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Byzantine Christianity: A People's History of Christianity [Hardcover]

By Derek Krueger (A01)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   252
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.46" Width: 7.68" Height: 0.97"
Weight:   1.65 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 30, 2006
Publisher   Fortress Press
ISBN  0800634136  
EAN  9780800634131  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Focuses on the religious people and introduces the religion of the Byzantine Christian laity by asking the questions: What did ordinary Christians to in church, in their homes, and their workshops? How were icons used? How did the people celebrate, marry, and mourn? Where did they go on pilgrimage?

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More About Derek Krueger

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Derek Krueger is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Derek Krueger has an academic affiliation as follows - University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [6817  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History   [2546  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
/  Aug 14, 2009
excellent for insight into the Eastern Orthodox which is below the radar in the west...
Krueger  Dec 17, 2008
Krueger, Derek Byzantine Christianity, A People's History of Christianity vol. 3
Fortress Press Minneapolis© 2003
Derek Krueger is Professor of religious Studies and head of the department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A student of early Byzantine hagiography and monasticism, his publication include Symeon the Holy Fool. Among his many publications is writing and Holiness: The Practice of Authorship in the Early Christian Last (University of Pennsylvania Press. 2004).
Byzantine Christianity is a church history yes, but church history with a difference Church, they insist, not to be understood first, and foremost as the hierarchical-institutional bureaucratic corporation; rather, above all, it is the laity, the ordinary faithful, and the people. When people history came on the scene, it was not only a means for uncovering and unknown dimension of the past but also in some sense in instrument for righting an injustice. Byzantine Christianity, the fabulously rich sibling to western Christianity, flourished in the Byzantine Empire for over a millennium from the founding of Constantinople in 324 to its' fall in 1453. The history of Christianity began to open itself up, its agenda over the last two centuries has been dominated by others facets of this religion's past such as theology, dogma, institutions, and ecclesio-political relations.
This history of theology has concentrated on the self-understanding of Christians Intellectuals. Experts on institutional history have research the formation growth, and functioning of leadership offices bureaucratic structures, official decision-making process, and so forth. Derek's focus was on the religious lives of the ordinary people of the religion of the Byzantine Christina lay by asking what did ordinary Christians do in church, in their home, and their worships. How did the people celebrate, who they are, and where did they go on Pilgrimage?
They have in common no universally agreed-on-methodology, nor do they even concur on how precisely to define problematic terms such as popular religion. What they do share is a conviction that rescuing the Christian people from their historic anonymity is important, and reworking the story's plot with lay piety as the central narrative will be a contribution of lasting value. While Orthodox theology investigated ways to understand God and creation, humanity's participation in Christ's work of redemption, and how the divine might be present in images, much Byzantine religious activity sought solutions to practical problems. Who were those people the voiceless, the ordinary faithful, who wrote no theological treatises, whose statues adorn no basilica, who negotiated no concordats, whose very names themselves are largely lost to historical memory? Here our focus is drawn to the `performance' of a distinctive piety-by clergy in the liturgy, to be sure that more of the laity, ordinary women, children and men practice the liturgy. The entire panoply of religious practice has been unfolded for us by the contributors to this volume under the leadership of volume editor Derek Krueger.
Today even after half a century of study answers are still in short supply. What is already clear is that many traditional assumptions, time-worn clichés, and well-loved
nuggets of conventional wisdom about Christianity's past will have to be abandoned.
Histories of Christianity, usually centered on the west, often omit Byzantium or mention it only in passing, many surveys of Christian doctrine abandon the Christianities of the East after the fifth-century Council of Chalcedon. Students of Byzantium know a different story, a rich cultural heritage bridging antiquity and the early modern. While the essays collected here cannot offer a comprehensive history of Byzantine Christian life and practice, they help to correct this imbalance, to reinscribe Byzantine Christians in a people history of Christianity. Krueger focus is for the quest for the people's Christianity in Byzantium implies, at least in part, the religion of the common people differed from that of political and ecclesiastical authorities and religious specialists. And yet the religious lives of the elites and of the masses were not truly distinct. Rather, all Byzantine Christians participated in a shared system of religious practice, even as they experienced and took on different roles.

