The History of Christianity: An Introduction

Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2003-01-03
Publisher(s): McGraw-Hill Education
List Price: $159.64

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This engaging new text covers the sweep of Christian history from its background in Greece and Rome to the challenges of the new century. The authors provide essential coverage of the historical and cultural settings in which major developments occurred, biographical material on important figures in Christian history, and assistance to students in identifying major themes and ideas. The perfect length for a one-term course in the history of Christianity, the text is also substantial enough for a two-term course, especially when supplemented with primary source readings.

Author Biography

Bradley Paul Nystrom (Sacramento, CA) is a professor at California State University.

David Paul Nystrom (Chicago, IL) is a professor at North Park University.

Table of Contents


1. Backgrounds to Christianity


Judaism and the Context of Christian Origins

The History and Thought of Ancient Judaism

The Greeks

Greek History

The Legacy of Alexander

Greek Thought

Rome and Roman Expansion

The Beliefs and Practices of First-Century Jews

Judaism in the Greco-Roman World

Judaism in Palestine

Jewish Political Parties

Apocalyptic and Jewish Messianic Expectation


2. The Birth of Christianity


John the Baptist and Christian Origins

The Life and Teachings of Jesus

The Sources

Childhood, Baptism, and Temptations


Teaching: The Kingdom of God and the Son of Man

Jesus the Radical

The Passion

The Resurrection and the Early Church


Paul's Theology




An Apocalyptic Preacher

Transformation, Freedom, and Responsibility

Christian Community

The Gospel of John

The Context of the Gospel

John's Theology


3. Christianity in the Roman World


Zenith and Decline of the Empire

The First Century

The "Five Good Emperors"

The Crisis of the Third Century

Diocletian and Constantine

The End of the Empire

The Growth of the Church

Converts and Conversion


Martyrs and Martyrdom

The Question of the Lapsed: Cyprian, Novatian, and Donatus

Early Christian Writers

Justin Martyr

Clement of Alexandria



The Beginnings of Monasticism

Egypt: Anthony and Pachomius

Syria, Palestine, and Asia Minor

The West: Benedict and the Benedictine Rule


4. Councils and Creeds: Defining Orthodoxy in Late Antiquity


Establishing Ecclesiastical Authority

Challenges: Gnosticism, Marcionism, and Montanism

Bishops and Apostolic Succession

The Creation of the Canon

Rules of Faith and the Apostle's Creed

Controversies, Councils, and Creeds


The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea (325)

The Cappadocian Fathers and the Doctrine of the Trinity

The Christological Controversy and the Council of Chalcedon(451)

