The Penguin History of the Church, vol.1: The Early Church: The Early Church v. 1 Paperback – 30 Sep 1993
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About the Author
Reverend Henry Chadwick is a former Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and has been a Regius Professor at both Oxford and Cambridge. He is also an ordained Anglican priest.
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Top Customer Reviews
This excellent book provides an overview of so many things which casual students of Church history probably heard of but may not have really understood. From my reading of this book I have a better understanding of early heresies including Arianism (Jesus was not co-eternal with the Father), Donatism (no reconciliation with apostates) Manichaeism (a secret, gnostic type sect) and Pelagianism (denial of original sin). The role of councils, such as Nicaea, in combating heresy and guiding the development of orthodoxy is made clearer. A greater understanding of the roles of the Church Fathers such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian, Theodore of Mopsuestia, St. Jerome and St. Augustine is gained by the reader of this book.
From a theological or historical perspective this book is a treasure. One test I apply to books is whether they inspire me to study more. This one does. I am confident that it will do the same for you.
The only problem that I had with it was that it covered a few cases in a lot of detail, which tends to break up the overall historical progression of the book. During these individual analysis chapters, he jumps around through history instead of analysing the developments in a smooth historical narrative, which I would have preferred.
He explains how the early Christians saw themselves as Jews but that the decisive break came when they (the Christians) accepted Gentiles into the new movement. Thereafter, Chadwick explores the spread of Christianity in the Near East and eventually how it made its way to Rome. This is pretty standard stuff so far.
What I liked about the book was the explanation of the different Christological positions in the controversies surrounding the question of Christ's nature. It is in Chadwick's book that I understood Arius and Arianism, Nicene confessions, Chalcedonian Christianity, Monophysitism and Nestorianism. These controversies, which seem drab and overly punctilious to modern readers, were, as Chadwick points out, one of the reasons for the eventual split of the Church into Latin and Orthodox Christianities.
The book is not just a boring academic tome. He enlivens the book with lively descriptions of the Church Fathers; Ambrose, Tertullian and the key characters (and politics) in the Christological consipiracies. If you are interested in understanding the rise of Christianity in the Ancient World and want a readable account of the abstruse, high-falutin Christological terms that have come to define Christian doctrine then this book is a must-read. It deserves my 5 stars.
A good starter from people just interested in the subject or a good revision for those already knowledgable in the subject!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book on the Early Church. I highly recommend it to every Christian!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A really interesting book. At first the book failed to arrive but the seller promptly sent a replacement which arrived soon afterwards. Read morePublished 9 months ago by JJW
The Penguin Church History is overwhelming.The Church History is traditional,following the main thread from the Early Church up to modern times The Early Church was... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Anna Zachariasen
A very good grounding in early church history and an easy read.Published 17 months ago by Gillian Kern
Quite cheap; a Gift card: a gift from my nephew & it lots about cricket & Norfolk Coaching at the schoolboy level.Published on 11 Mar. 2014 by Alan Mowles
I am a believer in God, but not in churches. I felt that what came out of the pulpit was all too man-made and confusing. Where does dogma come from? How did it come about? Read morePublished on 27 May 2012 by Lamppu
An excellent resource for anyone studying Theology and Religious Studies. Very well compiled and easy to read. Was great for my essay on Constantine's conversion to Christianity. Read morePublished on 29 April 2012 by Andrew
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