An Introduction to Christianity examines the key figures, events and ideas of two thousand years of Christian history and places them in context. It considers the religion in its material as well as its spiritual dimensions and explores its interactions with wider society such as money, politics, force, gender and the family, and non-Christian cultures and societies.
This Introduction places particular focus on the ways in which Christianity has understood, embodied and related to power. It shows how the Church's long-standing love affair with 'higher power', both human and divine, has been repeatedly challenged by alternative ideas of of 'power from below', both sacred and secular.
Finally, by bringing the history of Christianity right up-to-date, this book explores the ways in which churches of both North and South react to the rise of modern democracy.
Comprehensive and accessible, this book will appeal to the student and general reader.
About the Author
Linda Woodhead is a Senior Lecturer in Christian Studies at Lancaster University. She has written extensively on Christianity, culture and society. Recent edited books include Peter Berger and the Study of Religion (2001), Religions in the Modern World (2002), Predicting Religion (2003, with Grace Davie and Paul Heelas) and Congregational Studies in the UK (2004, with Matthew Guest and Karin Tusting).
Linda Woodhead combines theology and social history to create the most marvellously detailed study of Christianity and its followers. Woodhead traces the origins of Christianity, which can be said to pre-date Christ by many years, and shows what shaped the religion that we know today. She is especially perceptive in examining the role of the Christian Church in influencing and exercising power. Not all the Church's motivations, let alone its actions, have been edifying. The spiritual aspects of Christianity are set alongside the material and social events of 2000 years while looking at how the religion has interacted with the wider society. Such things as politics, violence and gender issues have all played significant parts in the development of the religion. The book is written in an immediately captivating way that peels away any suggestion of dullness from its subject. You don't have to be familiar with the Bible to enjoy this.(Kirkus UK)