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A History of Christianity, Volume 1: Beginnings to 1500 (Revised) Revised ed. Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0060649524
ISBN-10: 0060649526
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Rewarding reading not only for the religious reader but for anyone interested in the forces that have moved mankind. A definitive work."New York Times"Latourette has succeeded in bringing together the essential findings of recent research in a fresh and readable way. A rich text for the seminary student and a readable narrative for the zealous layman."American Historical Review"The most useful conspectus of Christian history for the average reader."Yale Divinity News"

From the Back Cover

This monumental and classic work has been updated by a team of respected scholars. The bibliography has also been revised.
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Product Details

  • Series: Beginnings to 1500 (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Revised ed. edition (October 15, 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060649526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060649524
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This work is generally known as a modern classic of Church History. If you are looking for a basic, comprehensive survey of Christian Church history, this is it. If you want something easier and faster than LaTourette, I would recommend Bruce Shelley's "Church History in Plain Language". However, LaTourette is superior. If you want something more comprehensive than LaTourette, I would recommend the 5 volume set by Jarslov Pelikan.
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Format: Paperback
Latourette does a masterful job of presenting a comprehensive history of the Christian religion in a readable form. This is an overview of the subject from the time of Christ to just before the Reformation (Vol. 2 picks up after 1500). Latourette doesn't just focus on the Western world or on institutional religion, but on Christianity in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, some of the personalities behind the history, and on popular movements within Christianity (some of which - such as monasticism - became institutions in their own right). This is an excellent scholarly overview on an enormous topic that makes it interesting for the average reader.
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Format: Paperback
Books on church history fall into one (or more) of several categories. There are those that deal with some specific aspect of church history, such as the development of doctrine, the history of Christian missions, or the history of the papacy. There are those that are intended as an extremely basic overview. There are those multi-volume works that attempt to cover just about everything in detail. And then there are those that attempt to give some detail while at the same time not being cumbersome. I would categorize Kenneth Scott LaTourette's "A History of Christianity, Volume 1" among the last-mentioned. Its nearly 700 pages (exclusive of end material) covers the period from the time of Christ until 1500 in enough detail that the reader is not left totally clueless as to what actually happened. At the same time the work does not get so bogged down in details that it becomes tedious. Given its purpose of providing a fairly detailed overview of the first millennium and a half of the history of the church, it does a pretty good job. It hits all the important developments. And it maintains a pretty good balance in what it covers.

Like many church histories written by Western historians, its emphasis is on the Roman West rather than on the Eastern Orthodox Church. While it does cover the developments within the Eastern church, it does not do so with the depth that it does the West. Moreover, unlike some church histories, its emphasis is on events and movements rather than on the development of doctrine. For instance, one is not going to find an extended discussion of the theological issues that led to, say, the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon.

This is not the work for someone who wants a fairly brief overview, since, although an overview, it is fairly detailed.
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Format: Paperback
Kenneth Scott Latourette (1884-1968) was an American historian of Christianity, who had been a missionary to China in the early 20th century; he is also the author of Christianity in a Revolutionary Age. Vol. I : The 19th Century in Europe; Background and the Roman Catholic Phase. The previous volume was A History of Christianity, Volume 1: Beginnings to 1500 (Revised).

About Martin Luther, he observes, "Although at the outset he had no thought of breaking with the Pope or the Church of Rome, he was not one to draw back, and prudence and guarded speech were alien to his nature." (Pg. 708) He says, "The reign of Mary witnessed a number of beheadings and burnings, so much so, indeed, that her critics remembered her as 'Bloody Mary.' ... Yet the brief reign was punctuated with rebellions and the spirit of the times regarded as normal the execution of the leaders." (Pg. 809)

He notes about the slave trade: "exploration commenced partly for the purpose of propagating the Christian faith ... had as one of their effects a traffic brutalizing both to those who constituted its wares and to those who conducted it." (Pg. 927) He suggests that in an 1891 encyclical, Leo XIII "put himself on the side of labour in the mounting industrialism. Condemning socialism as a false remedy... he also insisted that ... the employer must not tax his employees beyond their strength." (Pg. 1103)

In his summation, he concludes, "Christianity has ... impelled men to fight suffering, whether ... from disease, war, or natural disasters.
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Format: Paperback
This second volume of Kenneth Scott Latourette's "A History of Christianity" is a detailed overview of the 450 years of church history between 1500 and approximately 1950. It runs about 800 pages of text and provides enough detail to give the reader a genuine appreciation for the important developments of this era. Most of its emphasis is on the Western church rather than the Eastern Orthodox bodies. Although Ralph Winter added a chapter in 1975 discussing developments subsequent to 1950, it is quite brief and doesn't add much to what LaTourette had already written.

Because of its detail, this is not the ideal book for someone looking for a brief overview of church history. However, it's an excellent work for someone who already has an overview and wants to study the history of Christianity in a bit more depth.
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