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"Not your Holy Father's Very Short Introduction."
"Thus the dominant trend in Christianity became one that submits itself to a higher power, and which strives to bring life into conformity with a transcendent standard that both inspires and judges."
-- Linda Woodhead, Christianity: A Very Short Introduction
A nice survey of Christianity. Woodhead does a commendable job at describing the basic tenets, growth, and culture of Christianity. I personally enjoyed her approach to the different types/forms of Christianity (Church, Biblical, Mystical) and how those three forms impacted growth patterns during the last two thousand years.
Linda Woodhead MBE seems to have a soft-spot for both Feminist and Marxist approaches to history. This provocative approach might turn off some readers, but I actually think gender is a huge piece of the theological puzzle that needs to be explored whenever discussing the growth, doctrine, and history of Christianity. I also enjoyed how she discussed the relationship of the growth of the Early Church to the Roman (later Holy Roman) Empire and other developments later with the Orthodox Church's relationship with Russian, etc.
This VSI wasn't a perfect capture of Christianity, but I'm not exactly sure how an historian/theologian could approach such a broad subject in such a short space without leaving major things out (aka religious traditions that seem to not fit easily within her big theory).
Very easy to understand, yet detailed in its information. I've listened to it three times in order to understand everything presented.
"Very Good Intro"
This certainly is not going to be on any best seller lists but if you are interested in a very good overview of Christianity, its history and its practice I would highly recommend the book. As the title suggests it is short and concise. Of course trying to cover a large topic in a short book inevitably means that the material can be a bit dense at times. I found myself rewinding to listen to sections in order to clarify some of the ideas. Regardless I like the format and really enjoyed this book. I was sufficiently impressed that I will be taking a look at some of the other "Very short Introduction" books which are available.
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