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A History of Christian Thought, Vol. 1: From the Beginnings to the Council of Chalcedon Paperback – July 1, 1987

3.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

This acclaimed, three-volume series has been completely revised to provide a readable, definitive, and completely updated treatment of the evolution of Christian thought from the early church to the great flowering of Christianity in the Middle ages, through the Reformation and the Enlightenment, to the Twentieth century.

About the Author

Justo L. González has taught at the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico and Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He is the author of many books, including Church History: An Essential Guide and To All Nations From All Nations, both published by Abingdon Press. 

Justo L. González es un ampliamente leído y respetado historiador y teólogo. Es el autor de numerosas obras que incluyen tres volúmenes de su Historia del Pensamiento Cristiano, la colección de Tres Meses en la Escuela de... (Mateo... Juan... Patmos... Prisión... Espíritu), Breve Historia de las Doctrinas Cristianas y El ministerio de la palabra escrita, todas publicadas por Abingdon Press.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press; 2nd Revised edition (July 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0687171822
  • ISBN-13: 978-0687171828
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this first volume on the development of Christian thought, Gonzalez outlines the main currents of theology and how they progressed during the first ~450 years after Christ. He begins with an interesting look into the religious culture of the Jews and the Graeco-Romans around the time when Jesus Christ came into the world. He moves on to describe the writings of the "Apostolic Fathers," some of the oldest Christian literature written after the New Testament, and then progresses into the main stream of the book. The main course of the book is devoted to discussing the thought of the major theologians in the first 5 centuries, and how various controversies circulated through the church. Gonzalez explains how the church handled these issues, and the resulting theology that came from responding to various heresies. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the development of trinitarian doctrine and the corresponding refutation of Arianism, and then the later Christological controversies enter in during the latter portion of the book. There is certainly a great deal that the church today can learn from looking at its past, and this book offers a good overview of the main issues in Christianity during those early years. One might find themselves surprised that some of the same issues are still discussed today, reminding us that Solomon was right when he said "There is nothing new under the sun."
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Format: Paperback
Justo Gonzoles' comprehensive perspective on the historical development of doctrine can be both inspiring and overwhelming. His attempt to summarize the major movements and developments in the first four centuries of the church in Volume one was more successful than the following synthesis of a thousand years in fewer pages. The early church and ecumenical councils develop in a manner linear enough that are amenable to this sort of treatment. Gonzales' text is readable and could, at times, even be classified as fun (rare for a history of doctrine text). He does a particularly good job with the Apostolic Fathers and the early heresies.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This series of books does an excellent job of laying out the issues that confronted Christianity during the first few hundred years. Gonzalez writes in a very accessible style, and tries to keep the technical language to a minimum.
No matter what your exposure to the issues, this book provides an excellent summary and introduction, and is one that I recommend to friends who need a basic grounding in eary Christian thought.
Gonzalez presents a generally balanced view, though it seems that the "orthodox" position is generally portrayed in the best light in most cases, though not to such an extent that the book is heavily biased.
Overall, an excellent introduction and summary. I strongly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book to be enlightening on the early Christian years. It seems to be an excellent summary of documentation that is currently available on the early church. Particularly interesting to me were the discussions on early schisms -- particularly with the gnostic movements. The book does well describing the issues that led to the many councils that defined the course of Christianity.
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Format: Paperback
Justo Gonzalez demonstrates his breadth and depth of the source materials by summarizing the main writers and themes of the early church in a readable translation. Further, he includes other historians' comments in the footnotes on the same page, giving readily available references to more in depth areas if needed. I have used it as the background text for the adult class at my church with great success. I recommend it without qualification.
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By S. Baggerman on February 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let me start first by saying I have no problem with the content of the book. I use it as a (mandatory) study book for Church History in my MDiv of Theology. It clearly sets out the thoughts, theology and backgrounds that prevailed during past times.

But it seems that this ebook has been OCRed without any further review. Incorrect punctuation, misspellings (e.g. setde rather than settle) and especially in connection with cross references parts of sentences are missing to then later find that they have been displaced up to a whole paragraph.

When you want to do some concentrated reading/studying, this is not what you're hoping to see. So far I'm half way reading the book and have submitted many suggestions for correction using my computer version of Kindle. I hope they will quickly integrate these corrections and publish a new version of this ebook.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I first came across this book nearly 36 years ago. At the time I was an assistant professor of philosophy at a state university and was a new convert to Christianity. I had become interested in the early Christological controversies and needed an easy-to-understand history of these controversies in particular and the development of Christianity during the first few centuries in general. Justo Gonzalez's "A History of Christian Thought" along with a volume by Jaroslav Pelikan were the two books that were most helpful in my coming to understand the development of doctrine in the early church. Gonzalez's book in particular was useful. It is written in a clear, jargon-free way, one that allows a relative novice to understand the issues. Over the years I have continued my study of church history, and although I've studied many other books, I continue to find Volume 1 of Gonzalez's three-volume work to be a great resource, one that I use often when needing to refresh my memory on a particular point. I would highly recommend this book as a great introduction to the history of Christian doctrine of the first few centuries.
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