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History of the World Christian Movement: Earliest Christianity to 1453 Paperback – September 17, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: History of the World Christian Movement
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books (September 17, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570753962
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570753961
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Well-researched and very readable." -- Methodist Recorder, 2 May 2002

"a lucid and informed account of the universal expansion of the Christian Churches...accessible without compromising intellectual integrity." --Church Times, 5 April 2002

Hands Down, this is the most balanced, comprehensive survey of pre-Reformation church history yet published...I have taught church history for a long time but I gained new insights from every chapter. --George Harper, in Journal of Asian Mission

Customer Reviews

The book is an interesting read.
PhD Leaner
There is great insight on what Christians were doing and how the Church developed in Africa, the Middle East, and most amazingly in Asia.
david shrader
It is dense but it is filled with knowledge!
maverick122

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Patricia L. Marks on March 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Church history books typically look at the development of Christianity in the Middle East and then across Europe. This work takes us East into China , South into Egypt and Nubia , and North into Russia. The contributors are from varied backgrounds, are both female and male , and have some new, fresh perspectives. The scholarship is impressive ,yet not obscure . If anything, the reader yearns to know more of certain figures in Christian lore. This is an important and welcome book.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By david shrader on November 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
This was an excellent book. It reinforces the basic storyline of Church History, but goes well beyond the political, cultural, and geographic boundaries of most Church History books. There is great insight on what Christians were doing and how the Church developed in Africa, the Middle East, and most amazingly in Asia. As a Seminary student, it was refreshing to read about the diversity and globalness of the Christian faith. The book makes a strong defense on how Christianity is a global developement and that it is more than just a Westernized Religion. As an American Christian, I think this book gives a valuable perspective that challenges us to look at the Church and its past in a new light. Christianity has encountered cultures all across the globe since its beginning. Sunquist and Irvin retell the Christian story in a way that connects the dominant Western culture, with (but too often forgotten) the rest of the world. Great and helpful book!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Katinga on December 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
I appreciate the worldwide coverage of the Christian movement from earliest times, something not often found in church history books. I also appreciate the clarity of expression, making this an easy page-turner. The material both strengthened my faith and raised challenges for reflection. For this, I heartily recommend it.

That said, I hope that for the next edition, that the authors get an editor: material gets repeated, sometimes almost verbatim between sections; there are distracting spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. The repeats mean that the reader can use the book as a rapid reference aid for open book tests, which I appreciate, but some might find it off-putting.

Finally, although I found the drawing out of the heroines of the faith to be quite helpful and eye-opening (example: that Jerome's woman colleagues probably had a larger hand in the Vulgate translation than heretofore imagined), at times this felt like a feminist affirmative action program.

That said, I commend the book to all with curiosity about just how broad the world Christian movement has been through history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stinekey on September 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was the first required reading for my "foundations of church history" course in a theological studies master's program at University of Dayton. I can see why my professor chose it - the book does indeed strive to offer a balanced approach to Christian History, including not just the West and Mediterranean but Syria, India, China and Northern Africa as well. The authors collaborated with a wide range of different "flavors" of scholars in the text's creation. Furthermore, the authors also include the experience of women in their text in such a way that it both gives voice to ancient women without overwhelming the entire narrative. However, Catholic readers should note that this text is written by Evangelical authors, and thus their understanding of ecclesiology is radically different from what Catholics and Mainline Protestants may be used to. For example, the authors make very little use of the word "church" - it hard exists in the text! Christianity instead is seen as a movement (not that there's anything wrong with that). Furthermore, the authors note their surprise at the fact that there are relatively very few first hand accounts of conversion from the first century...something that may be disconcerting if one's understanding of Christianity is based on personal, defined experiences of conversion. But overall this is a fine book, balanced, and truly diverse. It's a great starting point for any Christian looking to learn more about the history of Christianity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carl R. Peterson on November 25, 2008
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This is the essential primer for persons interested in the early Christian church. Irvin and Sunquist combine their knowledge and craftsmanship as authors to present a very readable but detailed description of the events and persons that shaped the early church and led to the modern setting. Personalities are revealed and well-known names of history come to life again as their impact on events are exposed. The reader can be amused at how pety differences between two persons became divisive events or church doctrine. The authors deftly move between different perspectives to help the reader understand how people of the day saw the events and how history affects modern relationships between the Catholic Church and Protestant denominations. This is a must read for the first year seminary student and an excellent resource for the person in the pew.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C.H.E. Sadaphal on December 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In short, History of the World Christian Movement is a comprehensive, insightful, and eye-opening look into the people, politics, cultures, and many other forces that helped to shape early to medieval Christianity. The book truly takes a global lens to analyze the development of Christianity from its beginnings in Palestine to North Africa, Nubia, the Middle East, India and the rest of Asia, Russia, and modern day Europe. The broad approach is very inclusive yet also very complete and does an excellent job of highlighting all the major themes, individuals and sociopolitical forces at play in the development of the faith. As the book very eloquently demonstrates, religion never operates in a vacuum and often is steered by secular forces. No stone is left unturned and all the chief issues in all the major regions are covered in the text.

The book moves in a sequential format from the first century after Christ’s death to the capture of Constantinople in 1453. This happens after first giving the reader an expansive snapshot that describes civilization at the time of Christ and how the dynamics in antiquity further paved the way for Christianity’s development. Along the timeline, the authors detail the major themes in each geographic area of the world.

This book stands apart from other books on Christian history for four reasons: (1) It does not constrain its outlook to a Eurocentric focus and instead analyses Christianity for what it is: not a uniform mold but a global phenomenon with many ideological, liturgical, and ecclesiastical formulations. (2) The chapters on Constantine and Mohammad alone are worth purchasing this book, but as the book describes, the history of Christianity has very much to do with war, politics, Islam and trade than most people realize.
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History of the World Christian Movement: Earliest Christianity to 1453
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