Exploring the cultural and institutional dimensions of Christianity and tracing its course over two millennia, Linda Woodhead provides a fresh, lively, and candid portrait of Christianity's past and present. Addressing topics including the competition for power between different forms of Christianity, the churches' use of power, and its struggles with modernity, this new edition includes up-to-date information on the growth and geographical spread of Eastern Christianity, reflecting the global nature of Christianity in our ever-shifting contemporary culture. At a time when Christianity is flourishing in the Southern hemisphere but declining in much of the West, this Very Short Introduction audiobook offers an important overview of the world's largest religion.
- Jeffrey D
Not well-described by the Publisher's Summary
There are a few facts the prospective reader should be aware of up front. First, the author has an MA in theology and religious studies. The history and development in Christianity is a large and complex topic. I doubt that the author's background is quite up to the task.
Second, this is an investigation of Christianity through the lenses of such 20th-century ideologies as a Foucauldian emphasis on power and a rather essentialist feminism, added to a clear preference for 19th-century Romanticism, with its emphasis on subjective feeling and transgression. My own impression is that the history of Christianity is here interpreted anachronistically, according to those 19th- and 20th-century ideologies. To call forth the people and events of two millenia of Christianity in the cause of present ideologies (either as precursors of present values, or as failures to live up to present values) is of interest to many readers. My own interest is in trying to find out what Jesus, Paul, John the Baptist, the early Christians, and their successors and predecessors actually did and thought, and not in how they measure up when judged by recent ideologies.