What is Christianity? How did it begin? What do Christians believe? What are their customs and history? How has Christianity developed though the centuries, and how diverse is Christianity today? Introducing Christianity is an essential introduction to one of the world’s great religious traditions.
James R. Adair narrates the history of Christianity: the intellectual and historical context of its origins, its triumph under the Romans, the upheavals of the Crusades, the Protestant and Catholic Reformations and the challenges of the Enlightenment, and of the modern age. He explores the intriguing new forms Christianity took in the nineteenth century, the evolution of sects such as Mormonism and Jehovah’s witnesses, and its mission to Africa. Adair also interrogates Christianity’s role in the modern world, as he surveys liturgical, geographical and denominational perspectives of contemporary Christianity. He concludes by investigating how Christians interact with modern culture, particularly science, the arts, ethics, political and other religions.
Written in a vivid and lively style, by an experienced teacher, Introducing Christianity is the ideal resource for students beginning their studies of Christianity. Richly illustrated, it also includes quotations from original sources, learning goals, summary boxes, questions for discussion, suggestions for further reading, and a comprehensive glossary, to aid study and revision. The accompanying website to this book can be found at www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415772129.
Part 1: Introduction to Christianity 1. Basic Questions 2. Christianity and the Divine Part 2: Historical Overview of Christianity 3. The Historical and Intellectual Context of Christianity 4. The Founder and Foundational Documents 5. Defining Christianity 6. Conflict and Persecution 7. The Triumph of Christianity 8. Power Shift 9. Christendom at its Height 10. Winds of Change 11. Upheaval in the Church 12. Orthodoxy 13. Old World and New World 14. Diversification and Expansion 15. The Church and the Modern World Part 3: The Varieties of Christianity 16. A Denominational/Traditional Perspective 17. A Geographical Perspective 18. A Doctrinal Perspective 19. A Liturgical Perspective Part 4: Christianity’s Interaction with the World 20. Christianity and Science 21. Christianity and the Arts 22. Christian Ethics and Politics 23. Christianity and Other Religions 24. Conclusion. Abbreviations. Glossary. Bibliography
For those seeking a phenomenological and historical approach to the study of Christianity, Adair’s text provides a helpful introduction. The book not only surveys the history of Christianity from the origins to the present but also provides students with an extended examination of contemporary varieties of Christianity and of Christianity’s interactions with the world. Adair’s evenhanded exploration of diversified Christian responses to such hotly debated issues as creation and evolution, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and relations with other religions serves as a useful reminder that there is no monolithic Christian approach to any social or ethical issue.
Mary Kathleen Cunningham, North Carolina State University, Editor of God and Evolution: A Reader