The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity

Robert Louis Wilken . Yale Univ., $35 (416p) ISBN 978-0-300-11884-1
In this brilliant survey of the development of Christianity, Wilken, dean of early Christian history (The Christians as the Romans Saw Them), tells a riveting story of a struggling young religion searching for an identity that slowly, over the course of centuries, develops into a collection of religious communities of global proportions. He traces the lives and thought of many individuals who give the story of Christianity its peculiar vigor: Macrina, who introduced a form of monasticism to Asia Minor; Theodore Abu Qurrah, the first Christian to write theological works in Arabic; theological thinkers such as Augustine and Origen, among others. Wilken elegantly weaves the colorful threads of the Christian development of doctrines and rituals with the influence of three significant institutions—bishops, monks, and kings or emperors—into a patchwork quilt that colorfully covers Christianity's expansion in the first third of the millennium, its mid-millennium rise, and its decline in its encounters with Islam in the eighth and ninth centuries. By the end of the first millennium, Christians lived in three large areas—Syria and the Arabic Middle East, the Greek and Slavic East, the Latin West—and each region had its own distinctive forms of Christian life, art, worship, and piety. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 11/01/2012
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