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The Christian Tradition A Historical and Theological Introduction

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-07-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Featuring an exceptionally lucid writing style and a holistic, integrated approach, The Christian Tradition: A Historical and Theological Introduction traces the history of Christianity across the world from its earliest origins up to the present. By connecting theological practices to historical developments, it helps students understand and appreciate how theological values and perspectives have grounded major figures and movements.

Revealing the many ways that tradition, history, doctrine, and practice are in constant dialogue, The Christian Tradition offers a fascinating and balanced introduction to Christianity.


Numerous visual aids, including more than fifteen maps, keep students engaged

A master timeline at the beginning of the book and chapter-specific timelines provide historical context

"What to Expect" segments give students a preview of the major concepts covered in each chapter

Text boxes throughout offer in-depth looks at specific events, figures, and ideas

Key terms are bolded at their first appearance, listed at the end of each chapter, and reviewed in a comprehensive glossary at the end of the book

"Conclusions" sections at the end of each chapter remind students of the most important parts of the material they've just read

Author Biography

Peter Feldmeier is the Murray/Bacik Endowed Chair of Catholic Studies at the University of Toledo and the author of several books about Christian theology, including The God Conflict (2014), Encounters in Faith (2011), and The Path of Wisdom (2011).

Table of Contents

List of Timelines
Master Timeline
Chapter One: Introduction
I. Introducing Christianity
II. Christian Sources: The Wesleyan Quadrilateral
III. The Bible as Authority
A. Approaches to the Bible
B. Themes of the Bible
Chapter Two: The Old Testament
I. Introduction
II. The Bible and History
III. Genesis and the Creation of the World
A. Genesis 2:4.b-11:9: Adam and Eve
B. Genesis 1:1-2:4a
C. Making Sense of the Two Stories
IV. Genesis and the Patriarchs (18th Century BCE)
A. Making Sense of the Patriarchs
V. Exodus
A. Making Sense of the Exodus
VI. Judges (c. 1250-1020 BCE)
A. Making Sense of the Judges
VII. Monarchy (c. 1020-586 BCE) and Other Dynasties
A. Making Sense of the Monarchy
VIII. Prophets
IX. Main Theological Themes and Developments in Ancient Israel
A. Law
B. Priesthood and Sacrifice
C. Polytheism to Monotheism
D. Sheol, Heaven, and Hell
E. Satan
F. Israel's Relationship with Others
X. Conclusions
Chapter Three: Jesus and the New Testament
I. The Setting
II. The New Testament and How It was Formed
III. The Gospels of Jesus
IV. The Ministry of Jesus
A. The Gospel of Mark
B. The Gospel of Matthew
C. The Gospel of Luke
D. The Gospel of John
E. Thinking about the Portraits of Jesus
V. Conclusions
Chapter Four: Development of Christianity in the New Testament
I. Introduction to the Rest of the New Testament
II. Acts of the Apostles
III. The Apostle Paul (c. 5-67)
A. Paul, the Early Church, and the Judaizers
B. Paul's Letters
C. Paul's Theology
D. Paul's Soteriology: How Christians are Saved
E. The Letter to the Galatians
F. The End of Paul's Life
IV. Conclusions
Chapter Five: Christianity Becomes a Religion
I. From Judaism to Christianity
II. What is Christianity?
A. Gnosticism
B. Proto-Orthodox Christianity
--i. The Three-fold Ministry
--ii. The Catholic Church
III. Persecutions
IV. Apologists
V. Conclusions
Chapter Six: The Life of the Early Church
I. From Apocalyptic to Eschatological
II. Church as Center
A. Baptism
B. Eucharist
C. Daily Gatherings
III. Moral Rigor
IV. Asceticism
V. Consecrated Virginity
VI. Veneration of Saints
VII. Conclusions
Chapter Seven: The Imperial Church
I. Constantine
II. Councils and Dogmas
A. Nicaea (325)
B. Constantinople (381)
C. Ephesus (431)
D. Chalcedon (451)
III. Christological and Trinitarian Dogmas in Brief
A. Jesus the Christ
B. The Trinity
C. Councils and the Breakup of the Patristic Church
IV. Church and State
V. Patriarchal Sees
VI. Conclusions
Chapter Eight: The Great Fathers and the Quest for Union with God
I. Background
II. Fathers of the East
A. Origen
B. Athanasius
C. The Capadocians
--i. Basil of Caesarea
--ii. Gregory of Nazianzus
--iii. Gregory of Nyssa
III. Augustine and the West
A. The Life of Augustine
B. The Donatist Controversy
C. The Pelagian Controversy
D. City of God
E. Augustine and Union with God
F. Augustine's Legacy
IV. Conclusions
Chapter Nine: Christianity's Spiritual Life
I. Monasticism
A. Eastern Monasticism
B. Western Monasticism
II. Spiritual Practices and the Public Church
III. Sacraments: Where Heaven and Earth Meet
A. The Centrality of the Eucharist
B. The Role of Mary
C. Icons
D. Hesychasm: Unceasing Prayer and Stillness
IV. Conclusions
Chapter Ten: Expansion and Change in the East and North
I. Egypt, Nubia, and Ethiopia
A. Egypt and Coptic Christianity
B. Nubia
C. Ethiopia
II. The Church of the East
III. Expansion of the Byzantine Church
A. Armenia and Georgia (Iberia)
B. Slavic Lands
C. Russian Faith
D. Conversions from the Top Down
IV. The Surging of Islam
V. Conclusions
Chapter Eleven: The Church and the Western Empire
I. Reconstitution of the West
II. Ireland, England, and Scandinavia
III. Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire
A. From the Merovingians to the Carolingians
B. Charlemagne
IV. Considering Papal Developments
A. Popes Leo I and Gelasius I
B. Pope Gregory I
C. Papal Quagmire, Reform, and the Separation of East and West
D. Gregory VII
E. Innocent III
F. Boniface VIII
V. Christianity and War
A. Just War
B. The Crusades
VI. Conclusions
Chapter Twelve: Medieval Piety and the Rise of the Universities
I. Cultural Shifts in Europe
A. From a Gift Economy to a Profit Economy
B. Early Responses to the Shift
C. The Inquisition
II. The Dominican Response
III. The Franciscan Response
IV. Medieval Feminine Affective Piety
A. Sexual Stereotypes
B. Jesus as Mother
C. Feminine Erotic Mysticism
V. Shrines, Miracles, and the Medieval Mind
VI. The Rise of the Universitiesd
A. Christian Scholasticism
B. Thomas Aquinas
C. Nominalism
VII. Conclusions
Chapter Thirteen: The Renaissance
I. From the Late Middle Ages to the Renaissance
II. A Transformation of Culture
III. Humanism and the Discovery of the Individual
IV. Southern Renaissance
A. Texts and the Power of Words
B. Art and Architecture
V. The Avignon Papacy, Conciliarism, and Renaissance Popes
VI. Northern Renaissance
VII. Voices of Reform
VIII. Conclusions
Chapter Fourteen: The Reformation
I. Background
II. Lutheran Reformation
A. The Indulgence Issue
B. Ninety-Five Theses and the Leipzig Debate
C. The Diet of Worms
D. Lutheran Separation
E. Luther's Vision
III. Swiss Reformed Christianity
A. Ulrich Zwingli
B. John Calvin
C. Arminianism and T.U.L.I.P.
IV. The Radical Reformation
V. The English Reformation
VI. Conclusions
Chapter Fifteen: The Catholic Reformation
I. Counter Reformation or Catholic Reformation?
II. Carmelites and Further Developments of Mysticism
III. Ignatius of Loyola and the Society of Jesus
IV. The Council of Trent (1545-1563)
A. Attempted Reforms Prior to Trent
B. Trent
V. Orthodoxy at the Time of the Reformation
VI. Conclusion
Chapter Sixteen: The Enlightenment: From Conflict to Tolerance
I. The Wars of Religion
A. The Thirty Years' War
B. The Low Countries
C. France
D. Puritan Revolution
E. How Religious were the Wars of Religion?
II. Secured Statements of Faith
III. The Enlightenment
A. The Scientific Revolution
B. Rationalism
C. Empiricism
D. Deism
E. Faith in Humanity
IV. Conclusions
Chapter Seventeen: Colonization and Missions
I. The Christian Imperative to Convert Souls
II. Africa
III. The New World
A. Marian Intervention
IV. Reactions against the Slave Trade
V. The Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith
VI. Asia
A. India
B. Japan
C. China
D. Asian Islands
VII. Conclusions
Chapter Eighteen: Christianity in the United States to the Civil War
I. The American Colonies
A. Virginia
B. Massachusetts
C. Rhode Island and Pennsylvania
D. Colonial Alignments
II. Pietism, Methodism, and the Evangelical Movement
A. Pietism
B. Methodism
III. American Revivalism and Evangelicalism
A. Jonathan Edwards and the First Great Awakening
B. George Whitefield
C. The Second Great Awakening
IV. The American Revolution and the Separation of Church and State
V. Catholics in America
VI. Millennialism and New Denominations
A. Black Churches
VII. Conclusions
Chapter Nineteen: Modern Challenges to Christianity
I. The French Revolution and the Italian Risorgimento
A. France
B. Italy
II. Atheism
III. Evolution and the Scientific Worldview
A. Science and Scientism
B. Relationship between Science and Religion
IV. Biblical Criticism
V. Church Responses to the Modern Challenges of Faith
A. Liberal Protestantism
B. Neo-Orthodoxy
C. Fundamentalism
VI. Roman Catholicism
A. Reactions against Modernism
B. Vatican II
VII. Eastern Orthodoxy: Russian and the Ottoman Decay
VIII. Conclusions
Chapter Twenty: The Rise of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity
I. The Modern Evangelical Movement
A. What Is an Evangelical Christian?
B. Evangelicalism and the American Religious Right
C. The Mega-Church Movement
II. The Pentecostal Explosion
A. The Early Movement
B. Charismatic Renewal
C. Pentecostal Piety
D. Prosperity Preaching
III. Conclusions
Chapter Twenty-One: Modern Faith and Future Trends
I. Leaving Behind Eurocentrism
II. The Growth of Christianity World-Wide
III. The Christian Explosion in Africa
A. African Christianity and Violence
IV. Korea
A. Liberation TheologyTheologies
B. Feminist Theology
C. Black Theology
VI. The Ecumenical Movement
VII. Reconsidering the Religious Other
A. Theologies of Religion
B. Interreligious Dialogue
VIII. The Future of Christianity
IX. Conclusions
Glossary of Key Terms

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