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Documents of the Christian Church by Henry…
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Documents of the Christian Church (1943)

by Henry Bettenson

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This selection of writings from the most important moments in the history of Christianity has become established as a classic reference work, providing insights into 2000 years of Christian theological and political debate.

While retaining the original material selected by Henry Bettenson, Chris Maunder has added a substantial section of more recent writings. These illustrate the Second Vatican Council; the theologies of liberation; Church and State from 'Thatcher's Britain' to Communist Eastern Europe; Black, feminist, and ecological theology; ecumenism; and inter-faith dialogue. The emphasis on moral debate in the contemporary churches is reflected in selections discussing questions about homosexuality, divorce, AIDS, and in-vitro fertilization, amongst other issues.

This further expanded fourth edition brings the anthology up-to-date with a new section looking at issues facing the twenty-first century churches. This includes extracts exploring the churches' responses to questions of social justice, international politics, trade and debt, environmental change, and technological development. New material also covers the global growth of Christianity, the progress of Christian unity, and mission in multi-faith and postmodern societies.

Review
"Extremely useful for students of Church history because it gives them exposure to the primary texts upon which their textbook accounts are based."--John Mackett, Elmbrook Christian Study Center

"A fine collection of the most important source materials for the history of Christianity."--The Christian Century

"No student of church history can afford to be without it."--The Churchman

"Excellent illustrative and primary source material."--Terry A. Chaney, Ozark Christian College

"'Documents' is a time-proven collection of some of the most significant writings in the history of Christianity. This compilation leads the earnest student of church history beyond second-hand appropriation and straight into the character and spirit of the people and movements which have given shape to the Church of Christ through the ages."--Brad Creed, George W. Truett Theological Seminary

"Very good on early reformation church historical documents. Would like to have seen more material related to American church history."--David C. Hard, Philadelphia College of Bible

"Great selection of sources."--Dr. Don Bowdle, Lee College

"A vital and concise source, along with narrative history, for hands-on encounter with the Christian tradition."--Professor David P. Whitelaw, Point Loma Nazarene College

"Text ranks with the classics, in pulling together into one volume a multiplied number of significant quotes and historic documents from throughout Church History."--Melvin H. Shoemaker, Azuso Pacific University
About the Author
Chris Maunder is Head of BA Theology and Religious Studies at York St. John University.
  tony_sturges | Jan 4, 2019 |
It took me one year and three months, but I've finally finished this comprehensive survey of writings relating to the Christian Church that I bought for the Church History class I audited last Fall. Reading just a little bit at a time eventually adds up! This collection was originally compiled in 1943 and has been updated four times, most recently for this edition in 2011. It includes representative sections of key documents dating from the 1st century through the 21st, covering early Christianity, the Reformation, changes to denominations in the New World, Vatican II, ecumenism, liberation theology, and reactions of the modern church to racism, sexuality, LGBTQ congregants and ministers, and so much more. Each document gets a small introduction putting it into context, which was invaluable in allowing the reader to keep their bearings.

It's an odd book in that you only get a page or two from any single document, and it attempts to fit in reactions of a score of denominations to a score of issues and conflicts, over 2000+ years. Still, the bite-sized chunks make this relatively easy to approach and what it loses in depth, it makes up in scope. As an archivist, I always like reading the original sources, and Bettenson and Maunder deliver. ( )
  kristykay22 | Nov 27, 2017 |
From the publisher:

