Read The Story of Christianity: An Illustrated History of 2000 Years of the Christian Faith by David Bentley Hart Online


Includes timelines, display quotations, and profiles of the key personalities who shaped the course of the history of the Christian faith. Contains 150 color images....

Title : The Story of Christianity: An Illustrated History of 2000 Years of the Christian Faith
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781847241405
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Story of Christianity: An Illustrated History of 2000 Years of the Christian Faith Reviews

  • David Withun
    2019-05-05 18:21

    I wish I could give this six stars. This is far and away the best book I have ever read (and, I think, will ever read) on Christian history. The illustrations are great, the explanations insightful, and the flow and pace are perfect. Hart tells the story of Christianity from its beginnings all the way to today, never missing an important event and all the while subtly undermining the fallacious myths of Christianity's modern-day detractors (the "assassination" of Hypatia, the "persecution" of witches, the "attacks" on scientists, etc.). Unlike most other history texts, Hart also doesn't forget to include the Christian world outside of Europe -- reminding us of the frequently forgotten stories of the Assyrian, Ethiopian, and Indian Churches. If anyone wants to learn about the history of Christianity -- this is THE book to read.

  • Eric
    2019-05-05 16:01

    4.5. An irenic and thorough, if necessarily selective, overview of the history of the Christian faith.One thing that I was again struck by was how willing Hart is to admit to the failings of the church and the ways in which the life of the faithful has always been entangled in less than spiritual concerns, as if a faith like Christianity can be relegated to only the "spiritual". Much like in, the unfortunately titled, Atheist Delusions Hart insists on historical accuracy in describing the failings of Christianity and also what it accomplished. Over all this is a great survey of Christianity, written with a certain style and humor that was appealing to me. One minor quibble. I get tired of reading that cruxifixction was anything less than an Imperial Roman method of social control that was more or less reserved for those who rebelled against the empire. Hart says that cruxifixction was reserved for the "lowest of criminals" which unfortunately masked the political overtones on the whole narrative. Albeit in the preceding two paragraphs on pgs. 18-19 he does mention the seditions nature of the charge against Jesus of being "king of the Jews", but it would have helped later discussions of the relationship of the Christianity with the empire if the revolutionary character of the Cross had been foregrounded more. That aside I really enjoyed this book.

  • Steven Wedgeworth
    2019-04-29 19:21

    This is a very interesting book. It is beautifully illustrated with very accessible chapters on nearly ever important stage of Christian history. Hart gives impressive attention to traditions of the church (mostly Eastern ones) which are usually neglected. His biases are fairly obvious though, and they are more than a few. So this book cannot be recommended as a generic reference volume to be given to an introductory audience. Still, for those familiar with Hart's world, as well as those who have many other historical surveys, this is a welcome addition. It's certainly a great way to get started learning about new facets of the church.

