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The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--And How It Died
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The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--And How It Died

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By Philip Jenkins. Jenkins turns from the recent history and trend projections of such invaluable books as The Next Christendom (2002) and Godís Continent (2007) to a much broader canvas, roughly from the fifth century to the twentieth, within which the first global Christian establishment persisted for a thousand years. The predominant churches of that establishment were Nestorian and Jacobite, sufficiently different in conceptions of the nature of Christ to be considered heretical by Catholics and Orthodox. They consisted of hundreds of bishoprics from Egypt and Abyssinia to India and China, with the greatest concentration in Mesopotamia. For centuries, they got along well with neighbor faiths, especially Islam. But the pressure of invaders into Islamic-ruled lands, from the East (Mongols and Turks) even more devastatingly than from the West (the Crusades), and the fact that Christians often allied with those invaders, eventually provoked savage reaction from Muslims, especially, and, most lethally, from Islamicized Turks. So secular politics tolled the long death knell of Nestorian-Jacobite Christianity. In leaner, clearer prose than ever before, Jenkins outlines and analyzes this history, which few present-day Christians have even heard of. This may be the most eye-opening history book of the year. --Ray Olson. HarperOne (2009), English, Paperback: 336 pages.
 

Philip Jenkins has a joint appointment as the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of the Humanities in history and religious studies at Penn State University and as Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He has published articles and op-ed pieces in The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe and has been a guest on top national radio shows across the country.

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