantine age, the rise of Islam, and the beginnings of medieval European polities.

With a combination of rare tact and acuity, Philip Rousseau gives a colourful history of early Christianity and the late Roman world. He stresses the importance of shifting historical consciousness, the continuity and development of ideas, and the urge for social respectability.

Paying the greatest attention to the ¿inner¿ components of the Christian life - authority, worship, biblical interpretation, moral seriousness, and spiritual idealism - the resulting story also captures fully the major figures including full chapters on Jesus and Paul.

Philip Rousseau is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Early Christian Studies at the Catholic University of America.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By michael knudson on July 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read many books which cover the early centuries of church history. This one stands out in that Rousseau tries to bring the reader to view the period from below rather than from the perspective of the writing Bishops (Irenaeus for one) and other theologians. Rousseau is building a case for Christianity having advanced by momentum because it helped people not only because it was intellectually/doctrinally superior.

His chapter summaries were very helpful. His twice walking the reader through the outline of the book's argument was also very helpful (p. 3 and p. 150). Especially so because his writing style, in this book, is at times esoteric, more so than his "Basil of Caesarea". I don't fault him for that, it can be invigorating when he let's his intellect shine. His recommended readings at the end of each chapter are helpful as is his singling out one book from the lst as a starting point.

His emphasis on the ascetics as as urban phenomenon was eye opening.

I marked this book all up! That is a good sign.
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