The Modern Scholar: From Jesus to Christianity: A History of the Early Church

  • by Thomas F. Madden
  • Narrated by Thomas F. Madden
  • 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Entrusting the apostles to continue the work he had started by instructing them to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit . . .," Jesus kindled the fires of a new religion in a world largely dominated by polytheism, cult leader worship, and mysticism. In the first century of its existence, Christianity was both welcomed and vilified throughout the Roman Empire. Many of Christianity's original adherents were martyred - murdered by those who believed it a danger to their authority or, at the very least, the cause of unrest among an otherwise docile populace.Christians themselves practiced their religion with great diversity, linked as much to local influences as theology. Political intrigue, theological beliefs, and simple misunderstandings created a need for dialogue between the many practitioners of the growing faith.Christianity's adoption as the official faith of the Roman state tied it inexorably to the fortunes of the Empire. This also helped to create a gulf between the two main theological branches of the religion, which remain to this day.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Initially I just dipped into this audiobook when I'd
finished others and was waiting for the next
download, but then I got hooked. The lecturer has a
rather hesitant style at first, probably because
it's quite difficult giving a lecture without faces
in front of you, but he does pick up.
The history covers from the time of the apostles up
to the seventh century when much of the Eastern
Roman empire fell. It talks about the organisation
of the church, why the church relied on apostolic
succession (to ensure continuity of the message),
the disputes about the nature of Jesus and the
rivalry of the various patriarchies.
There were a couple of points where I felt I wanted
more information. In an early lecture he refers to
which apostles were known to have gone to particular
places and which are later legends, but doesn't go
into the sources of the information.
In a much later lecture he touches on the Celtic
church, referring to it having been in Ireland and I
think mentions Scotland, but then moves immediately
to St Augustine's mission to Canterbury. There's no
suggestion that the Celtic church was not only well
established in the north of Britain, including
Northumbria, but was also sending missions out to
Europe. In fact when he refers to the Germanic
tribes as receiving missionaries he only talks of
those who came from Byzantium. I would have liked to
have known how influential the Celtic church was in
those missions as my understanding had been that a
lot of settlements in Germany and Switzerland owe
their names to Celtic saints.

Those are only minor quibbles and this is well worth
listening too.
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- Catriona

Rather dull

I have to disagree with the other review as I find TF Madden speach and ways most off-putting: his tone of voice was monotonous and lifeless as if he was really very tired and bored with the things he was saying, he speaks very slowly and with lost of 'ummmm' and 'ahhh' which meant that it took him for ever to finish a line of thought or story. As a result my attention wondered away constantly and it was a real effort not to get distracted. All in all a very dull experience.
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- Tout en chantant

Book Details

  • Release Date: 27-10-2008
  • Publisher: Recorded Books