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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died » User review

The end of the Church in the East

  • Jul 8, 2009
When the author states that most people only view the history of the Church through a European prism, I plead guilty. Learning Church history in high school, I was never taught anything else, and when Nestorians were mentioned it was always in the context of heresy.

Now I realize what a rich history I have been missing all of these years! I should mention, though, that when I was in my first (and only) year in the seminary we had a Mass conducted in Aramaic by a Maronite priest. I don't remember much about it now (after all, we're talking 1960), but I seem to remember a group of women singing in a very strange language and loads of incense. Even after that, we weren't really given any information about this particular Church, or any of the others that flourished in the Middle East and Asia. Now this book, for me, has opened my eyes and I see the majesty and wonder of thriving Churches that were eventually ground under by persecution and other forces.

This book is definitely a "must read" for anyone interested in Church history. It will "fill in the gaps" of your historic knowledge, and allow you to learn something very new. That is one of the most important aspects of a good book, and this is an excellent one!

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review by . December 09, 2008
Two thousands years removed from scene, when the Apostle Paul includes Asian Christians in the salutation to some of his epistles, it is easy to read with an ironic and chuckle, knowing that he is referring just to the Byzantine "East", and just for the next 500 years or so until the Middle East would be conquered and converted to Islam. We know that Christianity would only survive and thrive in the Roman west, becoming a European religion; after all, a majority of Americans can trace their roots …
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Frank J. Konopka ()
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I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
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Starred Review. Revisionist history is always great fun, and never more so than when it is persuasively and cogently argued. Jenkins, the Penn State history professor whose bookThe Next Christendommade waves several years ago, argues that it's not exactly a new thing that Christianity is making terrific inroads in Asia and Africa. A thousand years ago, those continents were more Christian than Europe, and Asian Christianity in particular was the locus of tremendous innovations in mysticism, monasticism, theology and secular knowledge. The little-told story of Christianity's decline in those two continents—hastened by Mongol invasions, the rise of Islam and Buddhism, and internecine quarrels—is sensitively and imaginatively rendered. Jenkins sometimes challenges the assertions of other scholars, including Karen Armstrong and Elaine Pagels, but provides compelling evidence for his views. The book is marvelously accessible for the lay reader and replete with fascinating details to help personalize the ambitious sweep of global history Jenkins undertakes. This is an important counterweight to previous histories that have focused almost exclusively on Christianity in the West.(Nov.)
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ISBN-10: 0061472808
ISBN-13: 978-0061472800
Author: John Philip Jenkins
Publisher: HarperOne

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