She identified herself with the Theotokos (God-Bearer) mother of Christ, calling herself the Bride of Christ, and acting “almost as matriarch of the church, as well as Augusta. I admire his sense of boiling down to specific personalities the key events that shaped this struggle, and for choosing the political as well as ecclesiastical personalities who undoubtedly had a great deal of influence in deciding what would become orthodox. He also has a sense of humor that peeps out on occasion "In any theological struggle, the first thousand years are always the bitterest.". After establishing the Trinity as a core belief of Christianity in the 4th century, the next all-consuming argument concerned the identity of Jesus, the main contours being: was he both human and divine, as proclaimed at the councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon, or did he only have one divine nature? Jesus is a made for TV movie from 1999 that retells the greatest and most famous of all stories-the life of Jesus as told in The Gospels. Jesus Wars is a fascinating tour-de-force of historical writing. I love reading history. Graduates of the school in Syria became influential figures in Constantinople, but were regarded with suspicion by the Alexandrians due to their Antiochene roots. Cyril continued to read the Bible allegorically, and insisted on drawing symbolic connections between random passages (for example, he preached the ark of the covenant explained incarnation: “’God the Word was united to the holy Flesh…. He does so by acknowledging the Christian struggles of the first threee centuries (when the question was whether Jesus was divine), and some of the consequences of those centuries (too briefly mentioning the relation between non-orthodox Christians and Islam in my opinion), yet staying focused on the time and politics in question. These concepts may seem trivial or overly academic. This is a nice back door way to get some basic theology while ostensibly reading history. (Interestingly, he points out that there are far more references in the Old Testament to justified killing and even genocide than exhortation to violence in the Koran. At the same time he clarifies the subject of Christology, he presents these dusty ideas and arguments with the passion and fascination that they held for the early Christians of Alexandria and Antioch. The Christological aspect has practical implications as a devotional work for those who approach the book from the perspective of a practicing Christian - again such as myself. To a more objective reader it appears that the evidence for Christ’s divinity is pretty thin, and that makes the struggle for asserting his alleged true identity even more tragic. What does it really mea. How did Christians go about constructing what is today regarded as orthodoxy? Ironically, only one pope was able to exert much influence on the debate, Leo the Great, and even he was kept on the sideline at the infamous Council of Gangsters of 449 in Ephesus. However, the movie also takes liberties with The Bible, which at times makes it a compelling perspective on the most influential person in history. Focusing on the seven critical ecumenical councils of the Church, the events leading up to & surrounding each of them, and the key persons involved in forging this history (and its evolving theologies). – Reviewed by Ralph Walter. It is a complex and coherent narrative. Jesus and Gin is a rollicking tour of the roaring twenties and the barn- burning preachers who led the temperance movement—the anti-abortion crusade of the Jazz Age. Ironically, the See of Rome, who participated in dispossessing Nestorius, now favored a Two Natures Christ (granted, in a modified form than Nestorius’s) over the former Alexandrian ally. These are fabulous stories and Jenkins shows how these themes have resonated through Christendom for over a thousand years. The author of Jesus Wars, Peter Jenkins, who is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, … But the death the following year of the Eastern emperor, Theodosius II, who believed the One Nature account, and the support of Pope Leo, among others, led to the Council of Chalcedon where the creed of the 4th century councils at Nicaea and Constantinople were affirmed. It seems that one faction's heresies are another faction's orthodoxies. A chronicle of the main influences and events leading up to the major church conflicts during the fifth century, and a narration of the aftermath of these councils and divisive theological formulations, Jesus Wars walks the reader through these times as if she or he was a contemporary eyewitness. Be the first to ask a question about Jesus Wars. Who knew that the process looked more like a poorly run political convention? Gives an "insider look" at the issues and personalities involved, at the forces that shaped and determined the outcome, that gave us the Chalcedonian Statement of Faith, that created the orthodox understanding of orthodox Christianity. The Problem Jesus Wars is one such book. I am glad I did, because I now have a single volume popular history on the late antique church councils and the politics that surrounded them that I can pass on to others as a good book. by HarperOne. Pulcheria played a significant role in the First Council of Ephesus in 431, which debated the opposing views of Nestorius (bishop of Constantinople) and Cyril (bishop of Alexandria) over the nature of Christ. What did they do for a living in