Church in Ancient Society
From Galilee to Gregory the Great
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of Pages: 740
Width: 16.4 cm
Height: 24.4 cm
The Church in Ancient Society provides a full and enjoyable narrative history of the first six centuries of the Christian Church. Ancient Greek and Roman society had many gods and an addiction to astrology and divination. This introduction to the period traces the process by which Christianity changed this and so provided a foundation for the modern world: the teaching of Jesus created a lasting community, which grew to command the allegiance of the Roman emperor. Christianity is discussed in relation to how it appeared to both Jews and pagans, and how its Christian doctrine and practice were shaped in relation to Graeco-Roman culture and the Jewish matrix. Among the major figures discussed are Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Constantine, Julian the Apostate, Basil, Ambrose, and Augustine. Following a chronological approach, Henry Chadwick's clear exposition of important texts and theological debates in their historical context is unrivalled in detail. In particular, theological and ecclesial texts are examined in relation to the behaviour and beliefs of people who attended churches and synagogues. Christians did not find agreement and unity easy and the author displays a distinctive concern for the factors - theological, personal, and political - which caused division in the church and prevented reconciliation. The emperors, however, began to foster unity for political reasons and to choose monotheism. Finally, the Church captured the society.
Chadwick's history is likely to be a standard work for students for many years to come. Journal of Ecclesiastical History The style of the narrator is clear, enlivened by occasional colloquialisms and modern parallels. Journal of Ecclesiastical History The first thing which must strike any reader is the immense range and depth of the author's scholarship. Journal of Ecclesiastical History For teachers of theology, The Church in Ancient Society will be a valuable resource. Graham Gould, THES This is a tour de force by a great scholar ... a magisterial account of the doctrinal and institutional history of the early Church, particularly in the east Roman provinces. The easy style, not without a sprinkling of colloquialisms, conceals the author's great learning and enthusiasm for his subject ... Henry Chadwick's book will remain a standard work on the history of early Christianity for the forseeable future. English Historical Review Chadwick writes a fluent narrative history ... But the best is reserved for the three chapters on the Christological controversies in the east, 428-451. This is a well-tilled field, but Chadwick manages to breathe new life into each phase of the dispute. There is complete command of the evidence and clear-headed explanation of the events. English Historical Review Whoever looks for a reliable and highly readable companion to the formative centuries of Christianity and, in many respects, of European culture as well could hardly make a better choice. Church Times. For many, the world of late antiquity, the concerns of theologians and of ordinary Christians alike, may have become a distant heritage. Chadwick generally succeeds in bringing it to life. At times, antiquity doesn't even seem to be so distant after all. Church Times Surveying this vast field with the experience of a lifetime, Chadwick on every page reveals his mastery, in particular, of the many and varied primary sources. Church Times The exposition is rich in detail, and makes an enjoyable read that will appeal to an academic and to a general readership alike. Church Times Marked by a monumentality both of scope and detail ... the last great narrative history of the twentieth century in its field. Kate Cooper, Times Literary Supplement Henry Chadwick ranks as one of the great figures of the twentieth century in his field, and there is every reason to believe that a future generation of scholars will be keen to have access to his guidance on any one of a thousand points of detail. Kate Cooper, Times Literary Supplement The Church in Ancient Society will stand as a fitting memorial to the study of patristics in the late twentieth century. Kate Cooper, Times Literary Supplement Though dense, the book is highly readable, with pithy summaries of complicated controversies and manoeuvrings, peppered with aphorism and irony. Delightful asides abound ... The book is a tour de force to which we will keep turning as an essential reference work. The Tablet The first 600 years: that is nearly one third of the Church's entire history. No one but Henry Chadwick ... could have given us so full and so authoritative an account of these decisive centuries. His new book crowns a body of illuminating work on several of the outstanding figures as well as on many of the thorniest problems of the early Church's history. The Tablet