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A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story Paperback – March 23, 2010
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I would recommend this book to anyone who has never read any book on the history of Christianity. But be warned. This book is not a `complete', or even a scholarly study of its subject. You may wish to graduate to a more conventional history after taking three or four evenings to finish this. It is patterned after Howard Zinn's essay, A People's History of the United States, which tells history from the viewpoint of social activism. However, while Zinn's book exceeds 760 pages to cover 400 years, Ms. Bass gives us 352 pages to cover 2000 years. Ms. Bass wishes to tell the story `from the ground up', stressing those things which the average lay Christian, with eyes blurred by 'spiritual amnesia' may have no knowledge. Her example of `spiritual amnesia' is the undergraduate's asking what the Protestants thought of the Crusades in 1095 CE.
Her main target is what she calls `Big C Christianity, whose highlights are Christ, Constantine, Christendom, Calvin, and Christian America, which `then became the most important Christian nation in the world, a beacon of faith and democracy.'
In spite of the fact that Ms. Bass is a card carrying member of the highly educated Christian scholarly fraternity, she does claim the imprimatur of what is known in Catholic theology as sensus fidelium, the wisdom or understanding of the individual believer within the community of the faithful.Read more ›
Earlier this week, I was talking with a small group of educators -- women representing various religious and cultural backgrounds -- and I told them that one of the most powerful things we can do to light up our neighbors' lives is: "Teach people how to make a friend across a boundary they don't expect to cross."
The most important thing I can tell you about Diana Butler Bass' new book, "A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story," is that you'll leave her book having made dozens of new friends across the chasms of history -- friends who will light your spiritual pathway in directions you may not have expected.
The title of Bass' new book pays homage to the influential historian Howard Zinn. His famous 1980 book, "A People's History of the United States," recovered the stories of many Americans -- and groups of Americans -- whose stories were marginalized in traditional histories. Bass is a historian and educator herself and knows how to produce a 14-week course that jogs undergraduates quickly through 2,000 years of Christian history.
This new book is not that kind of work.
Rather, this new book is more of a manifesto about rediscovering and reclaiming spiritual gems long overlooked in Christian history. Or, as Diana herself puts it: "Exploring the past, we begin to understand our actions anew; we discover new spiritual possibilities for our lives.Read more ›
This book does not disappoint. If you have never read about Christian history or if you engage it as a hobby, such as I do, Diana Butler Bass takes you on an exciting tour of Christian history while continuing to emphasize the spiritual practices and disciplines utilized by followers of the Way at the various time periods. Additionally, Butler Bass also paints an enlightening picture of the ethical lens employed in the various epochs of Christian history through which Christians in their historical context viewed their interaction with their neighbor as they also sought to engage and deepen their relationships with God. Interestingly, as I start seminary this Fall her book is on the required reading list for my first semester of church history!
Using the tools of spiritual disciplines and ethical frameworks, Butler Bass in a most easy to read way successfully unpacks five historical periods, each full of unique challenges and obstacles, in which individual followers pursued an ever deepening relationship with the Divine.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I took this as if it was a college course, and I would say that it was helpful to understand some historical facts. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso
I really learned a lot about the history of Christianity over the centuries. I liked this book because it helped me to understand why various Christians believe as they do. Read morePublished 1 month ago by moboco
This book, which author Diana Butler Bass dedicates to Emma Katherine Bass, notes that the history of Christianity has commonly been told as a triumph of doctrine imposed through... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jeremy Michael Gallen
A lovely book of revisionist history which is popular today. This country no longer teaches history,so audiences far and wide wil find her version of "world history" spot... Read morePublished 2 months ago by kathryn stephens
Good read for those interested in deeper research of the history.Published 3 months ago by richard ebert