How did Christianity grow from an obscure following into the world's largest religion? Beginning with Christ's life and teachings, Marty outlines the apostles' travels, tracing the spread of the Gospel throughout Asia and Africa, Europe and the Western Hemisphere. Incorporating geography, war, theology, and politics, he chronicles history's greatest phenomenon. Authoritative and accessible.
This is the sort of large-scale, global history that is not often pursued by academics anymore, for fear of over-simplifying narratives that fail to attend to local detail. This is a vitally important book: Christianity has never been a more global religion than it is today, and yet here we can see how global it has always been. Before Marty, dean of American church historians, even turns his attention to European Christianity he spends long chapters on Asian and African episodes. The book concludes with second African and Asian episodes as well, suggesting the faiths future lies on those continents: The European presence wanes and the promise of Christianity elsewhere rises, he writes. Few scholars other than Marty would have dared write a book such as this, with details on figures as diverse as Bar-Daisan in ancient Syria and present-day Pentecostal evangelists in Africa. Historians and theologians will naturally quibble over points of detail, which may not always be up-to-date on current scholarship. Yet Marty writes with whimsical accessibility, the passion of a believer, and the critical eye of a hard-nosed skeptic. This is in a book that offers a tentative yes to the ancient question of Jesus, When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? (Jan. 15) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.