Silence : A Christian History

3.68 (185 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 1 business day
When will my order arrive?


A provocative history of the role of silence in Christianity by the award-winning, "New York Times" bestselling author
In this essential work of religious history, the "New York Times "bestselling author of "Christianity" explores the vital role of silence in the Christian story.
How should one speak to God? Are our prayers more likely to be heard if we offer them quietly at home or loudly in church? How can we really know if God is listening? From the earliest days, Christians have struggled with these questions. Their varied answers have defined the boundaries of Christian faith and established the language of our most intimate appeals for guidance or forgiveness.
MacCulloch shows how Jesus chose to emphasize silence as an essential part of his message and how silence shaped the great medieval monastic communities of Europe. He also examines the darker forms of religious silence, from the church's embrace of slavery and its muted reaction to the Holocaust to the cover-up by Catholic authorities of devastating sexual scandals.
A groundbreaking work that will change our understanding of the most fundamental wish to be heard by God, "Silence" gives voice to the greatest mysteries of faith.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 337 pages
  • 157.48 x 226.06 x 33.02mm | 521.63g
  • English
  • 0670025569
  • 9780670025565
  • 562,280

Review quote

Praise for "Silence"

"A stimulating and sweeping overview. . . . MacCulloch persuasively shows how the Church has constructed and reconstructed silence in ways that many Christian thinkers would neither have expected nor embraced."
"--Publishers Weekly"

"Diarmaid MacCulloch charts Christianity's problematic and often contradictory relationship to silence with aplomb. . . . "Silence "is intellectually robust, and without the prevarications and self-qualifications that sometimes stymie academic prose. Indeed, MacCulloch is by turns precise, poetic, and righteously indignant."
"--The Guardian"

"An enjoyable, intelligent meander through Jewish and Christian history . . . MacCulloch is a gifted scholar and his ideas are always worth hearing. . . . What holds the book together are his own sensibilities, which include an intense antipathy for 'received' ways of thinking and for doctrines that were upheld with the panoply of ecclesiastical and secular power."
"--The Economist"

"Erudite and witty . . . The first half of this book is a brilliantly wide-ranging yet concise survey of the idea of silence in Christian theology and in the practices of all kinds of Christians through the centuries. In the second half, different kinds of quiet in Christian history come under scrutiny. There has been historical amnesia on the role of women in the early church, and recent reticence about clerical child abuse has unsettling parallels in the past. . . . Whether considering silences that brought worshippers closer to God or those that should be broken for the health of Christian society, MacCulloch has written a clever, demanding, and insightful book."
"--Sunday Times "(London)
show more

About Diarmaid MacCulloch

Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church at St. Cross College, University of Oxford. His most recent book, the "New York Times" bestseller "Christianity," won several awards. A Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Historical Society. He lives in Oxford, UK.
show more

Rating details

185 ratings
3.68 out of 5 stars
5 22% (41)
4 32% (60)
3 37% (69)
2 8% (14)
1 1% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X