  • Jacob Aitken
    2019-05-19 21:19

    Professor Hart is an Eastern Orthodox Christian, but as in many of his works, he gives considerable (and fair) attention to the West. He doesn’t cover any new ground in this book that one wouldn’t also find in the standard church history book, but he does cover old ground from new angles. In discussing the different epochs of Church History, Hart asks the reader questions that only an Easterner would ask, causing the reader to pause for reflection and to come away with a richer understanding of his faith. In this review I will focus on several areas that Westerners do not either speak of or speak of in simplistic terms: Christology, Asian Christianities, and the struggle for faith in the 19th Century. So, I won’t be giving a point-by-point outline of the book. Most readers will be familiar enough with the material.ChristologyWhen we speak of Christ it’s usually in terms of “God sent him to die for our sins so that we could be saved.” That’s true, but there’s more to the story. As Hart notes of the Incarnation, “human beings were now able to become vessels of the divine presence, and Christians would look forward to a day when God’s glory would be revealed in those who had been joined to Christ, and would transfigure the whole of creation” (12). Hart is not changing the story but telling it on different grounds, allowing different (but very biblical) questions to be raised.Asian and African ChristianitiesIf any churches can claim continuity with antiquity, it would be Armenian and Indian churches. Like other Oriental churches, the Armenian church had problems with Chalcedonian formulations (one wonders how much of this was substance and how much was language?). According to legend, the Church in India was founded by St Thomas the Apostle. Hart argues this might not be entirely fiction. There were ancient trade routes from the Middle East to India and there were Christian communities in western India as early as the second century (62). The Anguish of Faith in the 19th CenturyMany writers point out the depression and anguish of the 1800s. Non-Christian writers were in despair (read a secular novel from the 19th century and see the quiet desperation). Christian writers, supposedly, were in flux. And much of this narrative is true. Hart goes on to say that despite the acute attacks on Christianity (Nietzsche, Comte, etc), there was a flowering of fresh Christian activity. And perhaps these were related. The Slavophiles of Russia reacted to the Enlightenment and in that reaction produced arguably the most creative Christian response. Alexei Khomyakov and Vladimir Solovyov articulated the Sobornost: an integrated approach to reality that values brotherhood, harmony, and concordance all in the context of a connected and rooted Christianity. Even to this day it is my opinion that Sobornost is the best response to socialism and capitalism. And finally, the 19th century gave us one of the greatest thinkers of all time: Fyodor Dostoevsky. Conclusion:There is much more to the book. Hart debunks many mythical narratives told by the Enlightenment: Galileo actually had church protection and routinely failed to mathematically prove his conclusions. He gave the “correct” answers but his models could not allow for them. And Galileo could not allow for the fact that he was wrong. Hart notes that the Islamic empires didn’t actually give scientific and cultural breakthroughs. Rather, they inherited the cultural legacy of three different civilizations. Those are other examples in the book. And of course, obviously, the book contains some of the most beautiful art work in Western Civilization.

  • Michael W.
    2019-04-27 20:06

    If you have ever read the articles and works of David Bentley Hart and come to "The Story of Christianity" looking for the same pithy, punchy, poignant prose, you will be mildly disappointed. In Hart's defense, this is a drive-by reading of 2,000 years of church history. The depth and development are not there. Nevertheless this is a good read, with helpful observations and corrections. One must remember that Hart is telling the story standing within Eastern Orthodoxy, which makes the re-telling a slightly different experience than other readings of Church history.The benefits of the book are these:1. Easy, familiarizing reading of Church history. Especially valuable for those who have never jumped into the story before.2. Each chapter is usually five to six pages in length. It makes each segment easily digestible.3. Hart makes sure to tell a little larger story as he traipses off to Ethiopia, Syria, Persia, India and into China. Most English retellings of our history focus primarily on the West. This one gives a larger grounding to our story.4. There's a greater fairness to Hart's work than might be found in other works.5. In 343 pages a reader will obtain a general, bird's-eye view of Christian history.To conclude, one will be left with the feeling that Hart's last sentence is right: "It may very well be the case that now, after 2000 years, the story of Christianity is still beginning" (343). I recommend this book.

  • Glenn Myers
    2019-04-27 17:19

    A happy mix between the church histories that overdo the lavish at the expense of the comprehensive, and those that overdo the comprehensive at the expense of your eyesight. David Bentley Hart appears to have read everyone, from all the Gnostics, through Nietzsche, to the Russian devotional mystics, and that, and his own Eastern Orthodox faith means that his church history isn't skewed just to the Western (heard of St Herman of Alaska? Me neither). I found hardly a misstep in the book. His hobby of unravelling the myths and fairy tales that New Atheists tell to their children at bedtime (for a fuller account of which, see his 'Atheist Delusions') informs some of his chapters, notably those about the early modern period. My favourite of all the church histories I have read. Get someone to give you this book for Christmas.

