Williston Walker - A History of the Christian Church Vol.1. PDF

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This is one of the most comprehensive and thorough single volume works of Christian Church History that I have ever read. Originally published in 1918 by Yale University's 'Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History,' Williston Walker, this work has been 'updated' or revised through the years by three Union Theological Seminary Professors based on new discoveries, insights, data, uncovered archaeological evidence, and historical discoveries.

The subsequent revised versions included a final section on 'Modern Christianity.' So much of what happen in the 20th century was added to later editions. The book is nicely divided into seven (VII) periods. These seven periods are:

Period I - The Beginnings to the Gnostic Crisis. This period covers the first two centuries of Christianity from Christ's time to the apologists ending in the second century.

Period II - From the Gnostic Crisis to Constantine. This is one of the better sections or 'Periods' marking the growth of the Church, the formation of Catholicism, and the development of theology.

Period III - The Imperial State Church. This section covers controversies which arose (Arianism, Pelagianism, etc.). It also covers the division which occurred between the East and the West, Augustine of Hippo, the Growth of the Papacy, etc.

Period IV - The Middle Ages to the Close of the Investiture Controversy. This section covers the expansion of Christianity into Europe, The Greek Church, the Papacy and the Ottoman Empire, and much more.

Period V - The Latter Medieval Ages. This is another excellent section covering the rise of Scholasticism and its thinkers (Anselm, Aquinas, etc.). The rise of Orders (Dominicans, Franciscans, etc.) The effects/theology of mysticism, Wyclif and Hus, and into the Italian Renaissance (and much more).


One of the best features of this work is the bibliography. The compilers have actually created a bibliography for every period mentioned above. So if the reader wants to do more specific research on any given period or thinker, there is a very detailed reference/bibliography section that is 21 pages long. This makes for excellent research sources and further study.

Overall, this work is very well balanced, very well written in such a short space. It covers nearly every detail from major to minor (with the exception of a few things that were left out that should have been included - e.g. Louis de Molina is not included, and thus Molinism is left out). It is quite easy to read, and is systematically put together in a nice chronological order (as history actually unfolded). - T. B. Vick

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