From Library Journal
This exceptionally learned, remarkably broad, and lucidly written study represents a milestone in our understanding of the culture of late classical antiquity and of early medieval Europe. Examining both Muslim and Christian heirs of the Roman Empire, Herrrin explores faith as a material force in early medieval society. As the ancient world collapsed, religious faith rather than imperial rule became the feature with which Christians and Muslims defined their worlds. The adaptability of both to local needs provided the dynamism necessary for their expansion. Herrin sees Byzantium as the central force in the development of both Europe and Islam: Byzantium checked the Muslim challenge to Western Christendom but failed to confine Islam to Arabia. Certain to provoke discussion, this fine comparative history is essential for both research and general collections. Bennett D. Hill, St. Anselm's Abbey, Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The main argument of Judith Herrin's The Formation of Christendom
is that what she calls the 'initial particularity' of Europe is to be sought in the period between the fourth and the ninth centuries. . . . Herrins's scholarship is unerring, her scope is wide and her style fluent. . . . The treatment of the so-called iconoclastic controversy, the dispute over the veneration of images in Christian worship which convulsed the Byzantine world in the eighth century, is sparkling. . . . Debate about where modern Europe came from . . . will be enriched by this civilized and accomplished book."--The Economist
". . . Herrin follows some magnificent themes with the lucid dispassion of a good detective."--Thomas D'Evelyn, The Christian Science Monitor
"It is [the] binding together of distant past and immediate present which makes Judith Herrin's scholarship so exciting: she can convince the reader that the roots of Western distinctiveness really do lead all the way to forgotten episcopal meetings in small towns in Asia Minor in the fourth century."--Michael Ignatieff, The Observer
"...a learned, challenging, and gracefully written interpretation of the transition from antiquity to the Middle Ages."--Robert L. Wilken, Commonweal
"Judith Herrin has produced an ambitious, learned, lucid, and instructive book."--Alexander Murray, The Times Literary Supplement
"...it will no longer be possible to hop from pagan antiquity to Carolingian Europe as if nothing had happened in between. Judith Herrin has laid her sheet of paper over the map of that 'dark' age and rubbed and rubbed until the rich web of connections and cracks has shown through."--Marina Warner, The Independent
"This is a serious and powerful book....a grand synthesis on a scale few people would dare now to attempt, ranging across diverse societies with considerable assurance."--Christopher J. Wickham, The International History Review