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The Christian World: A Global History

(Modern Library Chronicles #29)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  20 reviews
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 bot
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Modern Library (first published 2008)
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3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  128 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Jim Gallen
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“The Christian World” is a history of Christianity unlike any I have ever read. Whereas others focus on the doctrinal development and individual heroes, this one focuses on a collection of geographical Christian Episodes. Author Martin Marty raises the readers’ awareness that early Christianity was concentrated in Western Asia and North Africa, as much or more than in Europe. The initial patriarchs were distributed among the continents in Damascus, Alexandria and Rome. The rise of Islam extingui ...more
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, theology
Martin Marty effortlessly sums up the past 2000 years of Christian history, dividing it into episodes on Asian, African, European, North and South American continents. He hits all the major high points from a pretty neutral standpoint. He introduces all the major players, from the Apostles to Frumentius to Cyril and Methodius to Kierkegaard to Billy Sunday, and everyone in between.

A must-read for anyone who feels like they have something to learn from Church history but doesn't want to read twe
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting book but not sure audio book was the way to go. I find that books that require concentration or too much focus don't work for me. I can easily tune out the book and get lost in my own thoughts. The narrators voice in this case also made it easy to slip in and out of focus.

But the book does provide a useful and interesting big picture look at Christianity's history from a global perspective. It gives you key ideas, time frames and personalities in each region along with
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, textbook
I had to read this book due to an online course I am taking as an elective in college. I actually enjoyed the book more than I thought I would. It is about the history of Christianity in different parts of the world and is broken up in chapters that cover the various continents. There are two chapters for Europe, two for Asia, two for Africa, one for Latin America, one for North American, and one discussing Christianity's Jewish beginnings.

The format of the book made it easily readable. I did no
Martin Marty is a prolific author whose books I have never read. Of course, there are lots of authors I have never read and will never bother to try. However, Marty is a Lutheran "rock star". He has written over fifty books and I know that his writing is well researched and worth reading. That is especially true since I am Lutheran and many people have suggested that I read some of his books.

So when I saw this book on the library shelves, I picked it up because it is written by Marty. However, I
Chase Parsley
Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Martin Marty's book on the history of Christianity is interestingly divided by geography, and it is a worthwhile book to read. Marty does a great job explaining the early Church controversies and missionary work.

My gripe about this book is that it felt like a Sunday School version of Christianity. The author's bias towards the good of the religion is felt throughout the book, and he even mentions how, despite Christianity on the decline in the West, its rise in Africa and parts of Asia are makin
Nov 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Martin E. Marty, the eminent Professor Emeritus from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, has done quite a difficult task: writing a concise, informative history of Christianity from a global perspective in less than 240 pages. As such, many corners were cut but it presents a narrative that, while hitting the main points, also re-frames the narrative by considering the religion from a global perspective.

I like the Modern Library Chronicles because they give you informative examinati
Sep 12, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a Reader's Digest version of a few thousand years of a religion's development, broken out both chronologically and geographically. As it covers so much, you can expect that much is also missing, and one can take issue endlessly with what the author swoops in to look at, versus what he discards. The style is breezy and somewhat informal. As such, big moments like the Protestant Reformation are discussed in much the same tone and detail as, say, some 19th century missionary in sub-saharan ...more
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is an overview of the growth and spread of Christianity. Marty succinctly and objectively traces Christianity from its inception in the Middle East to the global religion it is now. He does not claim to be writing an in depth book. It is a useful survey from which a reader may expand upon with more specific books. I especially enjoyed his "episodes" about the early church, the history in Europe, and his discussion of the episode in North America because he covered areas I knew somethin ...more
Dan Shonka
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Martin Marty gives a lot of interesting information regarding the first two thousand years of Christianity and how the years and geography have impacted the morphing of the religion. However, his writing style is a often a bit cumbersome. Maybe it was just me, but I found myself having to reread numerous sentences because the sentence structure was awkward. In the balance, I'd say the insight to the development of Christianity was worth wading through the occasional rhythmless sentence.
Bruce Steffensen
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Martin Marty Has written a delightful account of the scope of Christina History. The book is divided in episodes such as "The First Asian Episode," "The First African Episode." Marty admits that in 240 pages it is impossible to cover 2000 years of history, so he doesn't try. His goal is to show the global scope of Christianity, and the global influences that have shaped it. He does this well.

Dec 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Good overview of Christianity throughout the world from its beginnings to the present day. The book doesn't offer much new material, but it is a good introduction for someone interested in getting a basic understanding of the history.
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
200 pages weren't enough to pack 2000 years of history and remain clear. Too many important ideas and events were glossed over. The chapters on the current growth of Christianity in Asia and Africa was well done though.
Jul 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
This booked seemed very constrained by its length. Marty had an admirable mission in trying to look at the church continent-by-continent, but there seemed to be quite a bit lacking in the crossover between movements, etc.
Apr 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Somewhat simplistic- an overview
May 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
Filled in some gaps for me in early history-- how did we get from Pentecost to a church? - but got scattered and less interesting as the author tried to cover all of Christianity over 2 millennia.
Aug 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, audio
I only managed to listen to the first couple of disks. Very detailed, which might be interpreted as "boring."
Matt Friedman
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
It's a kind of "Christian-history lite," and ends up being a surprisingly shallow read for someone of Dr. Marty's academic calibre.
Brook Maturo
May 18, 2015 rated it liked it
A decent sweep of the history of the church over centuries. I appreciated the way he connected Asia and Africa to the bigger picture.
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Martin Emil Marty is an American Lutheran religious scholar who has written extensively on 19th century and 20th century American religion. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1956, and served as a Lutheran pastor from 1952 to 1962 in the suburbs of Chicago. From 1963 to 1998 he taught at the University of Chicago Divinity School, held an endowed chair, and now holds emeritus sta ...more

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