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A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years
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A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  3,922 Ratings  ·  353 Reviews
The author of The Reformation returns with the definitive history of Christianity for our time. Once in a generation a historian will redefine his field, producing a book that demands to be read--a product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill. Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity is such a book. Ambitious, it ranges back to the origins of the Hebrew Bib ...more
Hardcover, 1016 pages
Published May 5th 2010 by Viking (first published October 1st 2009)
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Legacy Dad The Christ Files by John Dickson. In this book, Dickson chooses to stay away from fringe sources on both sides for and against Christianity (Harris,…moreThe Christ Files by John Dickson. In this book, Dickson chooses to stay away from fringe sources on both sides for and against Christianity (Harris, Dawkins, Strobel, McDowell) and instead focuses on unbiased, peer reviewed, scholarly opinions on the writings about Jesus and the early Christian movement. Dickson also uses the writings of pagan, Greek, and Roman sources, outside Christianity, who also wrote about Jesus and the early Christian following.

To answer your question plainly, there is no evidence that Roman and Greek God's ever lived or walked the earth while there is DNA, anthropological, and peer reviewed academic sources from both inside and outside of Christianity that many of the people, stories, places and events in the Christian New Testament did exist.

Scholars have more historical evidence and ancient texts evidencing that a person named Jesus Christ existed than they do for Julius Caesar. (less)

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Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘What religion am I?’ asks Homer Simpson in one episode of his family's eponymous cartoon. ‘I'm the one with all the well-meaning rules that don't work out in real life…uh…Christianity.’ One of the many pleasures in Diarmaid MacCulloch's amazingly comprehensive book is getting a handle on what historical basis there is for the rules and doctrines of this prolific and mercurial religion, which nowadays seems characterized by extreme reactions of either perfect secular indifference or increasingly ...more
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: won-t-finish
This book should have been called Christianity: A Speculative History from a Somewhat Antagonistic Viewpoint. I only read the first 150 pages, plenty far enough to understand how MacCulloch feels about Christianity. Most of the book is, by nature, extrapolation based on a very fragmented set of documents and conflicting histories, but MacCulloch is always overanxious to undermine Christianity by taking huge leaps of speculation and is never, at least that I saw in the first 150 pages, willing to ...more
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It took three library renewals to get through this book (and thanks to an ice storm, the fifth this year!, I still owe the library a one day fine, a whole nickel that they thank you for and dump in a desk drawer with a bunch of rubber bands, and I love living in the country and having that library), and then work kind of slammed me a little, so it’s just been sitting there languishing on my currently-reading shelf for two weeks. And in all that time I still haven’t come up with something deeply ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
This book is seriously insane! I'm only halfway through and we've already covered: Rome, early popes, African christians, the Orthodox Church, the beginnings of various brotherhoods and convents, ways to pray, Constantine, early theologians and philosophers, pergatory, the energy of God. I can't list everything. The only issue I have is that it's just too much at once. This is the perfect book for someone studying theology.

The Virgin Mary, the Tartars, the reformation and restoration, Martin Lut
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a monumental piece of work by an erudite scholar. It covers the whole range of Christian history from its roots in Judaism to modern day.

As a starting point it delves into the Old Testament contrast it's God jehovah -a jealous and vengeful God - with the loving God that sacrifices his son in the New Testament.

It shows the rise of Christianity from an obscure Jewish sect, through the rebranding by St Paul, and on to an established state religion. It is a truly astonishing journey. Throug
Ben Fairchild
Apr 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is a very good history. It depresses me a bit because it is written in the cynical, anti-establishment style which is typical of the educated elite today, but it is valuable for its quality and the insight which it offers regarding the multitude of different takes on Christianity (most of them sincere and justified, none of them isolated from political expediency) which were the fruit of the early Church. Its quite humbling for those who maintain 'the correct doctrines' and at the same time ...more
Dec 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a rather astonishing overview of the history of Christianity. An ambitious subject to handle in one volume, and the author does a fine job as discussing the most disparate strands of this almost universal faith.

The title seems a bit odd at first, considering Christianity is only two thousand years old. But the author does not skimp at first, covering the Platonic and Hebraic traditions and how they affected the background of early Christianity.

One of the more interesting assertions is
Justin Evans
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-etc
MacCulloch makes reading exhaustive history exhilarating rather than exhausting, and although everyone will have a favourite nit to pick - mine being the dubious treatment of Hegel, and the absence of anything about Erigena - only the most die-hard partisan could claim that this is anything other than brilliant. Ignore anyone who tells you it's anti-(insert your own sect here), and read it. Take your time. And I'm sure you'll be mining the 'recommended reading' section at the back of the book be ...more
Clif Hostetler
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, history
The title provides an early indication that the Ancient Greek and Hebrew roots of Christianity are covered by this book in addition to the past two thousand years that are more commonly accepted as the era of Christianity. That's a very long span of history, in fact too broad of a scope to cover in great detail even with 1184 pages (actually 1000 pages plus table of contents, notes, bibliography, index and illustrations). Nevertheless, the author does a good job telling the story in a free flowi ...more
Erik Graff
Nov 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians
Recommended to Erik by: Kelly Kingdon
Shelves: religion
This book may be too ambitious. It claims to cover three thousand years of global history, but it does so sketchily, most of its focus being on, first, the Middle East and, second, Europe and America. The Britishness of the author is clear as is the fact that he himself is not a Christian. The content ranges from the breezy, as in his descriptions of modern trends, to the dense, as in his treatment of the controversies animating the earliest church councils. Most readers will find parts of it ob ...more
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Great book, but taking forever for me to finish! 11 39 Sep 24, 2016 04:48PM  
  • Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 years
  • Pagans and Christians
  • The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph & Diversity 200–1000
  • The Christian Tradition 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition 100-600
  • Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium
  • Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy
  • The Story of the Scrolls: The Miraculous Discovery and True Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580
  • The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400-1000
  • The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason
  • The Christian World: A Global History (Modern Library Chronicles)
  • When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome
  • Dark Mysteries of the Vatican
  • The Cross and the Crescent: Christianity and Islam from Muhammad to the Reformation
  • Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom
  • The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans and Heretics
  • The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity
  • God's War: A New History of the Crusades
“Human societies are based on the human tendency to want things, and are geared to satisfying those wants: possessions or facilities to bring ease and personal satisfaction. The results are frequently disappointing, and always terminate in the embarrassing non sequitur of death.” 4 likes
“The only way in which Darwin's data made sense was to suppose that species battled for survival, and that evolution came when one slight adaptation of a species proved more successful than another in the battle: a process which he named 'natural selection'. There was nothing benevolent about the providence which watched over the process. Reason was served her notice as the handmaid of Christian revelation.” 1 likes
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