The Christian Tradition

The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Christian Doctrine

Book 2
University of Chicago Press
Free sample

The line that separated Eastern Christendom from Western on the medieval map is similar to the "iron curtain" of recent times. Linguistic barriers, political divisions, and liturgical differences combined to isolate the two cultures from each other. Except for such episodes as the schism between East and West or the Crusades, the development of non-Western Christendom has been largely ignored by church historians. In The Spirit of Eastern Christendom, Jaroslav Pelikan explains the divisions between Eastern and Western Christendom, and identifies and describes the development of the distinctive forms taken by Christian doctrine in its Greek, Syriac, and early Slavic expression.

"It is a pleasure to salute this masterpiece of exposition. . . . The book flows like a great river, slipping easily past landscapes of the utmost diversity—the great Christological controversies of the seventh century, the debate on icons in the eighth and ninth, attitudes to Jews, to Muslims, to the dualistic heresies of the high Middle Ages, to the post-Reformation churches of Western Europe. . . . His book succeeds in being a study of the Eastern Christian religion as a whole."—Peter Brown and Sabine MacCormack, New York Review of Books

"The second volume of Professor Pelikan's monumental work on The Christian Tradition is the most comprehensive historical treatment of Eastern Christian thought from 600 to 1700, written in recent years. . . . Pelikan's reinterpretation is a major scholarly and ecumenical event."—John Meyendorff

"Displays the same mastery of ancient and modern theological literature, the same penetrating analytical clarity and balanced presentation of conflicting contentions, that made its predecessor such an intellectual treat."—Virgina Quarterly Review

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About the author

Jaroslav Pelikan is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
May 23, 2011
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Pages
358
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ISBN
9780226028477
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Christian Theology / General
Religion / Christianity / History
Religion / General
Religion / History
Religion / Theology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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"A magnificent history of doctrine."—New York Review of Books

"In this volume Jaroslav Pelikan continues the splendid work he has done thus far in his projected five-volume history of the development of Christian doctrine, defined as 'what the Church believes, teaches, and confesses on the basis of the word of God.' The entire work will become an indispensable resource not only for the history of doctrine but also for its reformulation today. Copious documentation in the margins and careful indexing add to its immense usefulness."—E. Glenn Hinson, Christian Century

"This book is based on a most meticulous examination of medieval authorities and the growth of medieval theology is essentially told in their own words. What is more important, however, then the astounding number of primary sources the author has consulted or his sovereign familiarity with modern studies on his subject, is his ability to discern form and direction in the bewildering growth of medieval Christian doctrine, and, by thoughtful emphasis and selection, to show the pattern of that development in a lucid and persuasive narrative. No one interested in the history of Christianity or theology and no medievalist, whatever the field of specialization, will be able to ignore this magnificent synthesis."—Bernhard W. Scholz, History

"The series is obviously the indispensable text for graduate theological study in the development of doctrine, and an important reference for scholars of religious and intellectual history as well. . . . Professor Pelikan's series marks a significant departure, and in him we have at last a master teacher."—Marjorie O'Rourke Boyle, Commonweal

"A magnificent history of doctrine."—New York Review of Books

"In this volume Jaroslav Pelikan continues the splendid work he has done thus far in his projected five-volume history of the development of Christian doctrine, defined as 'what the Church believes, teaches, and confesses on the basis of the word of God.' The entire work will become an indispensable resource not only for the history of doctrine but also for its reformulation today. Copious documentation in the margins and careful indexing add to its immense usefulness."—E. Glenn Hinson, Christian Century

"This book is based on a most meticulous examination of medieval authorities and the growth of medieval theology is essentially told in their own words. What is more important, however, then the astounding number of primary sources the author has consulted or his sovereign familiarity with modern studies on his subject, is his ability to discern form and direction in the bewildering growth of medieval Christian doctrine, and, by thoughtful emphasis and selection, to show the pattern of that development in a lucid and persuasive narrative. No one interested in the history of Christianity or theology and no medievalist, whatever the field of specialization, will be able to ignore this magnificent synthesis."—Bernhard W. Scholz, History

"The series is obviously the indispensable text for graduate theological study in the development of doctrine, and an important reference for scholars of religious and intellectual history as well. . . . Professor Pelikan's series marks a significant departure, and in him we have at last a master teacher."—Marjorie O'Rourke Boyle, Commonweal

Endorsements: ""This is the ultimate bedside book. Replete with sinuous, compact discussions of first and last things--sin, faith, grace, and John Henry Newman--it reflects Jaroslav Pelikan's lifelong commitment to what he calls 'the great new fact of Christianity' . . . This book works like a tuning fork for the mind. With it, the harmony of Pelikan's thought and life has itself become part of the great Christian tradition."" --Christian Science Monitor ""This is a rewarding and exciting book from beginning to end. It shows the reflection of a master of his work, where the work continually reveals the author's enjoyment, both exemplifying and satisfying Horatio's utile dulci. Packed with knowledge and insight, it informs, stimulates, and delights. It also corrects, or at least reproves, some vulgar errors . . . A valuable book."" --Roland M. Frye ""I found Pelikan's thinking fascinating, elegant, informative, scholarly, and deeply personal and attractive . . . There is always some insight to gain. [Pelikan's book] provides a course in nearly the whole of Christian faith and history--in terms of just one person's journey."" --Robert B. Coote, Pacific Theological Review ""Jaroslav Pelikan ranged so widely in his exploration of historic Christian traditions, and his work probed so deeply, that it is a real boon to see Wipf and Stock bringing some of his books back into print. They were excellent reading when they first appeared; they remain excellent reading today."" --Mark A. Noll, McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
This remarkable account by an award-winning historian details the responses to the fall of Rome by the church fathers, who set the pattern for interpreting this momentous event for all succeeding centuries.

"To speak about the decline and fall of the Roman empire as 'the social triumph of the ancient church' is to look at the events associated with that 'memorable revolution' . . . through the eyes of the victors," writes the author. "The thoroughness of the victors has often seen to it that there remains no other way for us to view those events. Not only are we--for this period as for so many others throughout most of human history--denied access to the mind of the common people as they watched this history in the making, such that we are forced to depend on the documents provided by various of the elites of the fourth and fifth centuries; but among the documents of those elites, only some have been permitted to survive."

Jerome, Christian humanist and translator of the Bible into Latin, represents an apocalyptic view of the crisis. Eusebius, court theologian and founder of church history, saw the fall of Rome as the sign of a new order, the "Christian Empire." And Augustine, fountainhead of much of Western thought during the millennium that followed, used it as the basis for his City of God.

The unifying theme in this historical panorama is the final revisionist view of the fall by its greatest historian, Edward Gibbon. All of these interpretations of the fall of Rome continue to live today and deeply influence our understanding of Western culture.
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