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A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years
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A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years [Format Kindle]

Diarmaid MacCulloch
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Praise for Christianity

“Immensely ambitious and absorbing.”
—Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

“A landmark contribution . . . It is difficult to imagine a more comprehensive and surprisingly accessible volume than MacCulloch’s.”
—Jon Meacham, The New York Times Book Review

“A prodigious, thrilling, masterclass of a history book. MacCulloch is to be congratulated for his accessible handling of so much complex, difficult material.”
—John Cornwell, Financial Times

“A tour de force: it has enormous range, is gracefully and wittily written, and from page one holds the attention. Everyone who reads it will learn things they didn’t know.”
—Eamon Duffy, author of Saints and Sinners

“MacCulloch brings an insider’s wit to tracing the fate of official Christianity in an age of doubt, and to addressing modern surges of zeal, from Mormons to Pentecostals.”
—The Economist

“A triumphantly executed achievement. This book is a landmark in its field, astonishing in its range, compulsively readable, full of insight even for the most jaded professional and of illumination for the interested general reader. It will have few, if any, rivals in the English language.”
—Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

“A well-informed and—bless the man—witty narrative guaranteed to please and at the same time displease every single reader, if hardly in identical measure. . . . The author’s prose style is fluent, well-judged, and wholly free of cant. . . . You will shut this large book with gratitude for a long and stimulating journey.”
—The Washington Times

“A tour de force . . . The great strength of the book is that it covers, in sufficient but not oppressive detail, huge areas of Christian history which are dealt with cursorily in traditional accounts of the subject and are unfamiliar to most English-speaking readers. . . . MacCulloch’s analysis of why Christianity has taken root in Korea but made such a hash in India is perceptive and his account of the nineteenth-century missions in Africa and the Pacific is first-rate and full of insight. . . . The most brilliant point of this remarkable book is its identification of the U.S. as the prime example of the kind of nation the reformers hoped to create.”
—Paul Johnson, The Spectator

Présentation de l'éditeur

Christianity, one of the world's great religions, has had an incalculable impact on human history. This book, now the most comprehensive and up to date single volume work in English, describes not only the main ideas and personalities of Christian history, its organisation and spirituality, but how it has changed politics, sex, and human society.

Diarmaid MacCulloch ranges from Palestine in the first century to India in the third, from Damascus to China in the seventh century and from San Francisco to Korea in the twentieth. He is one of the most widely travelled of Christian historians and conveys a sense of place as arrestingly as he does the power of ideas. He presents the development of Christian history differently from any of his predecessors. He shows how, after a semblance of unity in its earliest centuries, the Christian church divided during the next 1400 years into three increasingly distanced parts, of which the western Church was by no means always the most important: he observes that at the end of the first eight centuries of Christian history, Baghdad might have seemed a more likely capital for worldwide Christianity than Rome. This is the first truly global history of Christianity.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 compelling and accessible 21 mai 2010
I'm delighted by this book, though I do find the author jumps over some topics rather rapidly and without explaining the reasons for his opinions. It helps a lot to have a bible alongside in order to read passages referenced.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 A HISTORY OF CHRISTIAINTY 17 septembre 2012
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
All three books: A History of Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch, and two copies of Enid Blyton's Famous Five stories (rather different in character!) arrived well packed and in excellent condition. Thank you!
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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  191 commentaires
244 internautes sur 265 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A History Of The Christian Church 3 avril 2010
Par C. Hutton - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a long and scholarly history of the background, birth and growth of Christianity. The author is an Anglican and church historian. The narrative makes it clear that there has never been just one church, but many interpretations of who Jesus Christ was : from the early gnostic "heretics" (who lost the PR/political battles and were banned) to the Western Roman Church to the Eastern Greek Church to the Reformation and beyond (which spawned Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, et al). The love of Christ as shown by early Christian martyrs and by St. Francis of Assisi is contrasted with the intolerance of differences as shown by the religious wars and the Crusades. It is very readable and assumes no prior knowledge by the reader. With the approach of Easter, Mr. MacCulloch has written a book for the lay reader.
279 internautes sur 315 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Long Stretch 22 mars 2010
Par Hande Z - Publié sur Amazon.com
Although he left out the history going back a few thousand more years in the development of god in ancient Sumerian, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian cultures, which led to the god Jehovah's appearance to the Jews of the Old Testament this was an admirably well narrated story about the development of Christianity in which the author traced to roots in Greece and Rome 1000 years before the Common Era. Maculloch wrote in an impartial tone even as he pointed out excesses, absurdities, mythical incidents and contradictions. "In the Gospels, events in historic time astonishingly fuse with events beyond time". His account of the synoptic gospels pointed to contradictions but not in as great a detail as say, GA Well's "Did Jesus Exist?" But his account spanned a greater range than Wells'. He wrote in detail about the development of the various early churches in the Roman Empire, and explained why the church flourished - in its diverse forms. His chapter on the split in the church from the western and eastern orthodoxy to protestantism was an interesting and informative. Patience is required not because the writing style was turgid (on the contrary, it was extremely clear) but because it is a long account. His final chapters dealt with the rise of Christianity as a world religion and ecumenical efforts to seal the inevitable rifts created by diverse cultures and the hermeneutical method of understanding a vague Holy Book. It is a book for the believer and non-believer alike. One might not like or agree with his comments but the historical tracings are indispensable to anyone who wants to know the history of the religion as opposed to what the religion is about.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Encyclopedic and insightful 31 mai 2010
Par Jay C. Smith - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
If you are in the market for a comprehensive 1000 page overview of the history of Christianity this is the one. Diarmaid MacCulloch has written a masterful synthesis. He covers all that one might reasonably expect in such a volume -- moving from ancient Greece, Rome, and Israel up to the contemporary culture wars, including the Orthodox East as well as the Latin West. He transitions seamlessly from topic to topic and is almost never merely superficial. He successfully balances the need to relate relevant details with the virtue of concision. His interpretations are often stimulating and characteristically judicious.