Religion With A Different Twist  Dec 14, 2008
Krueger, Derek, Editor. A People's History of Christianity. Byzantine Christianity. Vol. 3. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. 2006, pp. 252. $25.55.
Derek Krueger, editor, is Professor of Religious Studies and head of the department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Among his many publications is Writing and Holiness: The Practice of Authorship in the Early Christian East (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). Byzantine Christianity is the third of a seven volume series which, "introduces the question, What did Byzantine Christians do?"
The author states in the foreword that this seven-volume series breaks new ground by looking at Christianity's past from the vantage point of a people's history. It is church history, yes, but church history with a difference: "Church," the author insist, is not to be understood first and foremost as the hierarchal-institutional-bureaucratic corporation; rather, above all, it is the laity, the ordinary faithful people. Their religious lives, their pious practices, their self-understandings as Christians, and the way all of this grew and changed over the last two millennia-this is the unexplored territory in which the author declares he is setting foot" (xiii).
This book consists of ten chapters divided into three parts, each chapter written by different authors. Part one covers: Congregations and Preachers with chapter divisions on the Lay Piety in the Sermons of John Chrysostom, The Cult of the Martyrs and the Cappadocian Fathers, and Romanos and the Night Vigil in the Sixth Century. Part two covers Places, Spaces, and Rites with chapters on Shrines, Festivals, and the "Undistinguished Mob", The Layperson in Church, and the Death and Dying of Byzantium. Part three covers Devotional Life and Artifacts with chapters on Icons, Prayer, and Vision in the Eleventh Century, Objects of Devotion and Protection, The Religious Lives of Children and Adolescents, and the Devotional life of Laywomen.
As a seminarian, one of the class projects was to visit the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral and the Rothko Chapel here in Houston, after reading Derek Krueger's Byzantine Christianity. In reading Krueger's book, it brought clarity to this experience and it also helped me to appreciate some of their culture, which is vastly different from Protestants and Evangelicals. Difference does not always mean that one or the other's practices or perspectives are incorrect or not in line with some aspects of the Christian faith, it just means there are different ways of worshipping and practicing one's faith.
Krueger states that in answering the question "what did Byzantine Christians do?, one must consider how people prayed and how often they attended services; how they celebrated, married, and mourned; how they interacted with priests, monks, nuns, and holy laypeople; where they went on pilgrimage and why they visited shrines; how they transmitted religious values to their children; and how they performed acts of charity, and also what ordinary Christians did in church, in their homes or worships, about their veneration of saints or their use of icons, about their visual and material culture and about the place of religion in the course of their lives, are what illuminate a people's Christianity (2).
Krueger deals with each of these aspects in great detail, focusing on the religious practices and the challenges of telling the history of Christianity in Byzantium. Interestingly, he states "while Orthodox theology investigated ways to understand God and creation, humanity's participation in Christ's work of redemption, and how the divine might be present in images, much of Byzantine religious activity sought solutions to practical problems. Christianity offered therapies for physical ailments, protection from illness and demons, and the salvation of the soul after death. Krueger describes their Christian devotion both publically and private, their festivals and vigils which provided opportunities for collective expressions of devotion to Christ and the saints, and often standardized through hymns and liturgies (3).
Being a female and a preacher in seminary the most interesting part of the book for me, though it was the last chapter, was the chapter on the devotional life of laywomen. I must give Krueger and all of the author's of The People's History credit, because they give women a prominent place in history and in the life of the church. He states "religious faith and devotional practices played a significant part in the lives of Byzantine women, especially those of the middle and upper classes, whose daily life was quite circumscribed. Prayer, Bible study, and the veneration of icons at home offered spiritual comfort, while attendance at church services, participation in religious processions, visit to holy shrines, and charitable activities provided approved opportunities to leave the confines of the home (201).
I would highly recommend this book to the students of Church history and Christianity, Bible College students and seminarians. If students are interested in learning about the "Byzantine Christianity, which developed as a distinct system of religious practice and devotion, different from the medieval Roman Catholicism emerging simultaneously in the west", this book is a must read.


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