The Lost History of Christianity
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The Lost History of Christianity : The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia - And How It Died

3.98 (1,136 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"Jenkins is one of America's top religious scholars."
--Forbes magazine

The Lost History of Christianity by Philip Jenkins offers a revolutionary view of the history of the Christian church. Subtitled "The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died," it explores the extinction of the earliest, most influential Christian churches of China, India, and the Middle East, which held the closest historical links to Jesus and were the dominant expression of Christianity throughout its first millennium. The remarkable true story of the demise of the institution that shaped both Asia and Christianity as we know them today, The Lost History of Christianity is a controversial and important work of religious scholarship that sounds a warning that must be heeded.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 315 pages
  • 149.86 x 231.14 x 30.48mm | 544.31g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Maps; Tables, black and white
  • 0061472808
  • 9780061472800
  • 373,110

Review quote

The Lost History of Christianity is a fascinating study of the first thousand-plus years of the Church--a Church rooted in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. We have much to learn from the tale of its reach, its particular way of being Christian, and its eventual decomposition --Beliefnet.com (One of the Best Religious Books of 2008)"
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Back cover copy

In this groundbreaking book, renowned religion scholar Philip Jenkins offers a lost history, revealing that, for centuries, Christianity's center was actually in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, with significant communities extending as far as China. The Lost History of Christianity unveils a vast and forgotten network of the world's largest and most influential Christian churches that existed to the east of the Roman Empire. These churches and their leaders ruled the Middle East for centuries and became the chief administrators and academics in the new Muslim empire. The author recounts the shocking history of how these churches--those that had the closest link to Jesus and the early church--died.

Jenkins takes a stand against current scholars who assert that variant, alternative Christianities disappeared in the fourth and fifth centuries on the heels of a newly formed hierarchy under Constantine, intent on crushing unorthodox views. In reality, Jenkins says, the largest churches in the world were the "heretics" who lost the orthodoxy battles. These so-called heretics were in fact the most influential Christian groups throughout Asia, and their influence lasted an additional one thousand years beyond their supposed demise.

Jenkins offers a new lens through which to view our world today, including the current conflicts in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Without this lost history, we lack an important element for understanding our collective religious past. By understanding the forgotten catastrophe that befell Christianity, we can appreciate the surprising new births that are occurring in our own time, once again making Christianity a true world religion.
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Rating details

1,136 ratings
3.98 out of 5 stars
5 33% (376)
4 39% (438)
3 23% (259)
2 4% (51)
1 1% (12)
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