The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great

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OUP Oxford, Dec 14, 2001 - Religion - 740 pages
The Church in Ancient Society provides a full and enjoyable narrative history of the first six centuries of the Christian Church. Ancient Greek and Roman society had many gods and an addiction to astrology and divination. This introduction to the period traces the process by which Christianity changed this and so provided a foundation for the modern world: the teaching of Jesus created a lasting community, which grew to command the allegiance of the Roman emperor. Christianity is discussed in relation to how it appeared to both Jews and pagans, and how its Christian doctrine and practice were shaped in relation to Graeco-Roman culture and the Jewish matrix. Among the major figures discussed are Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Constantine, Julian the Apostate, Basil, Ambrose, and Augustine. Following a chronological approach, Henry Chadwick's clear exposition of important texts and theological debates in their historical context is unrivalled in detail. In particular, theological and ecclesial texts are examined in relation to the behaviour and beliefs of people who attended churches and synagogues. Christians did not find agreement and unity easy and the author displays a distinctive concern for the factors - theological, personal, and political - which caused division in the church and prevented reconciliation. The emperors, however, began to foster unity for political reasons and to choose monotheism. Finally, the Church captured the society.
 

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A supremely lucid and occasionally candid book (Chadwick admitted in one chapter, after a lifetime of scholarship, that he still could not actually understand the Nicene creed) which should be THE book to read as a basis for understanding early Christianity. It's basically chronographical in its schema but with peaks into brief diversions dealing with any key figures or events the author deems worthy of specialist attention. His disregard for demarcating between different aspects of the religion's formative factors (such as individual psychologies, socio-economics or theology) is what gives the book its cohesiveness, strength and profundity.
I really felt I was reading the culmination of a lifetime's work by a man who had lived and breathed his chosen subject and the copious amounts of detail of which he was in total command which simply fly by with a rare ease (obviously I'm aware it was considerably more to him than just a subject).
The scope of Chadwick's intellect was sublime and I wouldn't hesitate to describe the book as a masterpiece. It deserves to be widely regarded as 'a classic'.
 

Contents

THE FIRST FOLLOWERS OF JESUS
5
THE JEWISH MATRIX
13
3 JEWS AND CHRISTIANS SURVIVE ROMES CRUSHING OF REVOLTS
21
THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES IN THE CHURCH
27
PHILO AND PAUL
32
APOSTLES AND EVANGELISTS
43
7 WOMEN AMONG JESUS FOLLOWERS
53
8 BARNABAS JEWISH CHRISTIANITY TROUBLE AT CORINTH
56
A WIND OF CHANGE
260
35 CONSTANTIUS DOUBLE COUNCIL OF UNITY
279
36 JULIAN AND THE CHURCH1
295
37 DAMASUS SIRICIUS PAPAL AUTHORITY SYNESIUS OF CYRENE
314
38 BASIL OF CAESAREA CAPPADOCIA
331
39 AMBROSE
348
40 AMBROSIASTER
379
4i DONATISM
382

IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH
65
DIDACHE
84
II MARCION
89
12 JUSTIN
93
13 IRENAEUS OF LYON
100
14 THE NEW TESTAMENT TEXT
108
A PLATONIST ATTACK
110
PERPETUA
114
17 TERTULLIAN MINUCIUS FELIX
118
i8 CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
124
19 JULIUS AFRICANUS
130
HIPPOLYTUS AND LITURGY
132
ORIGEN
135
CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE
145
DIONYSIUS OF ALEXANDRIA
161
24 PAUL OF SAMOSATA
166
MANI
170
PLOTINUS PORPHYRY
173
27 DIOCLETIAN AND THE GREAT PERSECUTION RISE OF CONSTANTINE
176
28
190
THE SEEDS OF REACTION
201
30 THE CHURCH AT PRAYER
212
3i ATHANASIUS MARCELLUS AND THE GATHERING STORM
226
A FIASCO AT SERDICA
240
A NOTE ON INTOLERANCE
254
THE ASCETIC LIFE
394
THE MACARIAN HOMILIES
411
THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 381
415
CONTROVERSY ABOUT ORIGEN
433
46 PELAGIUS CAELESTIUS AND THE ROMAN SEE IN GAUL AND NORTH AFRICA
446
AUGUSTINES CRITICS IN GAUL AND NORTH AFRICA
464
48 AUGUSTINE
473
49 JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
479
ALARIC AND THE FALL OF ROME
499
5i
515
52
538
FROM THE SECOND COUNCIL OF EPHESUS 449 TO CHALCEDON 451
557
ZENOS HENOTIKON
592
55 JUSTINIAN ORIGEN AND THE THREE CHAPTERS
612
56 THE ANCIENT ORIENTAL CHURCHES
628
57
633
58 POPE GREGORY THE GREAT 590604
658
59 WORSHIP AFTER CONSTANTINE
675
6o PILGRIMS
684
6i PENANCE
688
FURTHER READING
694
DATES OF ROMAN EMPERORS
714
INDEX
721
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