*Starred Review* The fifth-century Christian church faced a doctrinal issue, now largely forgotten, that precipitated intramural Christian savagery unparalleled until the 11-centuries-later Thirty Years’ War. The bone of contention was the nature of Jesus Christ. That he wasn’t a mere man was indisputable. But was he a human-divine cross-breed, so to speak, or was he purely divine and his human body an illusion? Neither was accepted, but the conclusion of the council of Chalcedon in 451 that he was fully divine and fully human—that is, said dissidents, of two natures—incensed those who held he was of one nature, entirely divine. The fight broke out well before Chalcedon, entailing the death-from-assault of the patriarch of Constantinople during the 449 council of Ephesus, thereafter disowned as the “Gangster Synod.” Chalcedon eventually triumphed, but not until well after 250 years of intermittent violence in which monks behaved like the Waffen SS. Jenkins condenses centuries of church and imperial strife with admirable clarity despite the continuous blizzard of historical names and ecclesiastical terms the narrative entails. He suggests that this era, not the later Dark and Middle Ages, is the most violent (un-Christian?) in Christian history and that it may have lessons for the present and future conflict between Christians and Muslims over the nature of God. --Ray Olson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Are you hungry for a rip-roaring tale of theological intrigue filled with conspiracies, Byzantine plots, murder, and mayhem? Or are you longing for a solid, informative, and accurate history of the development of Christian orthodoxy? If your answer is yes to both, Philip Jenkins’s Jesus Wars...is your book.” (Christianity Today)
“Jenkins...has done a remarkable job of documenting this little-understood slice of history. There’s lots of excitement and plenty of intrigue, and Jenkins does a fine job in his recitation of this strange story.” (Publishers Weekly)
“In showing general readers how he finds fresh ideas and the resurrections of past teachings invigorating to religious studies, Jenkins provides an accessible book . . . the book enlightens readers on the backstory to current Christian divisions . . . ” (Library Journal)
“Jenkins condenses centuries of church and imperial strife with admirable clarity...” (Booklist (starred review))
“Jenkins manages to explain very clearly why people in the early Christian era were so passionately concerned with issues of high theology.” (The Economist)
I made a great mistake trusting the title of this book – “Jesus Wars”. I imagined that Philip Jenkins would deal with the Crusades and other wars Christianity fought to defend... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jaysonrex
A great book, details the theological and physical wars of the 6th and 7th century in a very accessible style. Needs to be made into an HBO mini-series!Published 4 months ago by Geoffrey McCowage
An excellent scholarly, yet very readable, account of the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries' conflicts within the Christian Church. Dr. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Robert A.
Ever wonder why no one has ever found anything written by (or attributed to) Jesus?
The history of the Christian Church is bloody conflict over the nuances and fine... Read more
Christianity as we know it today was the survivor of a long and bloody internal civil war. I realize now why western Christianity ignores the Islamic slaughter of eastern Christian... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Steve Bowers
This is an eye opening book-- or should be- for those who place so much emphasis on the ancient councils that in turn gave us the creeds. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Don K. Preston