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Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three…
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Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided…

by John Philip Jenkins

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Wow what a struggle to determine if Jesus was divine or was he human or was he
both. Nestorius advocated the two natures theory but even though he was accused of being a heretic his view ultimately prevailed over the one nature (divine) theory. I had no idea how contentious this was. I thought the Council of Nicea had resolved everthing but it was ot that simple.

Also, just finished the Jesus Wars. The titanic struggle from 300 AD to about 500 AD over whether Jesus had just one nature (divine) or two natures (divine and human). I had never thought of some of these questions that were raised. For example, one group argued Jesus did not become Divine until he was baptised. Was Jesus the Mother of God or just the mother of the huiman Jesus. ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
There were enough good things about this book that I gave it 3.5 stars, but in its attempt to cram a lot of material into a densely packed book it jumped around historically more than it should have. While the writing was fairly engaging at times, it needed to be longer or broken up into more than one book as it doesn't really cover the entire time these disputes occured, although it aptly points out that these same basic disagreements continue to the present.

Although they cover different time periods so aren't exactly the same, How Jesus Became God is better done as far as limiting its topic and keeping the uninitiated reader on track with the five w's being covered (who, what, why, etc). ( )
  Karin7 | Jan 20, 2016 |
This book is a brisk review of the religious controversies that racked Christianity from the Council of Nicea in the early fourth century until the Council of Chalcedon in the middle of the fifth century -- and for some time thereafter. The controversies were about theological issues centered on the nature of Christ, but the way in which they played out was very, very political. The author contends that eventual triumph of orthodox Christianity (the root of both Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Christianity) was in large part a matter of chance -- who was doing what to whom at what moment in time. He also contends that these issues still have impact today; as an agnostic, I find that less convincing. What is fascinating (and well described) is the passion and violence with which groups of people acted to dominate other groups of people, even when the issue seems arcane to a modern reader. The issues may change, but human nature, it appears, remains the same. ( )
  annbury | Nov 2, 2012 |
Jesus Wars reveals how official, orthodox teaching about Jesus was the product of political maneuvers by a handful of key characters in the fifth century. Jenkins argues that were it not for these controversies, the papacy as we know it would never have come into existence and that today’s church could be teaching some-thing very different about Jesus. It is only an accident of history that one group of Roman emperors and militia-wielding bishops defeated another faction. --from publisher description
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1 vote | Lake_O_UCC | Oct 16, 2011 |
I don’t claim to know if everything Jenkins has written in this book is accurate, there are some who claim it isn’t. What I can claim is that much of the big ideas discussed resonate with what I learned growing up Episcopalian and are things I still ponder.

What, exactly, is the nature of Jesus? Who decided what should become orthodoxy and when? And the one that drew me into this book, the most fascinating, what part did politics play in deciding what Christian belief should be?

Read any news source and one finds politics still playing a large part in religion. These struggles aren’t new, and Jenkins’ book reveals just how old, and complex, the role of religion plays in politics and vice versa.

This is not light reading, but if one is inclined to explore the roots of Christian thought and belief, beyond the merely theological, this is a good book to read. It is not definitive, but it does add positively to the existing canon of work on this topic. ( )
  AuntieClio | Feb 27, 2011 |
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Jesus Wars reveals how official, orthodox teaching about Jesus was the product of political maneuvers by a handful of key characters in the fifth century. Jenkins argues that were it not for these controversies, the papacy as we know it would never have come into existence and that today's church could be teaching some-thing very different about Jesus. It is only an accident of history that one group of Roman emperors and militia-wielding bishops defeated another faction. --from publisher description… (more)

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