The Story of Christianity: Volume 1: The Early Church to the Reformation by Justo L. GonzálezFor a very general introduction to the early history of the Church up until the Protestant Reformation, I would recommend this book. But only as a primary introduction.
Its chief virtues are that it is highly readable (high school reading level) and easy to understand; the chapters are brief and generally well-organized; it also provides a basic orientation of Christian history within the context of the larger secular history. For these reasons, I would recommend it to anybody remotely curious to begin learning the basics of church history.
If I had the choice, however, I would certainly not be using it as a textbook for an undergraduate-level introduction to church history course. I would prefer using Kenneth Latourettes A History of Christianity (Volume 1). Really, Id prefer using something several decades NEWER than Latourette, but am not aware of anything current that matches or outdoes him.
Gonzalezs book leaves a lot to be desired, but the two most significant problems I have with this book are:
1. He comments too much on the history, rather than simply offering the facts of the narrative. His attempt to make various connections is commendable, however, his numerous value judgments are unwelcome interruptions serving to distract or mislead the reader into Gonzalezs preferred interpretation of the narrative.
2. He makes very little mention or entirely neglects some significant historical moments in Christianity. My biggest concern is that he brushed over the Inquisition, and made absolutely no mention of witch-hunting. There was very little mention of the Great Schism of 1054 between Eastern and Western Christianity. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 earned barely a paragraph. He has no problem dealing with some of Christian historys darker moments, but, for whatever reason, chooses to ignore these extremely significant facets of medieval Christianity.
3. It is very heavily slanted toward Western Christianity, and generally neglects the vast riches of Eastern Christianity.
So, read the book for a very basic introduction, but do so with a grain of salt. Dont take everything you read here as Gospel truth, and dont think he is telling you everything either.
The Story of Christianity: Volume 1: The Early Church to the Reformation
The Story of Christianity, Vol. This updated and expanded edition incorporates recent archaeological discoveries about the life of Early Christian Communities, as well as important contemporary research revealing the significant role of women throughout the history of the church. From the website. Continuing on from its first volume, this book will give you a good idea of how Christians lived their lives, of what Christians believed throughout the ages, of how Christians came to hold certain doctrines, of how Christianity met different theological challenges, and of the extent of the geographical influence of Christianity throughout history. The first volume covered up to the beginnings of the rumblings of the Reformation, and this second volume takes that pivotal movement as its starting point. The book covers history from the Reformation to the present, around the s.
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Beginning with the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, this fully revised and updated second volume of The Story of Christianity continues the marvelous history of the world's largest religion. Award-winning historian Justo Gonzalez bring to life the people, dramatic events, and theological debates that have shaped Protestantism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy. From the monk Martin Luther, who dared to stand up to a corrupt pope, to the surprising spread and growing vitality of today's church in Africa, Asia, and South America, The Story of Christianity offers a complete and up-to-date retelling of this amazing history. With new information on the important contributions of women to church history as well as the latest information on Christianity in developing countries, Gonzalez's richly textured study discusses the changes and directions of the church up to the twenty-first century. The Story of Christianity covers such recent occurrences as the fall of the Soviet Union and the return of the Russian Orthodox Church; feminist, Africa-American, and Third-World theologies; the scandals and controversies facing the reign of Pope Benedict XVI; interfaith dialogue; and the movement toward unity of all Christian churches. This revised and updated edition of The Story of Christianity concludes with a thoughtful look at the major issues and debates facing Christianity today. Justo Gonzalez essentially wrote one very large volume on the history of Christianity and it has been broken into two parts to make it more accessible I am including reviews for both works.
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. 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. With lively storytelling incorporating the latest research, T he Story of Christianity provides a fascinating introduction to the panoramic history of Christianity. I have found it a wonderful text that is concise enough yet, seemingly accurate to keep me