The book either can be read profitably straight-through (for those with strong attention spans) or used as a reference source as the occasion arises. It helpfully contains extensive source endnotes, suggestions for further reading, and an index, plus page references for inter-related topics are noted parenthetically throughout the text.

That the development of Christianity might be treated historically at all may seem heretical to some. History seldom consistently comforts belief. MacCulloch points out, for example, that right off the bat "one of the greatest turning points in the Christian story" may have been that the last days, as apparently expected by many early followers of the movement, had not arrived by the end of the first century CE.

He emphasizes that certain major historical outcomes were contingent, not inevitable. For example, the victories of Christian over Islamic forces in 678 at Constantinople and in 732-33 near Poitiers helped shield the West from Islam and "preserved a Europe in which Christianity remained dominant, and as a result the centre of energy and unfettered development shifted west from its old Eastern centres." Later, he believes, the Church's response to Luther was unnecessarily heavy-handed, further dramatically re-shaping the West (not surprisingly, he is especially strong on the Reformation, the subject of his earlier well-received major work).

MacCulloch does not shy away from lofty theology, often a turn-off to some readers of religious histories. Indeed, he seeks to demonstrate how seemingly rarified theological controversies have sometimes stirred the masses. He provides ample discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity, the Chalcedonian controversy, disputes regarding the Eucharist, and the like, but never to the point of tedium.

He traces how theological emphases shifted over time, including the emergence of elements of Christian belief that had little or no Biblical foundation. For instance, he calls the concept of Purgatory, which had taken root by the 1170s, "one of the most successful and long-lasting theological ideas in the Western church. It bred an intricate industry of prayer: a whole range of institutions and endowments," financing priests to devote their time to saving souls.

MacCulloch attends to Christianity's engagements with worldly power and with political and societal issues. He provides plentiful material for readers to construct their own balance sheets of where Christians have stood through history regarding, for example, the roles of women, slavery and race, war and violence, concerns for the poor and the oppressed, religious tolerance, and (more recently) Fascism and Nazism.

MacCulloch points out that "doubt is fundamental to religion. One human sees holiness in someone, something, somewhere: where is the proof to others?" He notes, for instance, that while the nineteenth century is typically seen as a period of skepticism, it was a period "crowded with visionaries both Catholic and Protestant" when Christianity ambitiously spread its global reach.

Christianity has never been uniform. Its ability to mutate is one of its great strengths, particularly its ability to accommodate syncretist variations in non-European cultures. MacCulloch concludes with the observation that, "It would be very surprising if this religion, so youthful, yet so varied in its historical experience, had now revealed all its secrets."
114 internautes sur 128 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Christianity in Historical Perspective: A narrative for the rational reader 10 avril 2010
Par Didaskalex - Publié sur Amazon.com
"...a landmark in its field, astonishing in its range, compulsively readable, full of insight even for the most jaded professional and of illumination for the interested general reader. It will have few, if any, rivals in the English language." Dr. Rowan Williams

Jon Meacham, Newsweek Editor, wrote an interest provoking review for the book in the NY Times, and when I read it I got myself to a nearby Borders, to find how the Christian faith is rooted a thousand years before its birth. After reading through the book for few hours, the Pulitzer author persuaded me of acquiring a copy of his compelling historiographic account.
I tried to discern the authors ideas and interpretation of the social and intellectual progress of Christianity from Meacham own critique, writing, "I live with the puzzle of wondering how something so apparently crazy can be so captivating to millions of other members of my species." That puzzle, I thought, did not hinder thousands of martyrs to offer their lives in defense of Christianity. They did not realize then its deep roots in the Jewish hope of 'human salvation,' echoed by Jeremiah's declaration of the 'New Covenant', Jer. 31:31-37.

