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The Jesus Wars
HarperOne / 2010 / Hardcover
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* Was Jesus fully divine and fully human? This question convulsed the Roman Empire during the fifth century. Jenkins offers a detailed---and bloody---survey of the theologians and the imperial family, conspiracies and court factions, riots and rebellions involved in a decades-long civil war over the nature of Christ and "right belief." 336 pages, hardcover from HarperOne.
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.
Philip Jenkins, the author of The Lost History of Christianity, Jesus Wars, and The Next Christendom, is a Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion. He has published articles and op-ed pieces in The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Washington Post and has been a guest on top national radio shows across the country.
“Are you hungry for a rip-roaring tale of theological intrigue filled with conspiracies, Byzantine plots, murder, and mayhem? Or are you longing for a solid, informative, and accurate history of the development of Christian orthodoxy? If your answer is yes to both, Philip Jenkins’s Jesus Wars...is your book.”
“Jenkins...has done a remarkable job of documenting this little-understood slice of history. There’s lots of excitement and plenty of intrigue, and Jenkins does a fine job in his recitation of this strange story.”
“In showing general readers how he finds fresh ideas and the resurrections of past teachings invigorating to religious studies, Jenkins provides an accessible book . . . the book enlightens readers on the backstory to current Christian divisions . . . ”
“Jenkins condenses centuries of church and imperial strife with admirable clarity...”
“Jenkins manages to explain very clearly why people in the early Christian era were so passionately concerned with issues of high theology.”
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