- Hardcover: 843 pages
- Publisher: Prince Press; Prince Press ed edition (1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1565635221
- ISBN-13: 978-1565635227
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Present Day Hardcover – 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
I quickly found that I was engrossed in "The Story of Christianity," which truly reads like a story, rather than a laborious list of meaningless names and dates. To be sure, Gonzalez appears to be fully comfortable with the information concerning two thousand years of church history, starting with the early church fathers immediately following the biblical accounts and proceeding through the ages to the modern-day church. Yet, despite the vastness of this task, I was completely engaged with the text.
Gonzalez treads the fine line between inserting unnecessary editorial comments and refusing to add any appropriate critique. He managed to include significant critical analyses of various points in the history of the church without coming down with a particular ax to grind or agenda to push.
My only disappointment with the book was his almost careless dismissal of anyone who might still adhere to any creationist ideas or traditional gender roles within the church, almost assuming that evolution and feminism have rightly won the day. Given his pervasive choices elsewhere to avoid a natural tendency to prioritize whatever his preferred streams of Christian thought or practice might be, I was disappointed with his description of relatively recent movements in origin of life and gender issues.Read more ›
This first volume looks at the history of Christianity from the first century to the dawn of the Reformation period. In his section on the early church, Gonzalez explores the Jewish and Roman worlds of the time, and how the early churches, from Jerusalem prior to the destruction of the Second Temple and the missions of Paul to the early teachers and leaders of the church as it grew in various ways. The persecutions of the early centuries and the martyrs, as well as many of the controversies and heresies, are presented with an interesting analysis. Gonzalez does not take the position that just because something has been labeled a heresy historically that it is necessarily bad or wrong doctrine.
The second section begins with Constantine and continues through most of late antiquity - this is the period of the church becoming an official arm of the state, many of the great creedal councils, and some of the leading lights in Christian theological development. Persons such as the Cappadocians (Gonzalez includes Macrina as a person in her own right here, and so avoids the general term 'Cappadocian Fathers'), Ambrose, John Chrystostom, and Augustine are highlighted. Gonzalez also looks at the major heresies of the time - Donatism and Arianism.Read more ›
Gonzalez provides an excellent, broad view of the whole of Christian history. His approach provides wide enough strokes to give context, yet he does not fail to provide sufficient details to grasp some of the flavor of the individual moments in history. If you want to delve into Christian history deeply and experience more of the "moment", find another book that covers just the part you seek; this book will give you the basic information only. For example, all the gorey details, say of the Council of Nicea, are not discussed, as they would be beyond the scope of an overall history.
Gonzalez's style is very easy to read; he does not rely on theological jargon when common words suffice. This makes it an excellent book to recommend to laity who are not interested in the complexities of Ecclesiastical history. It also is a good basic text for seminary use, as it covers Catholic and Protestant developments (not as good on the Eastern Church).
If you don't already have a book on Church history, this is the one to get.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A major book in my studies. It is excellent. Mr. Gonzalez has an outstanding command of English (the ony other author with this skill, that comes to mind is Henry Chadwick in... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Walter J. Gould
A very careful and detailed account of church history, including much biographical information about famous church people. Very thorough and informative - not easy reading. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I had this among four other textbooks for Church History in seminary. Gonzalez is a gifted writer and he brings history alive with clarity and vigor. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Seminary Student
I bought this for a class I was taking and they just skimmed some of the chapters. I decided it was way to important and good for just skimming. Read morePublished 12 months ago by FredMauro1950
This book was recommended to me by an apologist / teacher, and I must say that it has opened my eyes tremendously. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jennett C. Pearson
ive just started this. im so glad someone has gotten the "churched world entities" into a more concise understandable overview.Published 17 months ago by A. HAGGERTY