Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Review: The Founding of Christendom

For the last year or so, I have been making my way through Warren Carroll's series on the history of Christianity. Rarely have I ever read a "scholarly" work and been vastly entertained at the same time.

I actually found myself looking forward to reading the footnotes at the end of every chapter. (Does that make them chapter-notes?) There is a war of words there in which scholars politely insult each other and question their mental acuity, which is actually hilarious.

What I find refreshing is that Carroll is completely transparent about his Catholic world view and informs the reader up front.
«History is a cosmic battleground between Heaven and Hell.» - Warren H. Carroll

[I]ts author, Warren H. Carroll, PhD, confesses at the very outset, it «is written by a Catholic, from a Catholic perspective, with the conviction that Jesus Christ founded a church and that the visible church He founded is the Roman Catholic Church which, through its succession of Popes in particular, has remained, and always will be his Church.»

*The Founding of Christendom* is an extremely well-researched and well-argued work, at once scholarly and exciting, and never afraid to swim against the tide. Particularly praiseworthy is its wonderful, twenty-two page annotated bibliography, a true gateway to the best scholarship on the period (the origins to 324 A.D.), stating the religious orientation of most volumes and Carroll's estimate of their scholarly worth.

It is well worth the read -- you'll learn something and be entertained all at the same time.

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