The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, 200-1000 AD

Feast of Nicodemus the Righteous of Mount Athos
The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, 200-1000 AD by Peter Brown; 3rd edition

Brown_Christendom_Square.jpegPETER BROWN tackles an enormous topic in a short space in this tenth anniversary, revised edition of the 1997 original. In an important new 47-page preface, Brown sums up recent arguments in the field of Late Antiquity and points the reader to a “short selection” of recent works (only short in the vast treasury of Brown’s bibliographic mind; it’s actually quite extensive). Part of his genius lies in inserting just the right anecdote from some unbelievable obscure source, some fragment of a fourth century bureaucrat’s ledger book by which he illuminates a whole epoch. The scope of this narrative ranges from Iceland to Persia, focusing on the themes of the swirling eddies of pagan attitudes and customs beneath the visible, surface Christianization of European peoples and the diversity of Christian cultures (“micro-Christendoms”) within the problematic entity known as “Christendom.” Peter Brown is a revisionist historian whose carefully chosen details often upset commonly accepted generalizations, but always add texture and liveliness to his narratives.

712 pp. paper $49.95

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