Introduction

Christianity has a vast reservoir of resources for shaping life and death. Like most religions it is more capacious and flexible than a philosophical system, and works not only with abstract concepts but with vivid stories, striking images, resonant symbols, and life-shaping rituals. It appeals to heart and senses as well as mind, and offers a range of prompts and provocations for guiding and shaping the lives of individuals and societies. There are nevertheless limits to what can count as...

Oxford

Great Clarendon Street, Oxford 0x2 6dp Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide in Auckland Cape Town Dar es Salaam Hong Kong Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Nairobi New Delhi Shanghai Taipei Toronto With offices in Argentina Austria Brazil Chile Czech Republic France Greece Guatemala Hungary Italy Japan South Korea Poland Portugal...

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Jeremiah, Book of 72 Jerusalem 10 Jesuits 83 Jesus Christ 10, 14, 34 appearance of 30-1, 34 and Biblical Christianity 70 and Charismatic Christianity 106 divine status of 12-13, 14-15, 18-19, 20, 22, 30-1, 34, 54-6 earliest written sources for 9 early Christian image of 21 female devotion to 138-40 fulfilled prophecy 13-14 hierarchical position of 44, 48 and the Holy Spirit 43 humanization of 32-4 idealization of 34 interpretations of 6-7, 15-23 life as model for monasticism 82 ministry amonst...

Further reading

For a fuller treatment of themes touched on in this book, see Linda Woodhead, An Introduction to Christianity (Cambridge, 2004) Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead, The Spiritual Revolution Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality (Oxford, 2005) E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus (London, 1993) Dominic Crossan, Jesus A Revolutionary Biography (San Francisco, 1995) Paula Friedrikson, From Jesus to Christ The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus (Yale, 1988) Walter Bauer,...

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Pacifism 69 paganism 53, 59 Palamas, Gregory 80 Palestine 15 papacy 58, 62, 64 Syllabus of Errors, The 92-3 parables 6 paradise 25, 31, 44 parishes 60 paternalism 61-2, 133-4 Patriarch of Constantinople 113 patriarchy 51, 66, 68, 142 patronage 53, 59, 114 Paul, St 9, 17, 19-20, 65, 136 claim of special responsibility 49 Jesus' divinity 14 letter to the Galatians 22 mystical tendencies of 72-3 on women's subordination 129 Peace of Westphalia (1648) 68 penance 39 Pentecost 10, 59 Pentecostal...

Source material

Statisfied information cited in this book is derived from 1. My own research in Kendal, Cumbria, with Paul Heelas and others. See Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead, The Spiritual Revolution Why Religion is Giving way to Spirituality (Oxford 2003). 2. David Barrett, George Kurian, and Todd Johnson, World Christian Encyclopedia, 2nd edn (New York, 2001). 3. The statistical surveys and publications of Peter Brierley. See, for example Peter Brierley The Tide is Running Out What the English Church...

Christianity beyond the West

At exactly the same time that Christianity went into serious decline in the West it entered a phase of rapid growth in the southern hemisphere. By the last quarter of the 20th century, Charismatic Christianity had become one of the fastest growing forms of religion in the world, second only to resurgent Islam. Like the latter, its success has tended to be greatest in areas that had formerly been under Western colonial control. Before examining this latest phase in Christian history, this...

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Rationalism 92, 98, 104 Reformation 34, 63-6, 66-7, 86, 134, 137 Reformed Presbyterian Church see Presbyterianism Reiki 105 religious education 95 religious tolerance 52 Renaissance 32-4 repentance 27 Revelation, Book of 15 Roman Catholic Church 46, 61, 66, 90, 101, 104 art 34 French Revolution 91-2 globalization of 124 H and Liberation Theology 123-4 g missionaries 116-17 monasticism 140 opposition to women's ordination 141 post-war modernization of 100 sacraments of 39 salvation in 30 schism...

Conclusion

This book has attempted to profile some of the main types and characteristics of Christianity, and to indicate how they have contributed to its growth and decline at different times and in different places. The main thrust of its argument has been that Christianity developed an early preference for power from on high, particularly the power of 'fathers', which was strengthened through alliance with political regimes and social orders that shared this preference. This orientation served the...

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...

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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...