  • Ben
    2019-05-16 17:25

    The "illustrated" aspect of this coffee-table-book approach goes a long way in making for interesting reading. Small timelines and brief bios are usually included in each short chapter. Far from an exhaustive text on the topic, it's still an accessible and informative all-around resource.

  • Adrian
    2019-04-30 18:04

    A major strength of David Bentley Hart's study is the fact that it has a truly ecumenical approach. While Hart is a Theologian of the Eastern Orthodox Church, he nonetheless provides a study of all Churches, movements and includes the sects that essentially failed or went extinct.Hart includes all the historical events one would expect, the early Church Councils, the Great Schism of 1054, the Reformation and the Enlightenment, but his concluding chapter has some ground breaking insights.Apparently, movements such as Pentecostal and Charismatic are more widespread than one (or at least this reader) had imagined and it's now not inconceivable to encounter a Catholic church service involving Spiritual gifts.But his most sobering analysis is in Christianity's global shift from north to south, and from East to West.Hart concludes that while Church numbers may be declining in Europe and the US, Christianity has literally exploded in Africa and is growing ever faster in China, and perhaps this is where Christianity's future may be strongest.

  • Deepu George
    2019-04-22 14:31

    An excellent book that gives a concise history of Christianity from the apostolic era to the present. To put everything that happened in the last 2000 years is humanly not possible in this book. He doesn't touch upon the very many controversies associated with the Popes and gives even pope Alexander 6 some reasons to smile ;).good thing is that it gives equal importance to all factions of Christianity. A worth read

  • Michael Dunn
    2019-04-21 14:05

    David Bentley Hart has done a very nice, balanced work to provide a fast and broad survey of the story of the Christian faith. It was fun to read - even with a lot of education - because in about 350 pages he hit the main points through the history of the story. However, it would great to read for someone who wanted a quick read that exposed one to all the main high points, with the idea of delving into further details if something captured one's attention.

  • Tim
    2019-05-02 21:01

    Hart's history of Christianity allows some of his biases to leak through, but that is fair enough. Western Christians need to know more about the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental churches and understand similarities and differences. This book is just an overview, not a full discussion, and is also more concerned generally with thinkers than with practice. Still a good introductory overview and the pictures are beautiful.

  • Jonele
    2019-04-29 20:15

    Very broad overview of Christianity from a little before it's inception. Some of the information I want to recheck because it doesn't hold with the majority opinion - which doesn't mean it's wrong - but overall well handled for such a large topic.

  • Mac
    2019-05-13 22:31

    Short fascinating chapters, beautiful illustrations on oversized pages. David Bentley Hart's wonderfully engaging style maintained even as it is pared down for popular audiences. An excellent survey of Christian history by one of the best minds in the Church at present.

  • Jason Boyd
    2019-05-06 17:08

    Does exactly what it says on the tin. It's a straight-up account of Christianity's first 2,000 years. As you'd guess, it doesn't cover everything in depth but is more of an account of what happened with a few sections on why they happened.

  • Ferci
    2019-04-28 21:07


  • Gabriel Espinales
    2019-04-19 20:24

    A good book with lots of images. Much of the untold history of Christianity's past. A tad bit bias due to the writer siding mostly with Eastern Orthodox church. Still a good read.

  • John Roberson
    2019-05-13 21:09

    A really beautiful history of Christianity from a first-rate theologian. Great pictures, great historical snapshots. Broad, deep, and readable.

  • Vanessa Siemens
    2019-04-23 15:28

    Great overview of a difficult and expansive topic to cover. The artwork and pictures were a great addition.

  • Jaye
    2019-05-10 18:06

    Haven't read it yet, but it was sort of recommended by Brett.He's reading a book by Mr. Hart and the name rang a bell. And I found this book on my shelf!

  • Paul Taylor
    2019-05-10 17:06

    A bit arcane for the general reader but a comprehensive and quite informative summary.And, would you credit it, I have read it again, forgetting that I had already read it.