MacCulloch does not only portray a vivid story but provides a balanced narration of a long and dramatic advance of the tradition, faith and spread of Christianity. He keeps coaching his reader to be mindful of the everlasting impact of Christianity on mundane events as well. "What Christianity brought into all this was a definition of Jewish identity (congregational fellowship) that opened up to become a definition of human identity..., the very idea of a religion as a form of belonging together," in the words of Dr. Rowan Williams. The learned Archbishop praises MacCulloch for resisting the narrative of decline and fall temptation of the skeptical historian of the church. "As a serious historian, he brushes aside the luxuriant growths of conspiracy theory - the Gnostics plus Mary Magdalene plus Knights Templar fantasy world," adds the Archbishop. The compelling scholar represents factual, well searched history of religious thought that diminishes the illusions of Gnostic teachings.

The author is very articulate on dogmatic turn points, with the clarity of a fair minded analyst. It is impressive how the eminent Oxford historian has related Pelagius opposition to Augustine on original sin as part of a medieval morality that left little room for personal experience and human freedom, which the Eastern Church call synergy, personal participation of own salvation. Another fine doctrine was the description of faith about the person of Christ by the ancient Church of Alexandria as Miaphysite rather than Monophysite, and various other doctrinal issues. He elaborated on the expansion of Christianity in the last three centuries, and described the reformation of the church institutions, a subject he proved his talent and knowledge, as re-establishing of the Catholic faith on the same basic biblical teachings. In conclusion, MacCulloch creatively helps the reader to realize that the historical evolution of church traditions was a normal progress and inevitable result of the development of Christianity that encountered theological and dogmatic differences.

Quoted Book Reviews:
"MacCulloch begins with what turns out to be one of many tours de force in summarizing the intellectual and social background of Christianity in the classical as well as the Jewish world." Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.
"MacCulloch's book is a landmark contribution to 'that understanding' -- Christianity cannot be seen as a force beyond history, ... and within human limitations. ... I did not see how people could make sense of the Bible if they were taught to think of it as a collection of Associated Press reports." Jon Meacham
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 An exersize in self discipline but worth the effort. 24 juin 2012
Par Anthony T. Riggio - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Review of the book "Christianity" by Diarmaid MacCoullough

This was a daunting book with a scope beyond the less educated. It was scholarly but opinionated and much too Anglican centric in its overall presentation.

If you are a lover of History and somewhat familiar with Western Civilization you might have the "stick-to-it-iveness" to read it to the end. The subject of Christianity is beyond huge and its impact on the civilization of man and on man's thinking is without comparison in its overall influence.

I realized, probably for the first time in my experience, the number of schisms or differences in the interpretation of Christ's divinity and words and their reactions as heretical, intellectual or philosophical. As a Roman Catholic, reading this book, I anticipated being chagrined by an Anglican view of Christ, I was not. For the first time, I began to somewhat understand the reasons for the Reformation and the rise of Protestantism, but I still abhor the need to intellectualize the simple words of Christ into congruity with the philosophy or language du jour and the splitting away from the central body of that teaching. I guess my Catholic-ness is a burden to my overall objectivity when talking about matters of Christ's teachings.

However, this being said the followers of Christ have been in a constant battle as to not only as to his divinity but the tenets of his teachings. The whole idea of Christ's teachings being hijacked by emperors and monarchs and being used for political advantages is an unfortunate by-product of man being man. But then without this, would Christianity have ever flourished to the degree it has today?

I was impressed by the author's coverage of the whole Orthodoxy separation from the Roman Church and its equally troubling impact on the politics resulting from its teachings, some of which are or may be at odds with the whole idea of Christ being both man and God. I discovered things which I was never aware of but then as a lover of History I kept reading, when my instincts were to abandon this tome.

There were many things of great interest to me such as the role of Christianity in the American Civil War and how Church people were able to accept slavery in this country and the answer I walked away with was that it was somewhat economic but it was also a "white" supremacy thing too. I was also interested in the role of the Roman Catholic Church in both World Wars as well as the impact of infallibility of the Pope in mattes of faith and doctrine on my Protestant brothers. In many respects because of the constant splitting off of numerous sects from many of the original Protestants, since the Reformation, I found it reinforcing to me that the Roman Catholic Church has evolved yet remained constant and together in its belief tenets. While, we as Catholics are not perfect, we have been a steady and influencing force in the development of Western Civilization (something that MacCoulloch does not really acknowledge, directly, though he does, somewhat when he discussed the second Vatican Council.)

I did not find this book to be a spiritual experience but rather a great academic struggle toward varying degrees of enlightenment.

I do not recommend this book to the casual reader; it is more the kind of book that would take up at least four semesters at a university to fully appreciate all of its contents. At times I felt like I was drinking water out of a full turned on fire hydrant.
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