The First Three Thousand Years
By Diarmaid MacCulloch
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143118695, 1216pp.)
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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The New York Times bestseller and definitive history of Christianity for our timefrom the award-winning author of The Reformation and Silence
A product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill, Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity goes back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and encompasses the globe. It captures the major turning points in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox history and fills in often neglected accounts of conversion and confrontation in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. MacCulloch introduces us to monks and crusaders, heretics and reformers, popes and abolitionists, and discover Christianity's essential role in shaping human history and the intimate lives of men and women. And he uncovers the roots of the faith that galvanized America, charting the surprising beliefs of the founding fathers, the rise of the Evangelical movement and of Pentecostalism, and the recent crises within the Catholic Church. Bursting with original insights and a great pleasure to read, this monumental religious history will not soon be surpassed.
Diarmaid MacCulloch is a fellow of St. Cross College, Oxford, and professor of the history of the church at Oxford University. His books include Suffolk and the Tudors, winner of the Royal Historical Society���s Whitfield Prize, and Thomas Cranmer: A Life, which won the Whitbread Biography Prize, the James Tait Black Prize, and the Duff Cooper Prize. A former Anglican deacon, he has presented many highly celebrated documentaries for television and radio, and was knighted in 2012 for his services to scholarship. He lives in Oxford, England.
Diarmaid MacCulloch is the author of a new book that chronicles the complete history of the followers of Jesus Christ, starting a millennium before Jesus' birth. More at NPR.org
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Praise for Christianity
“Immensely ambitious and absorbing.”
—Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
“A landmark contribution . . . It is difficult to imagine a more comprehensive and surprisingly accessible volume than MacCulloch’s.”
—Jon Meacham, The New York Times Book Review
“A prodigious, thrilling, masterclass of a history book. MacCulloch is to be congratulated for his accessible handling of so much complex, difficult material.”
—John Cornwell, Financial Times
“A tour de force: it has enormous range, is gracefully and wittily written, and from page one holds the attention. Everyone who reads it will learn things they didn’t know.”
—Eamon Duffy, author of Saints and Sinners
“MacCulloch brings an insider’s wit to tracing the fate of official Christianity in an age of doubt, and to addressing modern surges of zeal, from Mormons to Pentecostals.”
“A triumphantly executed achievement. This book is a landmark in its field, astonishing in its range, compulsively readable, full of insight even for the most jaded professional and of illumination for the interested general reader. It will have few, if any, rivals in the English language.”
—Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
“A well-informed and—bless the man—witty narrative guaranteed to please and at the same time displease every single reader, if hardly in identical measure. . . . The author’s prose style is fluent, well-judged, and wholly free of cant. . . . You will shut this large book with gratitude for a long and stimulating journey.”
—The Washington Times
“A tour de force . . . The great strength of the book is that it covers, in sufficient but not oppressive detail, huge areas of Christian history which are dealt with cursorily in traditional accounts of the subject and are unfamiliar to most English-speaking readers. . . . MacCulloch’s analysis of why Christianity has taken root in Korea but made such a hash in India is perceptive and his account of the nineteenth-century missions in Africa and the Pacific is first-rate and full of insight. . . . The most brilliant point of this remarkable book is its identification of the U.S. as the prime example of the kind of nation the reformers hoped to create.”
—Paul Johnson, The Spectator