Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I have made a serious commitment of late. A few weeks ago, I made my way to Island Books to purchase a new volume on the history of Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch. He is the author of a number of marvelous reads, especially his biography of Thomas Cranmer, an Archbishop of Canterbury, who continues to speak to us through The Book of Common Prayer. Reading MacCulloch is a commitment, not because it is difficult or uninteresting, quite the opposite, but because his books are expansive, read “long” here.

This book is titled Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. I have only begun, but relish stolen moments to imbibe MacCulloch’s careful prose and sweeping sense of the confluence of historical movements. We begin at 1000 BCE to examine how Greek and Roman culture intersect with Semitic thought to be the backdrop for Christianity. MacCulloch presents the essential threads and combines them in such a way, that the attentive reader grasps a sense of the significance of context and a given epistemology.

The subtitle is an optimistic wink. If we are Christians, we are caught within the current of our own time. We are inheritors of a tradition of Christian thought and praxis. What will the next thousand years look like?

NYT Review

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