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A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story Paperback – March 23, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
A People’s History sets out a history of Christianity that can inform and inspire moderate and progressive Christians who have little knowledge of church history. The title borrows from Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Like Zinn, Bass tells stories of lesser-known and marginal figures, especially women, as well as surveying most leading figures of Western Christianity.
A People’s History is divided into five main sections, covering early Christianity (100-500), the medieval church (500-1450), the Reformation (1450-1650), the modern era (1650-1945), and contemporary Christianity (1945+). For each era, Bass chooses a few central religious ideas and practices grouped under the headings “devotion” and “ethics”, and explores them with a mix of personal anecdotes, historical context, and theological reflection.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very easy read. Gives you a fair overview but lacks the detail of Gonzalez, Story of Christianity. Of course is is also about 1/4 the length of Gonzalez.Published 2 months ago by Debbie Liddel
I'm glad to see they finally come out with a "history" of Christianity for Communists.Published 2 months ago by metal321
The history lesson was good, but the final chapters are the real message. That is, its OK to blend all religions into Christianity. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert K. Raleigh
I enjoyed this book and learned a lot from it, but I'm learning that I have to take books like this with a grain of salt, as the author has his or her own prejudices and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Harshbarger
Perhaps because I was hoping for a history like Howard Zinn's or Eduardo Galeano's. I was disappointed with this book. Read morePublished 5 months ago by J. A. Donaghy
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 6 months 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 6 months ago by moboco