Once in a generation, a historian will redefine his field, producing a book that demands to be read and heard - 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 listeners 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 audiobook 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.
©2010 Diamaid MacCulloch (P)2010 Gildan Media Corp
"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)
"A work of exceptional breadth and subtlety." (Booklist)
This is a comprehensive overview of Christian history. I purchased the whisper-sync to be able to more easily access this book as a reference. Do you remember when, where and why the Chalcedon council took place? Or the 95 theses, or the orthodox views on transubstantiation? It's well researched and pretty thorough. Not a gripping read, but worth the investment if you are interested the history of the most influential religion of the West.
The 1st book is great as it covers the early history. The part about the start of Islam is really good also. The remainder is good but doesn't compare to the 1st. Either way I glad I listened in as I learned a great deal here. Narrator did a good job with the book.
Husband, Dad, Principal, Adjunct prof, RC Deacon, radio co-host, story teller, NYer, walker, & occasional sipper of fine whisk(e)y,
interesting presentation of the the history of the Christianity. Author offers a sympathetic objectivity. Listen carefully because he is also pretty funny!
Definitely the most thoroughly informative audio book I have listen to so far. Christianity - The First Three Thousand Years - gives a concise overview of Christian history and presents the information in such a way that anyone with a general understanding of Christianity will appreciate the overview.
The "Church in the East" which described the spread of Christianity into the Far East (India, the Mongolian Empire, and China) was enlightening. I never realized that Christianity had traveled so far so early.
He brings the facts to life in such a way that he staves off the bordom that often results in books concerned with world history.
Best read on Christian history, ever.
Tectonic, relevant & engrossing
His even cadence
Can't do it.
I have wanted something this detailed, but had no interest in donning robes to do so. It is a large subject that this book helps to tame.
MacCulloch offers an expansive study but one that may have benefited by a bit more careful editing. Passages that seem more like footnotes or side thoughts invade anachronistically. The text is very unbiased and straightforward, a proper quality that in this case renders the reading rather monotonous. The real problem with this recording, as with so many history texts that demand a reader with an academic background suitable to the material as well as a basic knowledge of Latin and other Romance languages, is that the reading is riddled with mispronunciations. The most irritating is the slurring of the words "Christian" and "Christianity" to "Chris-chen" and Chris-chee-an-i-ty."
If you're looking for an unbiased historical analysis of the History of Christianity, this is not the book. The author continually takes shots at Christianity throughout the book. For all the detail he provides, he continually fails to provide evidence for many of the comments/ shots he takes at Christianity. The author's biases were so apparent that they inhibited his ability to properly present a strong documented historical analysis of Christianity. I can read just about anything and look for positive take aways from a book. I have never rated a book this poorly, but this book was a waste of time and money.
Very Good Listen and explains a lot about what is happening today in Religious Turmoil.
The book started out strong with lots of interesting facts about pre-Christianity and early Christianity. The author wasn't even afraid to mix in some mildly controversial views. But as history progressed and entered into eras where there is more concrete evidence he degenerated into a litany of fact recitation with very little insight and opinion mixed in.
Overall the book is absolutely comprehensive and I learned lots of things that I hadn't previously known - but I prefer my histories with a bit more insight. *Why* did history take the turns that it had or *Why* did people react in certain ways to certain events. The microscopic list of dates and names and places I find less interesting than some.
I will not try another book by Diarmaid MacCulloch. The narrator, Walter Dixon, does a fine job.
Diarmaid MacCulloch has an imaginative interpretation--not an asset for an historian. The author makes controversial assertions without providing evidence. MacCulloch virtually ignores internal evidence regarding the dating and authorship of biblical texts. For example, Daniel is assigned a late date, which of course, precludes Daniel as author. Attributes few of the New Testament (NT) letters "from Paul" as actually written by Paul. Additionally, inconsistencies are seen in the NT gospel accounts and in Paul's teaching compared with those of Jesus where none exist. Too many examples exist to enumerate them. I wonder whether MacCulloch has even given the NT a careful reading. I expected to disagree on some points of interpretation, but the author's bias is so extreme the book is almost comical.
The narration is fine.
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