Synopses & Reviews
The National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of The Reformation returns with the definitive history of Christianity for our time
Once in a generation a historian will redefine his field, producing a book that demands to be read-a product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill. Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity is such a book. Breathtaking in ambition, it ranges back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and covers the world, following the three main strands of the Christian faith.
Christianity will teach modern readers things that have been lost in time about how Jesus' message spread and how the New Testament was formed. We follow the Christian story to all corners of the globe, filling in often neglected accounts of conversions and confrontations in Africa and Asia. And we discover the roots of the faith that galvanized America, charting the rise of the evangelical movement from its origins in Germany and England. This book encompasses all of intellectual history-we meet monks and crusaders, heretics and saints, slave traders and abolitionists, and discover Christianity's essential role in driving the enlightenment and the age of exploration, and shaping the course of World War I and World War II.
We are living in a time of tremendous religious awareness, when both believers and non-believers are deeply engaged by questions of religion and tradition, seeking to understand the violence sometimes perpetrated in the name of God. The son of an Anglican clergyman, MacCulloch writes with deep feeling about faith. His last book, The Reformation, was chosen by dozens of publications as Best Book of the Year and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. This awe-inspiring follow-up is a landmark new history of the faith that continues to shape the world.
"Though the Reformation is generally described as a period of great change, historian Greengrass (France in the Age of Henry IV) asks readers to consider the weakening of traditions and sources of power that accompanied the transition to the early modern era. The Catholic Church suffered as Copernicus's theories disputed 'Aristotelian physics, Holy Scripture, and daily experience,' while Martin Luther unexpectedly started a movement following the publication of his 95 theses. Greengrass's detailed explanation of this process makes use of economic concepts like debasement and inflation and delves into specifics, such as regional diets, the inspired invention of the filing cabinet, the impact of climate change on the political landscape, and English Queen Jane Grey's nine-day reign. The book is dense and best read in installments; it offers insight into the extraordinary turmoil that the average European endured in an era typically described through reverent admiration for art, architecture, and intellectual development. Using the histories of well-chosen cities and countries as examples for each discussion, Greengrass reveals that it was 'curiosity destroyed Christendom.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
and#8220;Magisterial and authoritative.and#8221;
and#8220;A tour de force of scholarship that begins with a gradual and accessible buildup and then descends, like the century, into a convulsion of dynastic entanglements.and#8221;
and#8212; Kirkus Reviews
and#8220;Offers insight into the extraordinary turmoil that the average European endured in an era typically described through reverent admiration for art, architecture, and intellectual development. Using the histories of well-chosen cities and countries as examples for each discussion, Greengrass reveals that it was and#8216;curiosity [that] destroyed Christendom.and#8217;and#8221;
and#160;and#8220;The product of a high standard of creative historical scholarship founded on years of study of archival and literary evidence by a much respected observer of the sixteenth-century scene.... It is Mark Greengrassand#8217; achievement to have imposed upon his subject a sense of order which draws the reader alongand#8230;. It is characteristics such as these which earn the book the five stars which it surely deserves.and#8221;
and#8212; Christopher Allmand, The Tablet (UK)
and#8220;A model of scholarly dedication. It makes heavy demands of the general reader.... Almost every page has a memorable nugget, from the invention of the world atlas to the scatological sermons of Martin Luther.and#8221;
and#8212; Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times (UK)
and#8220;[Greengrass] writes with clarity and vigour, in a highly engaging style, and his book is as full of fascinating nuggets as it is of wise judgements.... Greengrass succeeds brilliantly in bringing to life a vanished world.and#8221;
and#160;and#8212;Peter Marshall, Literary Review (UK)
and#8220;A magnificent achievement. Engagingly written, remarkably comprehensive in scope, impeccable in its scholarship, it should find a wide readership which will be rewarded with a new understanding of one of the most decisive eras in European history.and#8221;
and#8212;Robert A. Schneider, Professor of History, Indiana University
and#8220;Mark Greengrass is a leading authority on early modern Europe, and heand#8217;s written an extraordinary book, one that combines learning, imagination, and insight. This is history that takes seriously our twenty-first century questions about what Europe is and where it fits in the larger world.and#8221;
and#8212;Jonathan Dewald, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
and#8220;Composed in four countries (three of them in the European Union), Mark Greengrassand#8217;s contribution to this series offers an unusually wide-angled panorama of European history from Luther to the Peace of Westphalia, seasoned with a plethora of richly-illustrative and often unfamiliar illustrations.and#8221;
and#8212;William Monter, Professor of History, Northwestern University
Praise for Christianity
and#8220;Immensely ambitious and absorbing.and#8221;
