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A historical inquiry into Christianity...

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MadArchitect

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A historical inquiry into Christianity...

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Some time ago I had a conversation with several people on this site concerning the history of the Christian religion. GodDefilesReason, in particular, was interested in learning more about the development of the Church and its doctrine, and I promised him that I'd come up with some titles that would help us all get a little more factual information on the subject. To that end, I have recently bought a copy of Jaroslav Pelikan's "The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600)", which should serve for a good early intro. I'm hoping that others will have some interest in reading along and discussing the book, so I'm providing a link here. Or maybe this would work better as an official quarterly reading? Tell me what you think and if you have any interest in reading the book, with an option on reading other volumes in Pelikan's series.www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226653714/qi ... s&v=glance
GOD defiles Reason

Re: A historical inquiry into Christianity...

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Thanks, Mad.For your information, I'm going thru some stuff right now, and my reading habits have been undisciplined and unfocused. So I'm not prepared to commit myself to a book discussion right now. I would be interested in continuing a dialogue about the subject, though, if that's alright with you. By the time I start a book discussion, I'd like to feel confortable that I/we have selected the best book(s), written by quality authors. And this one certainly looks like a good one, but I don't know how to judge that. I also see that it's 440 pages just covering the first 500 years with 4 volumes to go?? Sorry if I seem too finicky, but that sounds like a lot of reading for one subject for me. I wonder if we could find something more streamlined to start with.In the mean time, I'm also interested in philosophy and the lives of important philosophers. So there's another big subject, ay. I don't know how I want to approach that yet. What I hope to do is get somewhat familiar with the names and time periods and look for the best doorway into the subject and perhaps chart some kind of a flexible course.
BadBuc99

Re: A historical inquiry into Christianity...

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Quote:I'm going thru some stuff right nowI hope it's nothing serious and it all works out for ya. 4 Super Bowl Championships - 2005
MadArchitect

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Re: A historical inquiry into Christianity...

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Sorry to hear about your personal crises, GDR. I'm not starting the Pelikan book just yet, so there's still time to track it down if you're interested. And even if you're not interested in reading that book, I don't mind carrying on a discussion about it and disseminating whatever information I get out of it.As for other books, I know I've seen one or two others that looked reputable. If you're looking for a short history, though, I think you're going to be disappointed. It's a huge topic, and the smallest reputable book I've seen was still about Tolstoy length. I think the Pelikan book is actually likely to be the most concise academic offering. The page count is likely to be misleading, as the left hand side of each page is given over to bibliographical references of the sort that are easy to ignore. Then there's also a rather extensive index to consider. So it's probably actually much shorter than some of the other works you're likely to see.At any rate, I'll give everyone the head's up when I'm getting ready to start reading, and anyone who would like to is welcome to join in.
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Dissident Heart

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Re: A historical inquiry into Christianity...

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Pelikan is undoubtedly one of the leading scholars of Christian thought and history, and any reading of his work will improve our understanding of the subject. He is not a literalist evangelical of the bible-thumping sort, but is the son of a Lutheran pastor who converted to the Orthodox Church very late in his life. The scope and depth of his chronicling and describing the history of Christianity is truly astonishing.I've only read his book Jesus Through the Centuries : His Place in the History of Culture. A very accessable journey across history and culture examining the evolving meaning, imagery, value and role of Jesus. Again, his is not an apologetical exercise to convert folks to his Jesus; but after reading his books you'll wonder why you haven't taken Jesus more seriously in the past. And you'll certainly not be satisfied with simplistic portraits of the literalist evangelical or atheist anti-biblical sort.I am not interested in tackling his magesterial historical project that you've suggested; but am very interested in reading his recent work, Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition.Quote: In Credo, Pelikan addresses essential questions about the Christian tradition: the origins of creeds; their function; their political role; how they relate to Christian institutions, worship, and service; and how they help to explain the major divisions of the Christian church and of Christian history. Credo stands as an independent reference work devoted to the subject of what creeds and confessions are and what their role in history has been.I like the focus upon the defining beliefs and creeds that have shaped Christianity; and the ways this complex process shapes and is shaped by the whole life of the community in political struggle, celebrating worship, institutional structures, etc..I also like the ecumenical approach that incorporates many of the traditions and trajectories in which the Church has travelled.
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