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This powerful reconstruction of the faith and heritage of medieval Christendom reveals its extraordinary impact in both great empires and tiny enclaves.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780750924054
ISBN-10: 0750924055
Format: Hardback
(244mm x 172mm x 10mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Sutton Publishing Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Publish Date: 27-Feb-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » This is a general compendium of Christian history summarising the fortunes of the Church in Western Europe, Byzantium, Asia and Africa from AD 300 to1500. Beginning with the decision of the Emperor Constantine in 312 to make Christianity the officially sanctioned religion of the Roman empire, the author traces the expansion of Church influence until the point at which, he believes, Christianity became a tool of Western imperialism, with various colonies adopting either Catholicism or Protestantism depending on the preference of their conquerors. It is, then, a specifically Catholic Church which is his subject, although other forms of Christianity, included some regarded as heretical, are discussed. Indeed, Hamilton is at some pains to distinguish between official doctrine and less orthodox ideas: for example, he notes that Catholicism has a higher regard for the material world than do the Gnostic thinkers, and he discusses various theories about the end of time. Perhaps of particular interest to British readers is the section on the establishment of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon, Irish and Viking settlements. A substantial proportion of the book, including the epilogue, concerns itself with the relationship between Christians and Muslims, both in the West, where the Islamic empire reached as far as Italy and Spain, and in Palestine, the homeland of Christianity and a place sacred to Muslims because of their belief that the Prophet Mohammed once flew, by the power of God, from Mecca to Jerusalem. This belief resulted in the erection of the Al-Aqsa Mosque over the remains of the central Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans after the failure of the Jewish Nationalist rebellion. Hamilton goes into some detail about Judaeo-Christian-Islamic relations around sites sacred to followers of ancient Christian communities in countries such as Egypt and Iraq. While much of the story of the Western church is well known, Hamilton includes snapshots of the Church in various countries such as India and China, and many interesting characters emerge from the broad patterns of historical change. This is an excellent guide to mediaeval Christianity for both specialists and general readers. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Professor Bernard Hamilton

Bernard Hamilton is Professor of Crusading History at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of The Crusades in Sutton's Pocket History series and numerous other books on medieval history.

Books By Author Professor Bernard Hamilton

Leper King and His Heirs by Professor Bernard Hamilton

The Leper King and His Heirs

Paperback, July 2005
Religion in the Medieval West by Professor Bernard Hamilton

Religion in the Medieval West

Paperback, August 2003