this book is a highly fascinating and well informed read. it sets historical debates of the church aside and deals with real insight into the formation of a major part of world religion. i am keen to read a second part to this book as and when written.
I am only half way through but thought I liked this book so much I must put in a good word.
The first part of the book deals with the authors early life and how he finds his way into the Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahedo Church (EOTC). I found it interesting, but a little odd. I don't know why. It seems the author is a very intelligent man. He was aware of things at 17 I couldn't have had a clue about if I had tried. he remembers dates and names of events very well it seems. This impressed me.
He is of Afro-Carribean background and spent time living in the UK and the US.
What I personally found interesting was his history of Ethiopia. He mentions many of the most important references to Ethiopia (or Cush), and it links to Israel, through Solomon and the Queen and Sheba (The Solomonic Royal Line, which the last Emporor Hailey Selassie claimed to be part of) and how at one time Ethiopia was perhaps one of the most powerful nations in the world. He works his way up to the time of Christ and the Ethiopian Eunuch. While the Jews were mostly rejecting Christ, this nation that had a temple (later converted I believe into a cathedral), OT sacrifices and the Scriptures (though probably tainted by paganism and surely not recognized by God as part of Israel), and accepted Christ and His Apostles. Apparently the Eunuch went back and preached the Gospel and the whole nation got converted, though some say it didn't happen until the fourth century.
What I also found of personal interest to my own research is the idea of a Christian state pre-Constantine. i'm not sure if that is what the author states, and it perhaps is not, but if the Eunuch was indeed successful at converting the entire nation, we at least have a case for a nation, including its royalty and army being Christian long before Constantine, even if it did not become the state religion until the fourth century. This would add weight to the argument that what Constantine did was in keeping with Apostolic teaching since we have no record of anyone complaining about the Queen of Ethiopia and her house and army laying everything down. This are just a few of the things I have been looking into, and it is one of the reasons I bought the book. I believe it was money well spent. Brahana Sellasie has answered some questions or at least opened up some avenues for further digging.
The part I am at now concerns the Council of Chalcedon. This is where the Oriental Orthodox Churches, including the EOTC parted ways with the rest of Christianity. It will be helpful to get their side of the story, since much of my reading has been in Eastern Orthodox books, which obviously have their slant on the terrible tale.