Modern Christianity the West

Having considered the unfolding of Christianity in its several varieties, we are now in a position to consider its interactions with modernity. For Christianity there have really been two modernities. In cultural terms, the first was inaugurated by the Enlightenment of the 18th century, which gave new authority to human reason and the freedom to exercise it. Socio-economically it was characterized by the rise of urban-industrial society and politically by the rise of nation states governed by...

Christianity

Christianity A Very Short Introduction Very Short Introductions available now Very Short Introductions are for anyone wanting a stimulating and accessible way in to a new subject. They are written by experts, and have been published in more than 25 languages worldwide. The series began in 1995, and now represents a wide variety of topics in history, philosophy, religion, science, and the humanities. Over the next few years it will grow to a library of around 200 volumes - a Very Short...

A womans religion

The preceding chapters have made passing reference to the prominent place of women in Christian history. We have noted their presence in the earliest Christian communities, in movements of mystical and monastic piety, in the upheavals of Reformation, in modern missionary work. In the contemporary West women outnumber men by a ratio of three to two in most churches, and though there is little research on this topic, the ratio may be similar in the southern hemisphere. Our final task in exploring...

Ua

The deeper the sin of Adam, the higher the triumph of a Christ. 'O felix culpa ' exclaims the Latin Mass of the Roman S Catholic Church, 'oh happy sin which has received as its reward 1 so great and so good a redeemer'. For a Christianity of higher power, the saviour was quickly exalted high above the human n condition - and has remained there ever since. Despite amp clear doctrinal insistence that he is 'very God and very man' see Chapter 3 , his divinity has tended to eclipse and...

The signs and symbols of Christianity

Death Medieval Depiction

The previous chapter introduced Christianity by sketching the range of ways in which Jesus was first understood and interpreted. This chapter continues the introductory task by offering a brief overview of how the Christian ritual and symbolic universe developed on the basis of these foundations - in particular, how it developed around the orthodox vision of the unique God-man. What is presented here is very much an 'ideal type' - a generalization arrived at by singling out features common to...

Mystical Christianity

Whereas the previous chapter considered the development of the main types of Christianity orientated around higher power, this chapter looks at the development of a type of Christianity that is more orientated around power from within, and which may be referred to as 'Mystical Christianity'. Though God may still be worshipped as Father and Son, the Holy Spirit is more likely to be prominent in mystical forms of Christianity. And though the Christian mystic may agree that God is revealed in the...

Jesus the Godman

At first sight the figure of Jesus Christ might seem to serve as a focus of unity for the Christian faith. Whatever else they might disagree about, Christians are at least united in believing that Jesus has a unique significance. Look more closely, however, and it becomes apparent that this focus of unity can also be a cause of division. Though Christians agree that Jesus is significant, they may interpret his significance differently. Despite the strenuous attempts that have continually been...

Church and Biblical Christianity

Symbols Victory Christianity

This chapter considers in more detail how a mode of Christianity orientated around higher power became dominant. Covering the period from the 4th century to the dawn of the modern period, it traces the development of the two most important manifestations of such Christianity - what can be called 'Church Christianity' and 'Biblical Christianity'. Church Christianity has had the most extensive influence over the longest period of all types of Christianity. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the...