I recently read A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story, the latest book from Diana Butler Bass. Bass takes the reader on a jaunt through the history of the church from the first century right up to today dividing the years into: early, medieval, reformation, modern and contemporary Christianity. In each of these eras Bass examines the particularities of devotion and ethics that characterized the believers of that time. These are each illustrated through stories of Bass’ own life journey and through characters of history – some well known and others less known.
While I am familiar with some of the general themes of church history from my courses in seminary, I found this to be a quality refresher. Addressing devotion and ethics was a somewhat tedious, yet predominantly helpful, mechanism to move through thousands of years of history in one book. I particularly appreciated the attention to particular characters throughout time that sought to love God and their neighbor in their time and place.
I recommend this book to someone that is looking for an introduction to church history and is willing to engage in the stories of individuals. Bass is a quality church historian and writer.
One reply on “A People’s History of Christianity”
Sounds like a good book. I hope to check it out sometime!
If you are ever looking for something like this with more of a focus on the early church in particular, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought is an excellent book. I feel it’s one of the best introductions on this area out there. It seamlessly weaves the lives and thoughts and ethics of some of the more towering figures of the early church in and out of the various theological and political movements fomenting in their times. Here’s the link: