An Introduction to Christianity examines the key figures, events and ideas of two thousand years of Christian history and places them in context. It considers the religion in its material as well as its spiritual dimensions and explores its interactions with wider society such as money, politics, force, gender and the family, and non-Christian cultures and societies. This Introduction places particular focus on the ways in which Christianity has understood, embodied and related to power. It shows how the Church's longstanding love affair with 'higher power', both human and divine, has been repeatedly challenged by alternative ideas of of 'power from below', both sacred and secular. Finally, by bringing the history of Christianity right up-to-date, this book explores the ways in which churches of both North and South react to the rise of modern democracy. Comprehensive and accessible, this book will appeal to the student and general reader.
Linda Woodhead is a Senior Lecturer in Christian Studies at Lancaster University. She has written extensively on Christianity, culture and society. Recent edited books include Peter Berger and the Study of Religion (2001), Religions in the Modern World (2002), Predicting Religion (2003, with Grace Davie and Paul Heelas) and Congregational Studies in the UK (2004, with Matthew Guest and Karin Tusting).
Introduction; Part I. The Christian Revolution: Ascent to Power: 1. How Christianity came to power; 2. Churches of east and west in the early middle ages; 3. Christendom: the western church in power; Part II. The Modern Revolution: Compromises with Power: 4. The Reformation in context; 5. Protestant pathways into the modern world; 6. Catholic and orthodox negotiations with modernity; 7. Twentieth-century fortunes; Conclusion.