"This selection of writings vividly captures the most important moments in the history of Christianity, providing insights into 2000 years of Christian theological and political debate. The anthology was first published in 1943, and has since become established as a classic reference work. While retaining the original material selected by Henry Bettenson, Chris Maunder added in 1999 a substantial section of more recent writings for the third edition. These illustrate the Second Vatican Council; the theologies of liberation; Church and State from Thatcher's Britain to Communist Eastern Europe; Black, feminist, and ecological theology; ecumenism; and inter-faith dialogue. The emphasis on moral debate in the contemporary churches is reflected in sections discussing questions about homosexuality, divorce, AIDS and in-vitro fertilization. This expanded fourth edition brings the anthology up to date with a new section looking at major issues facing the twenty-first century churches. This includes extracts exploring the churches' responses to questions of social justice, international politics, trade and debt, environmental change and technological development, including the Internet. The new edition also examines the global growth of Christianity, the progress of Christian unity, mission in multi-faith societies, disability, migration, domestic violence and addiction."
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  St-Johns-Episcopal | Apr 4, 2017 |
The is not light reading and is best suited to a university divinity class.
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Documents of the Christian Church was originally compiled and edited by Henry Bettenson and later expanded by Chris Maunder in the 3rd edition. The work relates for the reader a series of historical documents written by Christian authors beginning with a short recounting of the trial of a Grecian woman “accused of foreign superstition” (p. 1) from AD 57, and finishing with the Encyclical Veritatis Splendor written by John Paul II in 1993 (p. 450). The work is divided into two major divisions: from the Early Church to the Council of Chalcedon, 451, and then the major body of the work from the Council of Chalcedon to the present. The weightier part of the work is understandably taken up by the second division which highlights the need to preserve written discussions by and of the Church for instruction and counsel of future generations, and the need to have written decisions by the leaders of the Church to provide positive direction for Christians as the centuries have developed.
Throughout the work the bulk of the writings presented are from Catholic and Anglican sources with periodic excursions into Protestant writings (notably Luther and Calvin), Liberation Theology, Black Theology, Feminist Theology, and writings which focus on Social Justice and ethical issues. There certainly could have been a greater inclusion of Protestant, Evangelical, and Independent writers; yet, the preponderance of potential sermons, letters, and opinions would have quickly overwhelmed both the scope of the work and the reader. Even with the narrow scope of documents selected one is indebted to the editors for a presentation of documents from the patristic writers seeking to define and legitimize Christianity, to modern Christian writers seeking a reunion of God’s people despite deep and abiding differences. ( )
  SDCrawford | May 31, 2016 |
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Pomponia Graecina, a woman of high rank (the wife of Aulus Plautius, who, as I have mentioned, was given an ovation for his British campaign), was accused of foreign superstition and handed over to her husband for trial.
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It is unlikely that any two persons could be found who should agree on what should be included in such a book and what omitted. (Prefatory Note, 1942)
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An anthology of excerpts relating to the history of the Christian church, beginning with some classical references and early creeds, and a selection of early patristic writings covering the development of doctrine up until the Coucil of Chalcedon (451). There follows a larger collection of texts relating to subsequent church history, focusing on texts which have some bearing on the history of the church in England (including but not limited to the Anglican church), beginning with some background to the Great Schism with the Greek Church, the development of the papacy, the Rules of St Benedict and St Francis, and some brief pieces from Anselm and Aquinas. A sequence of key documents deals directly with the English Church from Gregory the Great through the 16th-century Elizabethan Settlement to Newman's Tract XC, including a selection from continental Protestants and English Dissenters, and Roman Catholic texts from Trent to
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192880713, Paperback)

Since its first publication in 1967, this collection of writings from the most important moments in the history of Christianity has established itself as a classic work. Now incorporating a wealth of new material, this new edition will be an essential reference source for anyone interested in the history of the Christian Church.
While retaining the original material selected by Henry Bettenson, Chris Maunder has added a substantial section of more recent writings. These new entries illustrate the Second Vatican Council; the theologies of liberation; Church and State from 'Thatcher's Britain' to Communist Eastern Europe; Black, feminist, and ecological theology; ecumenism; and inter-faith dialogue. The emphasis on moral debate in the contemporary Churches is reflected in selections dealing with modern issues such as homosexuality, divorce, AIDS, and in-vitro fertilization. With the publication of this new edition, Documents of the Christian Church provides insights into the whole 2000 years of Christian theological and political debate.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:35 -0400)

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