and#8212;Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
and#8220;A landmark contribution . . . It is difficult to imagine a more comprehensive and surprisingly accessible volume than MacCullochand#8217;s.and#8221;
and#8212;Jon Meacham, The New York Times Book Review
and#8220;A prodigious, thrilling, masterclass of a history book. MacCulloch is to be congratulated for his accessible handling of so much complex, difficult material.and#8221;
and#8212;John Cornwell, Financial Times
and#8220;A tour de force: it has enormous range, is gracefully and wittily written, and from page one holds the attention. Everyone who reads it will learn things they didnand#8217;t know.and#8221;
and#8212;Eamon Duffy, author of Saints and Sinners
and#8220;MacCulloch brings an insiderand#8217;s wit to tracing the fate of official Christianity in an age of doubt, and to addressing modern surges of zeal, from Mormons to Pentecostals.and#8221;
and#8220;A triumphantly executed achievement. This book is a landmark in its field, astonishing in its range, compulsively readable, full of insight even for the most jaded professional and of illumination for the interested general reader. It will have few, if any, rivals in the English language.and#8221;
and#8212;Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
and#8220;A well-informed andand#8212;bless the manand#8212;witty narrative guaranteed to please and at the same time displease every single reader, if hardly in identical measure. . . . The authorand#8217;s prose style is fluent, well-judged, and wholly free of cant. . . . You will shut this large book with gratitude for a long and stimulating journey.and#8221;
and#8212;The Washington Times
and#8220;A tour de force . . . The great strength of the book is that it covers, in sufficient but not oppressive detail, huge areas of Christian history which are dealt with cursorily in traditional accounts of the subject and are unfamiliar to most English-speaking readers. . . . MacCullochand#8217;s analysis of why Christianity has taken root in Korea but made such a hash in India is perceptive and his account of the nineteenth-century missions in Africa and the Pacific is first-rate and full of insight. . . . The most brilliant point of this remarkable book is its identification of the U.S. as the prime example of the kind of nation the reformers hoped to create.and#8221;
and#8212;Paul Johnson, The Spectator
A remarkable new volume in the critically acclaimed Penguin History of Europe series
From peasants to princes, no one was untouched by the spiritual and intellectual upheaval of the sixteenth century. Martin Lutherand#8217;s challenge to church authorityand#160;forced Christians to examine their beliefs in ways that shook the foundations of their religion. The subsequent divisions, fed by dynastic rivalries and military changes, fundamentally altered the relations between ruler and ruled. Geographical and scientific discoveries challenged the unity of Christendom as a belief community.and#160;Europe, with all its divisions, emerged instead as a geographical projection. Chronicling these dramatic changes, Thomas More, Shakespeare, Montaigne, and Cervantes created works that continue to resonate with us.
Spanning the years 1517 to 1648, Christendom Destroyed is Mark Greengrassand#8217;s magnum opus: a rich tapestry that fosters a deeper understanding of Europeand#8217;s identity today.
A stunning work of research and imagination that sheds new light of the ancient world.
The western world has long been fascinated by classical Greek and Roman cultures, whose ideas and achievements underpin our own. Yet little has been written about how those ancient societies existed in conversation with an even deeper past, reaching back to the world of the Trojans and the time of Homer. An authoritative history covering two millennia of human experience, The Birth of Classical Europe presents provocative new perspectives on the world in whose shadow we continue to live. The authors' thoughtful, innovative approach to understanding the epochs of Alexander the Great and Augustus Caesar shows how our own changing values and interests have shaped our feelings about an era that is at once remote and startlingly close.
An ambitious and enlightening look at why the so-called Dark Ages were anything but that
Prizewinning historian Chris Wickham defies the conventional view of the Dark Ages in European history with a work of remarkable scope and rigorous yet accessible scholarship. Drawing on a wealth of new material and featuring a thoughtful synthesis of historical and archaeological approaches, Wickham argues that these centuries were critical in the formulation of European identity. Far from being a middle period between more significant epochs, this age has much to tell us in its own right about the progress of culture and the development of political thought.
Sweeping in its breadth, Wickham's incisive history focuses on a world still profoundly shaped by Rome, which encompassed the remarkable Byzantine, Carolingian, and Ottonian empires, and peoples ranging from Goths, Franks, and Vandals to Arabs, Anglo- Saxons, and Vikings. Digging deep into each culture, Wickham constructs a vivid portrait of a vast and varied world stretching from Ireland to Constantinople, the Baltic to the Mediterranean. The Inheritance of Rome brilliantly presents a fresh understanding of the crucible in which Europe would ultimately be created.
In 1648, Europe was essentially a medieval society. By 1815, it was the powerhouse of the modern world. In exuberant prose, Tim Blanning investigates ?the very hinge of European history? (The New York Times
) between the end of the Thirty Y ears? War and the Battle of Waterloo that witnessed five of the modern world?s great revolutions: scientific, industrial, American, French, and romantic. Blanning renders this vast subject digestible and absorbing by making fresh connections between the most mundane details of life and the major cultural, political, and technological transformations that birthed the modern age.
A unique and enlightening look at Europe's so-called Dark Ages
Defying the conventional Dark Ages view of European history between A.D. 400 and 1000, award-winning historian Chris Wickham presents The Inheritance of Rome, a work of remarkable scope and rigorous yet accessible scholarship. Drawing on a wealth of new material and featuring a thoughtful synthesis of historical and archaeological approaches, Wickham agues that these centuries were critical in the formulation of European identity. From Ireland to Constantinople, the Baltic to the Mediterranean, the narrative constructs a vivid portrait of the vast and varied world of Goths, Franks, Vandals, Arabs, Saxons, and Vikings. Groundbreaking and full of fascinating revelations, The Inheritance of Rome offers a fresh understanding of the crucible in which Europe would ultimately be created.
An innovative and intriguing look at the foundations of Western civilization from two leading historians.
The influence of ancient Greece and Rome can be seen in every aspect of our lives. From calendars to democracy to the very languages we speak, Western civilization owes a debt to these classical societies. Yet the Greeks and Romans did not emerge fully formed; their culture grew from an active engagement with a deeper past, drawing on ancient myths and figures to shape vibrant civilizations.
In The Birth of Classical Europe, the latest entry in the Penguin History of Europe, historians Simon Price and Peter Thonemann present a fresh perspective on classical culture in a book full of revelations about civilizations we thought we knew. In this impeccably researched and immensely readable history we see the ancient world unfold before us, with its grand cast of characters stretching from the great Greeks of myth to the world-shaping Caesars. A landmark achievement, The Birth of Classical Europe provides insight into an epoch that is both incredibly foreign and surprisingly familiar.
The New York Times bestseller andand#160;definitive history of Christianity for our timeand#151;from the award-winning author of The Reformation and Silence
A product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill, Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity goes back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and encompasses the globe. It captures the major turning points inand#160;Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodoxand#160;history and fills in often neglected accounts of conversion and confrontation in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.and#160;MacCulloch introduces us toand#160;monks and crusaders, heretics and reformers, popes and abolitionists, and discover Christianity's essential role in shaping human history and the intimate lives of men and women. Andand#160;he uncovers the roots of the faith that galvanized America, charting the surprising beliefs of the founding fathers, the rise of the Evangelical movement and of Pentecostalism, and the recent crises within the Catholic Church. Bursting with original insights and a great pleasure to read, this monumental religious history will not soon be surpassed.
A new understanding of one of the most decisive eras in European history, captured in extraordinary detail by a renowned scholar
The latest addition to the landmark Penguin History of Europe series is a fascinating study of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, when dramatic changes led to the collapse of Christendomand#151;a millennium in the makingand#151;and established the geographical and political frameworks of Western Europe as we know it.
From peasants to princes, no one was untouched by the spiritual and intellectual upheaval of this era. Martin Lutherand#8217;s challenge to church authorityand#160;forced Christians to examine their beliefs in ways that shook the foundations of their religion. Geographical and scientific discoveries undermined the unity of Christendom as a belief community.and#160;In its place, Europeand#151;modern, divided, frequently at war with itselfand#151;emerged as a collection of nation-states. Thomas More, Shakespeare, Montaigne, and Cervantes chronicled these changes in works that continue to resonate with us. Addressing all this and more,and#160;Christendom Destroyedand#160;is award-winning historian Mark Greengrassand#8217;s magnum opus: a rich tapestry that fosters a deeper understanding of Europeand#8217;s identity today.
About the Author
Diarmaid MacCulloch is a fellow of St. Cross College, Oxford, and professor of the history of the church at Oxford University. His books include Suffolk and the Tudors, winner of the Royal Historical Society's Whitfield Prize, and Thomas Cranmer: A Life, which won the Whitbread Biography Prize, the James Tait Black Prize, and the Duff Cooper Prize. A former Anglican deacon, he has presented many highly celebrated documentaries for television and radio, and was knighted in 2012 for his services to scholarship. He lives in Oxford, England.
Table of Contents
Europe in the High Middle Ages List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Notes on Names
Part I: Europe in the Eleventh Century
1. Christendom in the Year 1000
2. Mediterranean Europe
3. Northmen, Celts and Anglo-Saxons
5. Central Europe
Part II: The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century
6. The Investiture Controversy
7. The First Crusade
8. The World of Learning
9. Cultural Innovations of the Twelfth Century: Vernacular Literature and Architecture
10. Political Power and Its Contexts I
11. Political Power and Its Contexts II
Part III: The Thirteenth Century
12. Social Structures
13. The Pontificate of Innocent III and the Fourth Lateran Council
15. The Kingdoms of the North
16. Baltic and Central Europe
17. The Gothic World
18. Southern Europe
Part IV: Christendom in the Early Fourteenth Century
19. Famine and Plague
20. Political and Social Violence
21. The Church in Crisis
Appendix: Genealogical Tables