How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years
By Philip Jenkins
(HarperOne, Hardcover, 9780061768941, 328pp.)
Publication Date: March 2010
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Jesus Wars reveals how official, orthodox teaching about Jesus was the product of political maneuvers by a handful of key characters in the fifth century. Jenkins argues that were it not for these controversies, the papacy as we know it would never have come into existence and that today's church could be teaching some-thing very different about Jesus. It is only an accident of history that one group of Roman emperors and militia-wielding bishops defeated another faction.
Christianity claims that Jesus was, somehow, both human and divine. But the Bible is anything but clear about Jesus's true identity. In fact, a wide range of opinions and beliefs about Jesus circulated in the church for four hundred years until allied factions of Roman royalty and church leaders burned cities and killed thousands of people in an unprecedented effort to stamp out heresy.
Jenkins recounts the fascinating, violent story of the church's fifth-century battles over "right belief" that had a far greater impact on the future of Christianity and the world than the much-touted Council of Nicea convened by Constantine a century before.