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A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

March 11, 2010

We don’t usually plug books on this blog, which is fine with me, but I just came across a new publication that is so vast in its scope that it seemed it might be worth mentioning – A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch of St. Cross College, Oxford. MacCulloch has already published award winning books on the Reformation and has now turned his sites on writing an overview of the entire span of church history. At over 1,100 pages it is a mammoth volume, and includes numerous plates of artwork, cathedrals, and important persons. The book is being described as the first truly global history of Christianity, as MacCulloch gives space to those portions of the church that are often neglected by Western overviews of church history, most notably the Syriac-speaking churches which spread as far East as India and China. As in any overview, many will find points to quibble with the book. I found MacCulloch’s description of Cyril of Alexandria to be wanting in several respects. Still, the volume will probably be unsurpassed for some time in the English speaking world in terms of a solid overview of the entire history of the church. The book is already out in the UK, and will be released in the US in a week. Also, last fall MacCulloch did a several-part series for the BBC about the history of the church. It’s worth checking out.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Matthew Crawford permalink
    March 11, 2010 4:46 pm

    The subtitle is a bit counter-intuitive at first! It seems that the reason he titled it as he did was to highlight the fact that the church is indebted to Greco-Roman culture and ancient Judaism which go back another millennium before Christ.

  2. March 13, 2010 8:55 pm

    Helpful book plug, Matt.

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