Item description for Rise of Christianity Paper EDI by William H. C. Frend & Williamh Frend...
Overview Traces the early history of the Christian church from Jewish Palestine prior to Christ's birth to the sixth century monastic movement, and explains how Christianity survived under a variety of cultures
Publishers Description The definitive text in early church history, Frend's The Rise of Christianity offers a vast, panoramic sweep of Christianity's first six centuries, from the dust of Palestine to the court of Justinian and the parting of Eastern and Western Christianity. With many maps, chronologies, and graphics, Frend's text is an engaging story but also an immensely learned and careful work of scholarship. Elegantly written. It is a marvelous reference work. It will become the standard church history of our time for scholar and novice alike.
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Studio: Fortress Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6.05" Height: 1.95" Weight: 3 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 1984
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN 0800619315 ISBN13 9780800619312
Reviews - What do customers think about Rise of Christianity?
Superb Western Church History May 9, 2008
This is a spectacular history of early Christianity and the early Western church. It gives Christianity's Jewish background more attention than historical ties warrant, since early Christianity filtered Jewish borrowings through its own re-reading of the nascent Jewish Bible and through sporadic personal contacts with diverse local Judaisms. Where Frend devotes lots of pages to Latin fathers and northern Africa (his specialty), he offers one chapter on Byzantium in the sixth century and four pages on the resistance to Chalcedon out of 900! One should read John Meyendorff's "Imperial Unity and Christian Divisions" to get a balanced view of church history in late Antiquity. Still, Frend's achievement will stand for a generation, if not many more.
One of the Best Books on Christian History Apr 20, 2008
The late W. H. C. Frend's classic work on Christianity's rise from a first century movement based in Palestine to a universal religion with increasing social power is a must read for those who consider themselves serious students of Christian history. The book is over 1000-pages long, it has a copious amount of scholarly notes at the end of each chapter, contains helpful bibliographies, maps, a synopsis of events and two indices (subject and name indexes). Moreover, Frend's approach is refreshingly objective and rooted in the primary sources of early Christianity. I will admit that the book is not an easy read. But it contains material that is indispensable for ecclesiastical historians.
Frend's study begins with the Jewish background of Christianity and discusses Israel's Babylonian Captivity, the Maccabean Revolt, and the Jewish Diaspora. Frend then discusses Jesus of Nazareth's baptism as well as the temptations of Jesus that the Gospels relate. The relationship between Jesus and John is explored and Jesus' role as "martyr prophet," even though this section could have been developed in more detail.
Frend reviews the apostolic activities of Paul, discussing the Pauline ministry, the liturgy, baptism and the Eucharist. We learn about Gnosticism, the church's reaction to this "heresy" and we are eventually treated to a rehearsal of the details regarding the Decian Persecution. The chapter on the Constantinian Revolution (305-330 CE) is also informative. It illuminates the historical details revolving around the Donatists and the Arian Controversy, which resulted in the ecumenical council of Nicaea.
The book ends with an exploration of the Monophysites, St. Benedict and monasticism and Pope Gregory I. Frend's account is detailed, erudite and well researched.
Scholarly, but Hard to Follow Sep 14, 2007
I gave up after 130 out of 900+ pages, so take that into account.
The writing style makes it hard to follow. I enjoy scholarly books, but this book's citations were so prevalent as to be distracting. His writing meandered. Also, I found myself distrusting his assertions. You know how some people cite huge numbers of facts, but weave them so as to support incorrect conclusion? That was my feeling here. Seemed a little too cynical towards Christianity. One thing I noticed was that the citations seemed to be from miscellaneous times/sources that were not directly applicable. I recommend this book for a academic who wants lots of materials, but not for a layman such as myself who is trying to get a good scholarly understanding of early church history. I lost interest!
Great Theological History Feb 28, 2007
This book is a real enriching journey through the early theological history of the church. However at 900 pages the journey doesn't come easy. As they say nothing ventured, nothing gained.
The book traces the development of the church via its theological thought and organizational principles. It does talk about the over all historical events going on at that time but it gives only passing coverage of those events. By understanding how thought evolved a person better understands where the church is today.
One thing early in the book becomes crystal clear. There is no new issues for the church. The issues today that the denominations wrestle with are at times the exact issues it faced early on.
One of my favorite books Jul 4, 2006
I purchased my copy of this book in 1988, read it through (be prepared, it takes time)and have returned to it countless times over the years to reread different chapters when I wanted to refresh my memory regarding certain events in the early years of Christianity. I consider it an old friend. It has been a marvelous source of historical information and theological insights in the development of Christianity. One of the best book investments I have ever made. Beautifully written. I especially enjoyed Frend's occasional wry humor. Example: Philosopher: "What did God do before he created the earth?" Answer: "He was busy preparing a hell for philosophers."