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A Short History of Christianity [Paperback]

By Stephen Tomkins (Author)
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Item description for A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins...

Tomkins leads readers on an enjoyable and enlightening journey through the key stages of Christian development, covering the people, the movements, the controversies of the ever-expanding Christian Church.

Publishers Description
Worshipped by 2 billion Christians worldwide, Jesus Christ is likely the famous human being ever. Yet comprehending the vast, often fractious, 2000 year story of his followers can be a bewildering task. Stephen Tomkins leads readers on an enjoyable and enlightening journey through the key stages of Christian development, covering the people, the movements, the controversies of the ever-expanding Church.

His "Short History of Christianity" is a penetrating, energetic account sure to please a wide spectrum of those interested in the Christian story.

Citations And Professional Reviews
A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • CBA Retailers - 08/01/2006 page 41
  • Library Journal - 08/15/2006 page 96
  • Library Journal - 08/01/2006 page 96

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2006
ISBN  0802833829  
ISBN13  9780802833822  

Availability  5 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 27, 2016 02:39.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Stephen Tomkins

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Stephen Tomkins is theauthor of "A Short History of Christianity," " John Wesley: A Biography," and "William Wilberforce: A Biography.""

Stephen Tomkins was born in 1968 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Homerton College, Cambridge.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Church History

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Reviews - What do customers think about A Short History of Christianity?

All you need to know is a compact presentation  Mar 8, 2007
Stephen Tomkins was a writer for Monte Python, but he also has strong credentials as a religious scholar. Thus, his presentation displays his dry wit, making the reading a pleasure. OK, maybe he does pick some of the most bizarre characters of Christian history, but there they are! The history of Christianity is indeed bizarre, and Tomkins makes this abundantly clear in his presentation. This is a must read for most Christians who want a short read and quick understanding of the history of their faith. If you expect Tomkins to sugar-coat the past, don't buy this book. If you don't know much about the history of Christianity, be prepared!
A decade a page  Feb 25, 2007
As Stephen Tomkins says in the preface of A Short History of Christianity, "It is your story whether or not you are a Christian yourself." For better or for worse (and his book definitely makes the point debatable), Christianity is a critical part of world history, even having effects in regions where it is not the prevalent religion. To squeeze two millennia history of the world (particularly Western Civilization) into 250 pages is a daunting task and Tomkins is only partially successful.

To cram it further into a single paragraph may be overdoing it, but here it goes: For a couple hundred years, Christianity, a religion with its origins in Judaism, struggled to stay in existence until it became as the state religion by the Roman emperor Constantine. Now that they no longer had to fight the Establishment (because they were the Establishment), the Christians fought among themselves over various theological issues, with the major split being between the Roman Catholic church and the Eastern Orthodox church. Eventually, they decided to fight with the Muslims instead (during the Crusades). This didn't work that well, and the Catholic church descended into corruption, leading the Protestant Reformation and another reason for Christians to fight among themselves. Things calmed down by the period of the Enlightenment and by the 20th Century, mainstream Christianity had lightened up and become more tolerant of other denominations (and, to some extent, other faiths).

If there is a single lesson to be taken from this book, it's that since its inception, Christianity has constantly changed and fragmented. Every one of the various groups within Tomkins's book believed that it was practicing the proper form of Christianity. It should be a lesson of humility for those nowadays who feel that they - and only they - have the monopoly on Christian truth; they are actually little different from the Arians, Cathars, Ebionites or dozens of other sects and denominations.

While Tomkins's book is reasonably informative, it is only an okay book, and I am rating it a low four stars. The principal problem is that the topic is too big to be covered so quickly (he even acknowledges that he is covering around a decade a page). Many topics are covered too sketchily to really grasp. In addition, Tomkins occasionally switches from past to present tense, a stylistic choice that is more jarring than effective. Nonetheless, as an introduction to Christian history, this book is adequate to at least get you moving towards the things that might interest you. It's like a large-scale map; it's good for the general picture, but for the real details, you need to go to something far more specific.
good product / service  Feb 8, 2007
- received book in a timely fashion in the condition promised -- would definitely buy from this source again
Thoroughly entertaining  Jan 22, 2007
With a quote from a member of Monty Python on the cover, and not many pages inside, it would be easy to suspect Stephen Tompkins' latest work favoured brevity and humour over history. But that couldn't be further from the truth. While he clearly delights in some of the Church's more extreme experiences (such as exhuming the body of a some-months-dead Pope in order to put him on trial) he also succinctly communicates the twists and turns of twenty centuries of Christian history.

At times it might be nice to get clearer pointers to where we can find more detail, and those without much sense of dry humour may find pieces confusing. But for anyone in need of a clearer overview of the church's role in european history this is a good starting point.
Fun reading  Jan 11, 2007
Mr. Tomkin's has a great approach to the history of the church. Make it fun and don't hold out the goof-ups or the goof-offs. Text books tell you that the church and state were tied together in western history. This book shows how. Amazing, fun, easy to read. Not a history book, not a theology book. It's just a great story which happens to be true.

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