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.
"Where does Christianity begin? In Athens, Jerusalem, or Rome? How did the early creeds of the church develop and differentiate? What was the impact of the Reformation and the Catholic Counterreformation? How have vital Christian communities emerged in Asia, Africa, and India since the 18th century? Award-winning historian MacCulloch (The Reformation) attempts to answer these questions and many more in this elegantly written, magisterial history of Christianity. MacCulloch diligently traces the origins and development of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christianities, and he provides a more in-depth look at the development of Christianity in Asia and Africa than standard histories of Christianity. He offers sketches of Christian thinkers from Augustine and Luther to Desmond Tutu and Patriarch Bartholomew I. Three appendixes contain a list of popes, Orthodox patriarchs, and a collection of Christian texts. Assuming no previous knowledge on the part of readers about Christian traditions, MacCulloch traces in breathtaking detail the often contentious arguments within Christianity for the past 3,000 years. His monumental achievement will not soon be surpassed." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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
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.
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.