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Jesus Wars Paperback – 20 May 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing (20 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281063338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281063338
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 459,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"In showing general readers how he finds fresh ideas and the resurrections of past teachings invigorating to religious studies, Jenkins provides an accessible book . . . the book enlightens readers on the backstory to current Christian divisions . . . "--Library Journal

About the Author

Philip Jenkins is one of the world's foremost scholars of religion. He has a joint appointment as the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of the Humanities in History and Religious Studies at Penn State University and the Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is the perfect follow-on to Ehrman's Lost Christianities, which offered an amazing tableau of the many versions of Christianity that arose in the 2 centuries since Jesus' death. Jenkins starts with the state of theology in the 4C CE - the great debate on the nature (or purity) of Christ's divinity - and examines in great detail how it played out in the declining Western Roman Empire at the moment that Byzantium and later Islam arose. His history is entirely secular and historical, covering the theological positions as elements in what is essentially a political drama. In my view (as an atheist), it is a useful perspective that completely leaves the theological debate (as the truth, the right way, etc.) to be resolved in other sources from the point of view of believers. It was exactly what I was looking for. That being said, Jenkins in my view never ventures any opinions that are purely theological and respects the advocates of each view.

The historical context is, to put it mildly, complex. The western portion of Rome is facing a series of reversals during the barbarian wars and has become a backwater to the Eastern Roman Empire (Greek Byzantium), that stands at the cultural crossroads of Asia and EUrope. Stretching from the immensely wealthy vassal states of Egypt deep into Mesopotamia and North to cover the Black Sea, Byzantium was where it was happening. As Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire, in Jenkins view, there was a proliferation of churches and theologies that became the bases for regional powers and strong men.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Strv 74 on 29 July 2013
Format: Paperback
Professor Philip Jenkins has written a book about a very difficult subject and he has succeeded very well. The Title is provocative, Jesus Wars, but the story is about how Christians fought during several centuries over the issue of how to view Jesus. God, human or both?

Seen with todays eyes this sounds like a mere exercise in theoretical theology best taken place in universities or churches but as he shows it was far from that. Thousands of people were killed, tortured or persecuted and the debate had the same political weight as the wars fought during that period. This is one of the book's great values. It complements all other history books dealing with this period (300 - 700 AD)and gives you a fuller understanding of what took place.

The Subject is hard to grasp since it is how to interpret details in the bible concerning Jesus and his time. There are no hard facts to base the story on, just theological discussions going on for centuries. Professor Jenkins has managed to make these events come alive and presents it in a way that even if it takes some effort you do not have to be a professional theological student to follow the presentation. The Main impact on the Roman and Byzantium empires from these events is presented in a clear and interesting way.

The Story is supported with a number of appendixes that are very helpful. There is just one lacking. There should have been an appendix on all Christian subgroups in the book in order to understand them better. Sometimes there are just names of various churches listed without any closer presentation.

The Subtitle of the book is "How Four Patriarch, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would believe for the Next 1.500 Years".
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is the perfect follow-on to Ehrman's Lost Christianities, which offered an amazing tableau of the many versions of Christianity that arose in the 2 centuries since Jesus' death. Jenkins starts with the state of theology in the 4C CE - the great debate on the nature (or purity) of Christ's divinity - and examines in great detail how it played out in the declining Western Roman Empire at the moment that Byzantium and later Islam arose. His history is entirely secular and historical, covering the theological positions as elements in what is essentially a political drama. In my view (as an atheist), it is a useful perspective that completely leaves the theological debate (as the truth, the right way, etc.) to be resolved in other sources from the point of view of believers. It was exactly what I was looking for. That being said, Jenkins in my view never ventures any opinions that are purely theological and respects the advocates of each view.

The historical context is, to put it mildly, complex. The western portion of Rome is facing a series of reversals during the barbarian wars and has become a backwater to the Eastern Roman Empire (Greek Byzantium), that stands at the cultural crossroads of Asia and EUrope. Stretching from the immensely wealthy vassal states of Egypt deep into Mesopotamia and North to cover the Black Sea, Byzantium was where it was happening. As Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire, in Jenkins view, there was a proliferation of churches and theologies that became the bases for regional powers and strong men.
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