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The First Thousand Years: A Global History…

The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity

by Robert Louis Wilken

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I enjoyed this book a great deal. Often Wilken's small details give a glimpse into a particular period that add flavor and a sense of the time. My takeaways from this book are: the complex inter-relation of secular and religious leadership which took a variety of forms in various times and places; the remarkable role that monastic communities played in culture, evangelism, and theology; and the vast effect of the success of Muslim conquest on what had once been Christian territories. This is a very readable book, and a very solid introduction to Christianity's first millennium. ( )
  rmiesel | Jun 10, 2014 |
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"How did a community that was largely invisible in the first two centuries of its existence go on to remake the civilizations it inhabited, culturally, politically, and intellectually? Beginning with the life of Jesus, Robert Louis Wilken narrates the dramatic spread and development of Christianity over the first thousand years of its history. Moving through the formation of early institutions, practices, and beliefs to the transformations of the Roman world after the conversion of Constantine, he sheds new light on the subsequent stories of Christianity in the Latin West, the Byzantine and Slavic East, the Middle East, and Central Asia.Through a selected narration of particularly noteworthy persons and events, Wilken demonstrates how the coming of Christianity set in motion one of the most profound revolutions the world has known. This is not a story limited to the West; rather, Christian communities in Ethiopia, Nubia, Armenia, Georgia, Persia, Central Asia, India, and China shaped the course of Christian history. The rise and spread of Islam had a lasting impact on the future of Christianity, and several chapters are devoted to the early experiences of Christians under Muslim rule. Wilken reminds us that the career of Christianity is characterized by decline and attrition as well as by growth and expansion. Ten years in the making and the result of a lifetime of study, this is Robert Louis Wilken's summa, a moving, reflective, and commanding account from a scholar at the height of his powers"-- "A narrative account of the history of Christianity from its beginning to the end of the first millennium. The principal theme is the slow drama of the building of a Christian civilization. A major theme is the mission of Christians among different peoples in many regions of the ancient world: Ethiopia, Nubia, Armenia, Georgia, Persia, central Asia, India, China as well as among the Germanic peoples of northern Europe and the Slavic peoples in the Balkans and Russia. The rise and spread of Islam is integral to the story"--… (more)

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