Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 15 October 2006
This is an excellent introduction to the sheer diversity of Christian faith and practice in the world today. Linda Woodhead suggests that it is helpful to explore this diversity by exploring the three main traditions of Christianity within a historical context: those which emphasise the primacy of church authority (Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism); those which place emphasis on the authority of the bible (most mainstream protestant churches such as Lutherans and Methodists) and the much smaller tradition of those wich emphasise the primacy of the spirit (of which the Society of Friends is a good example.) Like all attempts at a typology, the reality is that the edges of blurred as these emphases are not mutually exclusive.
This is not a book for those who want to read a defence of Christianity nor does it "come down" on the side of any one view of Christianity, which has clearly annoyed one previous reviewer. It is a book written by a first rate scholar of religion who wants to provide an easy to read, engaging, sympathetic book about the origins, growth and diversity of perhaps the world's largest religion. She has achieved her goals magnificently!
0Comment| 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 May 2009
In an important sense writing a very short introduction to Christianity is virtually impossible. The books on Christianity in a University library run into thousands (with many on the New Testament, Contemporary Theology, the Crusades, Reformation, ethics, the Inquisition, patristics, martyrology, ecclesiology and so on); condensing this kind of information into a meaningful little book is an immense task as it involves a high degree of selection and omission; also, what is included is unlikely to receive much treatment; the Reformation, for example, has three and a half pages. Linda Woodhead manages to strike a good balance though whilst also raising relevant questions.

In discussing the significance of Jesus, she touches upon the synoptic problem and introduces the idea of there being many other 'gospels' of a more 'gnostic' or even feminist, nature. She also has very good discussions on the way that divine power is transmitted from God, through a male priesthood in the traditional types of Christianity (the theme of gender runs all through the book). Her main thesis is that Christianity can be braodly analysed into a typology of three types: Church Christianity, Biblical Christianity, and Mystical Christianty. This typology is helpful I think as it is hard to think of many traditions that fall entirely outside of it, though some will contain elements of all three.

Her section on gender is the most engaging I think as she discusses ways in which a traditionally male dominated religion might be attractive to women; all quite provocative.

Woodhead seems to have a very broad view of mysticism that even included Pentecostalism. I felt that this was quite far from the mark. Also, when discussing the Holy Spirit, she lapses into referring to the Spirit as 'it'. The concern is not whether or not the Spirit exists or whether she believes, it is simply not the way the Spirit is conceived to be within the tradition. She also says that for charismatics and pentecostals, salvation is sealed by the baptism of the Spirit and the reception of spiritual gifts; this is simply wrong; they accept all the fundamentals of an evangelical Church. But I want to praise the book, not bury it. It is an excellent introduction and really quite an achievement.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 November 2011
Fast professional P&P. Great book for Open University Course on Religion. Slim, compact and easy to read book on the basics of Christianity, highly recommended.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 June 2013
This book is an excellent overview of the history of Christianity, very interesting, particularly in relation to women's relationship with a male dominated religion. I wanted to know a little more about the history of this and other religions and so I looked for a course with the Open University. The Open University very helpfully listed the books used in its course A217, "Introducing Religions". I shall now read the others
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 May 2006
This book is very good for looking at developments in Christian history and elements of theology, but it is not the book to read if you want to find out what Christians BELIEVE in"jargon-free" English, or how they worship.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 July 2016
Not quite what I expected when I downloaded this book, having less theology and more concern for what believers actually do (or say they do) than I had expected, but nevertheless this short volume does set out some critically useful way markers for understanding Christianity in all its many guises.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 April 2013
Very well constructed book which is both informative and a good read. The content is well structured and easy to understand, just as an subject introduction should be.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 July 2014
All the very short introductions series are brilliant and informative
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 November 2015
Very interesting read from a leading expert in the field
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 November 2015
great product well packed prompt delivery Thanks!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Need customer service? Click here

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)