Rome? I have little respect for Christianity (or any other religion, but Christianity is the one that most affects my culture so I feel more entitled to speak to it). It is clearly not introductory level, but for anyone who has at least a small understanding of the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, this is an excellent source to read a fairly thorough history all in one volume. This is a good book. There were numerous nuances of each position that had their supporters, but this was the main general issue. The rebels make a desperate attempt to escape. Refresh and try again. I learned a ton about Christology from this book - that is the study of the nature of Christ for all you non-theologians like myself. Since seeing the film in the theaters opening night and writing the above review, I've seen it several more times, including in 3D on IMAX and in its 4K UHD presentation here. This book details how the political maneuverings in the 5th century affected what is officially thought and taught about Jesus. While the subject matter may seem to be a rebuff to religion in general pointing to violence engendered by debates over transcendent subjects, the distillation actually produces a potent brew of providential governance for those who view the subject through faith filled eyes. Jenkins discusses the Christological debates leading up to the Chalcedon Creed and beyond; the book centers around the fifth century. September 1, 2010. I learned a ton about Christology from this book - that is the study of the nature of Christ for all you non-theologians like myself. “He makes wars cease throughout the earth. He was educated at Clare College, in the University of Cambridge, where he took a prestigious “Double First” degree—that is, Double First Class Honors. Since 1980, he has taught at Penn State University, and currently holds the rank of Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of the Humanities. Jenkins discusses the Christological debates leading up to the Chalcedon Creed and beyond; the book centers around the fifth century. Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 years. Alas, this book delves deep into convoluted details of theology, which I could not possibly care less about, and so I gave it up on page 23. The Christian Church in Syria, Egypt, and Constantinople, gradually diminished, and eventually but disappeared under Muslim rule. This post is inspired by a book I read about early Christian history. Jesus Wars is one such book. Jesus was born into a time where the Roman Empire was the most … It was Reimarus, writing in the 18th century, who basically invented the modern Jesus wars, by postulating a gulf between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. I will conclude this review with Jenkins’s last sentence in the book – a statement at once provocative and inspiring: “A religion that is not constantly spawning alternatives and heresies has ceased to think and has achieved only the peace of the grave.” (p. 278), Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years, by Philip Jenkins (New York, NY: Harper One, 2010). He is also the Edwin Erle Sparks … Eastern and Western churches excommunicated each other and forbid shared communion. Any study of the history of Christianity will lead one to realize just what a human-constructed faith it is, and how detrimental it has been to the development of mature political and social structures since the Roman Empire. There is a wealth fo information, and the lists of figures and councils at the end of chapters was appreciated. Welcome back. As someone looking for more history than philosophy, this didn't work for me. Why would you describe the debate over the natures of Christ as a war? Paul exhorted the church in Ephesus, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years By Philip Jenkins Hardcover, 352 pages HarperOne John Philip Jenkins was born in Wales in 1952. However, when I saw that the Philip Jenkins is indeed an academic historian with serious credentials, I decided to give the book a read. Take one Muslim advocate for global jihad and put him in a room with one conservative Christian on a mission to evangelize the world's Muslims. In his conclusion he suggests that history shows us that it was the most unlikely doctrinal stances that remained to conquer the modern age. Share. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. In 1978, he obtained his doctorate in history, also from Cambridge. Probably because that's where my ancestors lived – my family comes from all over Italy, some were Italian Jews, most were Italian natives, and I always wonder who we were. hummm our current trend towa. 4.0 out of 5 starsHighly recommended. Egypt’s Coptic (Monophysite) church soon grew in power, however, and from 622 until 661 they ruled, while the Chalcedonian church receded. Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2018. Those who read it with only skepticism will miss his ending in which he understands that God works through our messy history. Stop your fighting—and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” (Psalm 46:9, 10 HCSB) This is clearly a … What ever the reader's interpretation, it is informative. Christian Movie Reviews Christian Blog and Commentary. He is also a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion. She became leader … of an extravagant cult devoted to Mary, and together with her following of virgins and holy women, she played a visible role in the public liturgies.” (p. 117-118). Primarily focused on the Christologies that divided the church multiple times (and yet still today), the author takes you on a convoluted, but well-articulated series of events. This eye-opening read that would have horrified Jesus might serve, if we let it, as a warning about the deadliness (and the soul deadening effects) of our very human attraction to the fun and righteous sport of intolerance. The complex issues of Christology are addressed comprehensively by mashing up the various theological councils from the fourth though seventh centuries and their resulting creeds. Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome were the “bounding triangle” of early Christianity; Constantinople, on the other hand, was a Christian community without a pagan past. It is the hope of Jenkin's that he can bring to light the bloodied and politically charged landscape that represented the actual reality of how the Church creeds developed. Eventually, the Muslim population outgrew the Christian communities, who were gradually subjected to discriminatory laws. In 449 AD Theodosius II summoned The Second Council of Ephesus, which was presided by Dioscuros of Alexandria. While it is good to learn about the post-First Council of Nicea history of the Catholic Church (back when “Catholic” meant basically everybody who was Christian), with all its colorful clerics, Emperors, Princesses and barbarians who affected the development of same, as well as the various Christian Heresies which read like hair-splitting on the sub-atomic level, I guess I was looking for more of a philosophical exploration of the ramifications of the Heresies themselves. This book talks about what happened after Constintine made Chritianity a legal religion within the Roman Empire and how it developed during the next 300 or 400 years. The Church of the East, which continued to follow Nestorianism, seceded, and grew in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia (places too far from imperial influence), and later Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, China, and India. It's all quite complicated and bloody, filled with armies of monks marauding across Europe and the Middle East, and all over philosophical differences so slight I can hardly keep them straight. Although the Council had reached a consensus, the Church was far from attainting unity. What we will see in that mirror is ourselves: our innermost thoughts and feelings about those who hold opposing views, our approach to dealing with divisive issues, our prudence in examining and resolving divergent views on what is the Biblical truth, and altogether our dearest beliefs as reflected in our practice. This is a vigorously objective account of the fifth century ecumenical church councils, with the primary emphasis on Chalcedon. In Jesus Wars, highly respected religious historian Philip Jenkins (The Next Christendom) reveals in bloody detail the fifth century battles over Christianity’s biggest paradox: the dual nature of Jesus Christ, as both fully human and fully divine. If one thinks about how the Church decided what was normative in belief at all, one imagines conferences with debate teams, with everyone working out their differences amicably. It rejected Dioscuros of Alexandria and the One Nature teaching, declared that Jesus had two natures (the hypostatic union of the divine and human), and attributed Mary the title of Mother of Christ (both of the human and divine incarnate Christ, but not of the eternal God). Jesus of Nazareth lays the best of foundations with its leisurely opening act, which takes its time establishing the cultural situation into which Jesus was born, along with various perspectives of who or what the Messiah would be. I skimmed forward and found that various battles, massacres, and historical personages do get page time, but it seems the book skips around in time a good deal and gets far more detailed in some areas than others. I wish there was some way I could know. He. Theology, however, was not the only, or perhaps not even the primary cause of this war. The term ‘Jesus Wars’ … Some formal unity was achieved in 433, after two years of reconciliatory negotiations. Nestorius, trained at Antioch, upheld the two natures of Christ (human and divine), which he believed existed in a conjunction (as opposed to a complete union). As this strange summer of staying put winds down, one thing remains truer than ever: Books offer us endless adventure and new horizons to... To see what your friends thought of this book, Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 years, Honestly, I struggled a bit to get through this. Instead, the Christian church was theologically and administratively divided into several international churches, each claiming absolute truth. Recent polls show younger evangelicals leaning to the left of their parents and grandparents, politically at least. (2010). The Christological aspect has practical implications as a devotional work for those who approach the book from the perspective of a practicing Christian - again such as myself. Jenkins does not himself press this perspective but seems to kindly welcome it enough that one may surmise this as his own perspective. Fiery preachers like John Chrysostom could inspire men to riot and careful reasoners like Cyril of Alexandria could twist a thought into a theological pretzel. Wow! 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