The History of Christian Thought
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Why read about the history of Christian thought?
Because, if you are Christian yourself, it helps you to understand the faith—addressing everything from where Christians got their ideas of the Trinity and how Christ can be both human and divine to what they think about issues like feminism, globalization and social justice.
And because, even if you are not, all Western society has been shaped by the influence of thinkers like Augustine, Aquinas and Luther. You can’t understand the world as it is without knowing something about Christian thought.
Jonathan Hill has the uncanny ability to sketch portraits of his subjects—whether early church apologists, medieval doctors of the church, Reformation giants, nineteenth-century philosophical behemoths or contemporary feminist scholars—that are simultaneously lively, brief and revealing. Similarly, he ably penetrates to the nub of their thought, combining apt description with pithy quotations from their work.
Significant events, councils, movements and terms are introduced and explained, which put the cast of characters in context and illumine their place within the development of Christian thought. Not content to merely describe, Hill offers pertinent assessments that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of his subjects’ contributions to Christian thinking and spurs you to reflect on significant issues for yourself.
A society with no grasp of its history is like a person without a memory. So Hill, in this lively and accessible introduction, offers you a wealth of insight on the history of Christian thought and the colorful personalities of those who gave it shape and form.
“Scholars will appreciate Hill’s ability to concisely state difficult concepts, and other readers will find that the author has been able to gently guide them into thinking about issues that they initially imagined were beyond their abilities. A fascinating story,”—Catholic Library World.
“Scholars and other interested readers will appreciate the succinct, authoritative work of Jonathan Hill in this book. Serious differences now exist on how best to relate the history of Christian thought, but Hill does good work with how he has chosen to tell the story.” —Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
Jonathan Hill earned a first-class degree in philosophy and theology from Oxford University and subsequently an M.Phil. in theology (also from Oxford), specializing in the church fathers. Since 1997, he has worked as a writer and editor, dividing his time between Oxford and New Zealand. His books include The History of Christian Thought and Faith in the Age of Reason.