Theologians of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries

The Cappadocian Fathers

John Chrysostom




The Practice of Christianity

Holy Days

Baptism and the Eucharist


The Cult of Saints


5. The Rise of the Church in the Early Middle Ages


The Western Church, the Franks, and Feudalism

The Merovingians and the Church


The Carolingian Renaissance

The Conversion of Spain, England, and Ireland

The Rise of Feudalism

The Church in the Feudal World

The Eastern Church and the Byzantine Empire


Byzantium after Justinian

The Church in the Byzantine World

The Conversion of the Goths and Slavs

The Islamic Challenge

Muhammad and Islam

The Growth of Islamic Civilization

Developments in the Eastern Church

The Seven Ecumenical Councils

The Iconoclastic Controversy

John of Damascus

Monasticism and Mysticism

Developments in the Western Church

Early Theories of Papal Authority

Gregory the Great

John Scotus Eriugena


The Sacraments

The Saints and the Virgin Mary

The Filioque


6. The Church and Christian Culture in the High Middle Ages


The West in the High Middle Ages

Economic, Social, and Political Change

The Holy Roman Empire

Reform and Revival in the Church

Monastic Reform

Papal Reform under Leo IX and Nicholas II

The Reform Ideology of Gregory VII

Gregory VII, Henry IV, and the Investiture Controversy

The Papal Monarchy

Alexander III

Innocent III

The Papacy in the Thirteenth Century

The Crusades


The Course of the Crusades

Consequences of the Crusades


The Rise of the Universities


Anselm of Canterbury

Peter Abelard

Hugh of St. Victor and Peter Lombard

Thomas Aquinas

Women and the Virgin Mary

Cathedrals: Praise in Stone and Glass

Romanesque Style

Gothic Style


7. Dissent, Division, and Reform in the Late Middle Ages


The West in the Late Middle Ages

Decline of the Holy Roman Empire

Political Developments in France, England, and Spain

Social Unrest

The Black Death

Decline in the Western Church

The Babylonian Captivity

The Great Schism and the Conciliar Movement

Decline in Monasticism and among the Secular Clergy

Pilgrimage, the Cult of Saints, and Indulgences

Heretics and Reformers

The Cathari and Waldenses

The Dominicans and the Inquisition

The Franciscans

John Wycliffe and Jan Hus

Mystics and Mysticism

Theology in the West

John Duns Scotus

William of Ockham

Theology and Political Theory

The Church and the Renaissance

The Renaissance in Italy

Humanism in Northern Europe

The Renaissance Popes

The Eastern Orthodox Church

The Break with Rome

The Fall of Byzantium

The Orthodox Church and the Ottoman State

The Russian Orthodox Church

The Smaller Churches of Africa and Asia

The Coptic and Ethiopian Churches

Monophysitism in Syria and Armenia

Nestorian Christianity


8. The Protestant Reformation


Europe on the Eve of Reformation

Martin Luther

The Complexity of Martin Luther

The Young Luther

Professor and Reformer

Luther's Theology


Knowledge of God

The Human Condition and Salvation

The Church

Why the Reformation Succeeded

The Early Progress of the Lutheran Movement

The Urban Reformation

The Late Medieval City




The Peasant Revolts of 1525

Zwingli and the Swiss Reformation

The Radical Reformation

The Anabaptists

The Spiritualists and the Evangelical Humanists


9. Protestant Expansion and Catholic Response


The European Scene

Royal Absolutism


Calvin's Theology

The Spread of Protestantism

The Reformation in England and Scotland

The Reformation in England

The Reformation in Scotland

The Puritans



Cromwell and Puritan Political Power

The Glorious Revolution

The Catholic Reformation

Reforming Voices

Individual Calls for Reform

Reforming Groups


Reforming Popes

The Council of Trent

Eastern Orthodoxy


10. The Church in an Age of Division and Expansion


The Scene in Europe: Politics, Religion, and Strife

Germany, Sweden, and the Thirty-Year's War

France and the Huguenot Struggle

The Netherlands

Prussia, Russia, and the Empire

Catholic Orthodoxy

Popes and Kings

Divergence within Catholicism

Lutheran Orthodoxy and Protestant Scholasticism

Currents in Intellectual Life: The Enlightenment, Rationalism and the Scientific Revolution

The Scientific Revolution

Rationalism in Philosophy and Religion

Descartes and Continental Rationalism


The Kantian Synthesis

The Philosophes of France

Religions of the Head, Religions of the Heart


Religions of the Heart


The Great Awakening

The Orthodox Church in an Embattled Era

The Church in Russia


11. Christianity in the Modern World: The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries


The Modern World: Social, Political, and Economic Change

Romanticism and Liberalism

Imperialism and Industrialization

World Wars and Communist Revolutions

The Modern World: Intellectual Change

The Natural Sciences

The Social Sciences


History and Biblical Criticism

The Roman Catholic Church in the Modern World

Napoleon and the Church

The Nineteenth Century

The Early Twentieth Century

Catholic Theology in the Early Twentieth Century

John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965)

Protestantism in the Modern World

Nineteenth-Century Liberal Theology

Critics of Liberal Christianity


Protestant Theology in the Early Twentieth Century

New Churches

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Christian Science and New Thought

Seventh-Day Adventists

Jehovah's Witnesses

The Eastern Orthodox Church in the Modern World

Orthodoxy and the Autocephalous Churches

The Russian Orthodox Church

The Expansion of Christianity

North America

South America






12. The Church and the Challenge of the New Century


Theologies Old and New

Biblical Criticism

Biblical Theology

Theologies of Hope

Liberation Theologies

Secular Theology



The Pentacostal and Charismatic Movements

Success and "Signs and Wonders" Christianity

The Ecumenical Movement

The Catholic Church after Vatican II

Hans Kung

John Paul II

World Christianity: Trends and Prospects


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