Author: Amar, Joseph
Date published: March 1, 2013
THE CHURCH FROM AGE TO AGE: A HISTORY FROM GALILEE TO GLOBAL CHRISTIANITY. Edited by Edward A. Engelbrecht. St. Louis: Concordia, 2011. Pp. lviii + 976. $36.99.
This comprehensive history of Christianity is the work of multiple Protestant historians writing for a general readership. The focus is on leading figures and events, and the movements to which these gave rise. The writing is admirably clear and free of jargon to appeal to the widest possible audience. As Engelbrecht notes in the introduction, portions of the text have been drawn from the Church in History series previously developed by Concordia Publishing House. In their effort to represent Christianity in its global development, the writers have not lost sight of allimportant local expressions of the faith that necessarily preceded and influenced broader developments: distinctive expressions of Christianity that developed in Africa and Asia - sometimes minimized in general introductions of this kind - are here fully represented. Likewise, leading figures of the Renaissance and Reformation receive the same detailed treatment given to those of the patristic era. The contributors are to be commended for not succumbing to a Hellenistic or Eurocentric bias in their representation of the long and varied history of Christianity in its formative period: Judeo-Christian as well as other early expressions of the faith not indebted to Greco-Latin culture is included. The choice to place readings from primary sources immediately after the period to which they pertain, rather than gathering them at the end of the volume, is especially helpful since it serves to contextualize the material just treated.
The text, however, is marred by certain factually incorrect statements, which unnecessarily introduce a polemical tone - e.g., in reference to baptismal water, "the Roman Catholic Church advocates sprinkling" and "anointing with oil . . . in the Roman Catholic Church is applied only to those in danger of death" (875). The volume concludes with an extensive index and suggestions intended to provide the reader with tools for additional study.
University of Notre Dame