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The Christian World (Modern Library Chronicles) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   262
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.62" Width: 4.96" Height: 0.63"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 13, 2009
Publisher   Modern Library
ISBN  0812976770  
EAN  9780812976779  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Overview
In this cogent volume, renowned Christian historian Martin Marty delivers a brief yet sweeping account of Christianity and how it spread from a few believers two thousand years ago to become the world's largest religion. Comprising nearly one third of the world's population-more than two billion followers-Christianity is distinctive among major faiths in that it derives both its character and its authority from the divinity of its central figure, Jesus Christ. Examining this facet of Christianity from historical and sociological viewpoints, Marty lays bare the roots of this faith, in turn chronicling its success throughout the world. Writing with great style, and providing impeccable interpretations of historical, canonical, and liturgical documents, Marty gives readers of all faiths and levels of familiarity with Christian practices and history a highly useful and supremely accessible primer. He depicts the life of Christ and his teachings and explains how the apostles set out to spread the Gospel. With a special emphasis on global Christianity, he shows how the religion emerged from its ancestral homelands in Africa, the Levant, and Asia Minor, was imported to Europe, and then spread from there to the rest of the world, most often via trade and conquest. While giving a broad overview, Marty also focuses on specific issues, such as how Christianity struggles with the polar tensions inherent to many of the faith's denominations, and how it attempts to reconcile some of its stances on armed conflict, justice, and dominion with the teachings of Christ. The Christian World is a chronicle of one of the great belief systems and its many followers. It's a magnificent story of emperors and kings, war and geography, theology and politics, saints and sinners, and the earthly battle to save souls. Above all, it's a remarkable testament to the teachings of Christ and how his message spreads around the globe to touch human experience everywhere.

Publishers Description
In this cogent volume, historian Martin Marty gives readers of all faiths a brief yet sweeping account of Christianity and how it grew from a few believers two thousand years ago to become the world's largest religion. He depicts the life of Christ and his teachings and explains how the apostles set out to spread the Gospel. With a special emphasis on global Christianity, Marty shows how the religion emerged from its ancestral homeland in Africa, the Levant, and Asia Minor, was imported to Europe, and then expanded from there to the rest of the world. While giving a broad overview, Marty also focuses on specific issues, such as how Christianity attempts to reconcile with the teachings of Christ some of its stances on armed conflict, justice, and dominion. "The Christian World" is a remarkable testament to how Christ's message has touched human experience everywhere.

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More About Martin E. Marty

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Martin Marty has written a number of seminal works on religion, and has received some seventy-five honorary doctorates. His awards include the National Book Award, the National Humanities Medal, and the Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives in Chicago with his wife.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [6817  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History   [4688  similar products]



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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Concise is the word  Mar 22, 2009
Attempting a one-volume history of anything that has existed for over 2000 years is no small task. Now try to keep it "brief". Once again Modern Library deserves praise just for tackling the task. Martin Marty's emphasis is on the spiritual side of the Christianity in The Christian World, with the institutions taking a back seat. His scope is larger, geographically, than Paul Johnson's admirable yet European-centric The History of Christianity. You won't find a tremendous amount of information about individual churches or creeds but you will meet an interesting array of characters like Origen who decides to go the extra mile in curbing his instincts by castrating himself. (Whether or not this was entirely a DIY endeavor or not isn't clear from the text.)

With material like this the early part of the book glides along. Marty has an eye for a good vignette and a good quote, like the nun who responds to a monk who averts his gaze when he sees a group a nuns. "If you had been a perfect monk, you would not have looked so closely as to perceive that we are women." I do believe that's the early Church equivalent of "in your face, holy boy." Then things bog down a bit and Marty seems to lose a bit of his spark, churning out lines like "It was unholy Christian holy war". Now really. For one thing, what "holy war" isn't unholy? This is just the start of a catalog of atrocities committed by men and women allegedly to act in the name of a religion. This is hardly a newsflash. On the other hand, this occasional heavy-handedness seems to me to be the result of trying to tell all sides of the story in a limited space rather than axe grinding.

All in all this is a solid effort, more history of Christianity as a faith rather than a historical force. It didn't leave me wanting to read more nor did I feel like I have the topic well-covered now but I did learn a few things and what more can one ask of a "concise" history?

Note: this book is available in a Kindle version (where this review originated).
 

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