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The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation Paperback – August 10, 2010
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"This crisp retelling of Christian history from the days of the apostles to the eve of the Reformation is filled with insight. Gonzalez excels in the brief character sketch. With economy of expression he is still able to define the significance and enliven the character of many great figures in the church's first 1500 years. An additional strength is the careful treatment of Christian expansion into Central and South America during the early modern era. This is a good book for introductory courses, for personal reading, and for adult education in the church."--Mark A. Noll, associate professor, Wheaton College
From the Back Cover
In this fully revised and updated edition, the lauded church historian Justo González tells the story of Christianity from its fragile infancy to its pervasive dominance at the dawn of the Protestant Reformation. The Story of Christianity, volume 1, relates the dramatic events, the colorful characters, and the revolutionary ideas that shaped the first fifteen centuries of the church's life and thought.
From Jesus's faithful apostles to the early reformist John Wycliffe, González skillfully weaves details from the lives of prominent figures tracing core theological issues and developments within the various traditions of the church. The Story of Christianity demonstrates at each point what new challenges and opportunities faced the church and how Christians struggled with the various options open to them, thereby shaping the future direction of the church.
This new edition of The Story of Christianity incorporates recent archaeological discoveries to give us a better view of the early Christian communities. Among these are advances in the recovery of Gnostic texts that have revealed a richer diversity of "Christianities" in the first century. González also includes important research done in the past twenty-five years revealing the significant role of women throughout the history of the church.
With lively storytelling incorporating the latest research, The Story of Christianity provides a fascinating introduction to the panoramic history of Christianity.
Top Customer Reviews
Gonzalez, as another reviewer mentioned, is Protestant. From what I have read he does not have an anti-Catholic bias, but he does cover the materials in a more Protestant way. One example is his lack of coverage of Pseudo-Dionysus. However, this book is only an introduction, and does not claim to be the end all guide to every figure in church history.
Overall, Gonzalez has written a fine work that is now a standard textbook in many Catholic and Protestant Seminaries and Universities. I particularly enjoyed his chapter on "Eastern Christianity." You don't have to be a scholar to get into church history. I think Gonzalez will get you interested if you read his book.
What this has meant for me is a deeper insight into church history while at the same time having a fun read. As for his perspective, Gonzalez is very even handed in volume I, however in volume II his bias as a liberal-leaning but believing protestant really comes through. He has an animus against anglo-protestant evangelicals and he writes that into his history. Which if you share that bias, it may be the perfect book for you. Regardless, volume I is fabulous no matter what perspective you are coming from and I highly recommend it!
Gonzales focuses on the high points for the most part because these books are surveys. In particular, there is a greater focus on men like Constantine, Augustine, Luther, and Calvin. He is fair in his research and opinions, and no matter what background you come from you'll find that he presents the facts in an honest and unbiased (as possible) fashion. Coming from an evangelical background I learned much about the roots of that movement and was also very pleased to find a wealth of information on the eastern churches, liberal protestantism, scholasticism, etc. The development of the church in early Latin America, Africa, and Asia is also given attention. Gonzales covers all of the bases.
THE STORY OF CHRISTIANITY is a fine resource for those who wish to gain a firm understanding of the history of the Christian church or for anyone who desires to have a quality resource on the subject available to them. For student, layperson, or teacher, this is an excellent buy. Five Stars.
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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is probably the best textbook I've ever used, along with Gonzalez's second volume. He writes in a way that it tells a story and keeps the reading interesting. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Ryan
Gonzalez writes as one of the leading Christian church historians in contemporary academia. His writing style for history is second to none in my opinion. Read morePublished 24 days ago by john
The goal I had was reached by reading this book. It is to the point, not extraneous with historian babble...it delivers well in context and content. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Earl Robinson
This is one of the books I am using in class for the fall.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer