The Formation of Christendom

The Formation of Christendom In a lucid history of what used to be termed the Dark Ages Judith Herrin outlines the origins of Europe from the end of late antiquity to the coronation of Charlemagne She shows that the clash betwee

  • Title: The Formation of Christendom
  • Author: Judith Herrin
  • ISBN: 9780691008318
  • Page: 472
  • Format: Paperback
  • In a lucid history of what used to be termed the Dark Ages, Judith Herrin outlines the origins of Europe from the end of late antiquity to the coronation of Charlemagne She shows that the clash between nascent Islam and stubburn Byzantium was the central contest that allowed Europe to develop, and she thereby places the rise of the West in its true Mediterranean conteIn a lucid history of what used to be termed the Dark Ages, Judith Herrin outlines the origins of Europe from the end of late antiquity to the coronation of Charlemagne She shows that the clash between nascent Islam and stubburn Byzantium was the central contest that allowed Europe to develop, and she thereby places the rise of the West in its true Mediterranean context Her inquiry centers on the notion of Christendom Instead of taking medieval beliefs for granted or separating theology from politics, she treats the faith as a material force In a path breaking account of the arguments over Christian doctrine, she shows how the northern sphere of the Roman world divided into two distinct and self conscious imperial units, as the Arabs swept through the southern regions.One of the most interesting strands of the author s argument concerns religious art and iconoclasm Her book shows how the impact of Islam s Judaic ban on graven images precipitated both the iconoclast crisis in Constantinople and the West s unique commitment to pictorial narrative, as justified by Pope Gregory the Great.

    One thought on “The Formation of Christendom”

    1. I had chosen this book hoping for something a little different from what I have. Not Dr. Herrin's fault, mind you, but I am interested in the rise of Christianity as a civil religion and, by the time that the book starts, that was pretty established. What Dr. Herrin discusses is, largely, the rise of the ecclesiastical supports for the Latin West. She does it through a learned and interesting consideration of the Byzantine East and of Islam's influence, but the culmination of the book is Charlem [...]

    2. I lost the book for at least a week. It was hard to "find" where I was in the book--not in terms of what page I was on but to recall what Herrin had covered and where she was. It is a very thorough and well-researched book. The thoroughness might make for boredom in someone with minimal knowledge of the field. It was hard going for me even though I've read other books on the topic. The most interesting thing for me was the extensive discussion of the split between Rome and Byzantium and Herrin's [...]

    3. You have to admire Ms. Herrin's careful and resourceful scholarship about an era that is shrouded in mystery. Herrin focuses on the transistion from "late antiquity" to the early middle ages, aka from about 550 AD to 850 AD. She is specifically concerned with answering the question of "what makes western europe different?" Her answer is that western is europe is unique in its division of power between temporal and spiritual authority (i.e. church and state). Does her answer sound familiar? Herri [...]

    4. A beautifully structured account of the transition from Late Antiquity to the early Medieval era. Rather than give separate histories of the rise of the papacy, the evolution of Byzantium, and the establishment of the Carolingian Empire, Herrin synthesizes these movements and shows how their interrelationships formed post-Roman Europe. For example, she discusses how rivalry between iconoclasts and iconophiles in the east helped drive the Pope and Charlemagne into an alliance that broke the hold [...]

    5. A big fat intimidating scholarly book, but not a bad read if you're interested in late Classical and Dark Age history. It gives a narrative history of the development of the Church and of a more or less common but divided Christian community in Europe and Asia Minor from Constantine to the mid-ninth century. Major themes: the growing influence of the Bishop of Rome, especially after the fall to the Arabs of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria, three of the five trditionally preeminent sees of ant [...]

    6. Judith Herrin has an uncanny ability to make history come to life, exciting, and informative all at the same time. She explore the early church's origin and explain the etymology of many canon christian now take for granted. Quite a bit seems to me to be more political driven doctrines rather than divine. But then again, that's why it's called faith Suggestion, a good follow up read after this one is her: "Byzantium: The Surprise Life of a Medieval Empire".

    7. This book traces the foundations of Christendom, illustrating the transition from the Roman Empire to its inheritors (Byzantium, the Christian West and Islam). It offers in depth insight into the iconoclastic controversies that shook the Orthodox and Catholic communions. It is a fine grained description of the many Popes, Patriarchs and Kings who inhabited the time between the Empire and the stabilization of Western Institutions. Very well done.

    8. I found this a fascinating book. Herrin very skilfully looks at the interaction between culture, state forms and religion to trace how 'Western Christendom', the world of Islam and Eastern Christianity emerged out of the Roman Ecumene. I am somewhat surprised that her text, which I think has important implications far beyond church history, is not better known.

    9. A superb history of early medieval Christianity written by a non-believer, materialist, and secular scholar of the first rank. Sets a standard for rigorous and cosmopolitan appraisal of Christianity, and shows how utterly wrong and provincial most Anglo-American protestant narratives of early Christianity are.

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