Since 1980, he has taught at Penn State University, and currently holds the rank of Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of the Humanities. It is clearly not introductory level, but for anyone who has at least a small understanding of the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, this is an excellent source to read a fairly thorough history all in one volume. While Jenkins is most comfortable with the theology, he is clearer in the socio-political context of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Centuries. If one thinks about how the Church decided what was normative in belief at all, one imagines conferences with debate teams, with everyone working out their differences amicably. While it is good to learn about the post-First Council of Nicea history of the Catholic Church (back when “Catholic” meant basically everybody who was Christian), with all its colorful clerics, Emperors, Princesses and barbarians who affected the development of same, as well as the various Christian Heresies which read like hair-splitting on the sub-atomic level, I guess I was looking for more of a philosophical exploration of the ramifications of the Heresies themselves. What struck me was just how violently Christians attacked one another over the smallest variation in whatever was the "orthodox" view of the moment. I love reading history. For the union … of two natures has been accomplished.” (p. 160), Pope Leo of Rome, through the skilled Tome, provided overwhelming arguments for the two natures of Christ. He also has a sense of humor that peeps out on occasion "In any theological struggle, the first thousand years are always the bitterest.". The Egyptians manifested a strong tendency to dismiss anything that Two Natures theologians preached, and if a stereotype was attached to a name, nothing that person preached was perceived as good or theologically correct. Primarily focused on the Christologies that divided the church multiple times (and yet still today), the author takes you on a convoluted, but well-articulated series of events that are defined as fortunate or unfortunate, depending on which side you fall (or, you could chalk it up to "providence", if that's your preference). As someone looking for more history than philosophy, this didn't work for me. ... It’s been ten years since the last Star Wars movie ... Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a … Gives an "insider look" at the issues and personalities involved, at the forces that shaped and determined the outcome, that gav. These concepts may seem trivial or overly academic. If you're truly interested in the antecedents of Christianity, and you're willing to put up with numerous pages arguing about whether Jesus had a mom, then this is the book for you. It is quite fitting that Rogue One was released so close to Christmas as the parallels between the Christmas Story and the Star Wars story seem so similar — minus the violence of course. However, when I saw that the Philip Jenkins is indeed an academic historian with serious credentials, I decided to give the book a read. I learned a ton about Christology from this book - that is the study of the nature of Christ for all you non-theologians like myself. Of course a quick glance at the appendix reveals a larger list of characters who are inevitably enveloped in this historical narrative (and one should reserve the need to access this appendix often if they are to make their way through to the end of this somewhat disorganized material). Jenkins covers a huge amount of information that I cannot keep straight without referencing the material. Jenkins shows us why loyalty to, say, Monophysite ideas could inspire violence, treason and martyrdom. Choice. That, probably, was the level at which the baker and the money changer carried on their debates.” (p. 66). Meanwhile, Rey, the heroic female fighter from Part VII, tries to convince Luke Skywalker to train her in the ways of the Force. Jenkins discusses the Christological debates leading up to the Chalcedon Creed and beyond; the book centers around the fifth century. While the subject matter may seem to be a rebuff to religion in general pointing to violence engendered by debates over transcendent subjects, the distillation actually produces a potent brew of providential governance for those who view the subject through faith filled eyes. The title is self explanatory: Jenkin's is looking to show how 9 people (Patriarchs, Queens and Emperors) decided what sort of Christian doctrine would win out in the end as the world moved towards our current age. Wow! Probably because that's where my ancestors lived – my family comes from all over Italy, some were Italian Jews, most were Italian natives, and I always wonder who we were. She loves God and enjoys nature, arts, and meaningful conversation. Sunday Salon – Review of “Jesus Wars” by Philip Jenkins. Unfortunately, this did not settle matters, and it took another couple hundred years where the two views see-sawed in dominance and bishops met at several more councils before the Two Nature belief triumphed. Popes, patriarchs, abbots and Princes contested for the reputation of their cities and their holy places. Philip Jenkins, a noted scholar of historical and religious studies and professor at Penn State University, examines the political conflicts … But the death the following year of the Eastern emperor, Theodosius II, who believed the One Nature account, and the support of Pope Leo, among others, led to the Council of Chalcedon where the creed of the 4th century councils at Nicaea and Constantinople were affirmed. This is a nice back door way to get some basic theology while ostensibly reading history. Compared to the Old Testament, the Koran is almost a hippy-dippy text.) Philip Jenkins is a reputed church historian whose books are a pleasure to read. In the plethora of current works on non-orthodox early movements from the likes of excellent scholars such Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagel (plus the absurd novels of Dan Brown and his imitators, which I shutter to mention in the same sentence), there has been precious little recent consideration of the establishment of Christian orthodoxy from a historical perspective. The author of Jesus Wars, Peter Jenkins, who is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, … One of the striking aspects of this conflict, as Jenkins points out, was its resemblance to religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries and to the religious battles in contemporary Asia, especially the Muslim insurgencies against American occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 1980, he has taught at Penn State University, and currently holds the rank of Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of the Humanities. The behavior of Christians of this era was like that of radical Muslims of today. Take one Muslim advocate for global jihad and put him in a room with one conservative Christian on a mission to evangelize the world's Muslims. The Christological aspect has practical implications as a devotional work for those who approach the book from the perspective of a practicing Christian - again such as myself. The Christian patriarchate in Egypt acted almost as a theocracy, asserting its authority over the civil sphere when the latter was seen as contradicting the divine will. Focusing on the seven critical ecumenical councils of the Church, the events leading up to & surrounding each of them, and the key persons involved in forging this history (and its evolving theologies). Star Wars: The Last Jedi may be the most polarizing episode in the saga yet. I just finished this book. The rivalry between Pulcheria and Nestorius benefitted Cyril of Alexandria, who fiercely defended the Monophysite view that Christ had only one nature—divine. Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2018. The struggle over this controversy contributed to the downfall of the eastern empire (the western empire had already dissolved by 476) as it helped, along with constant barbarian invasions, exhaust the empire’s resources and energy to defend against the Islamic attack in the 7th century. At work were cultural aspects too. Those who read it with only skepticism will miss his ending in which he understands that God works through our messy history. Ironically, only one pope was able to exert much influence on the debate, Leo the Great, and even he was kept on the sideline at the infamous Council of Gangsters of 449 in Ephesus. I admit that I was extremely skeptical when I first saw it, assuming it to be some sort of modern nonsense on how Constantine created Christianity or something like that. Dr. Jenkins includes maps at the beginning and several appendices that list the dramatis personae, briefly explain the outcomes of the several councils, and defin. These patriarchates were involved in very heated debates regarding the nature of Christ, the Trinity, and the nature of Mary, the mother of Christ? To a more objective reader it appears that the evidence for Christ’s divinity is pretty thin, and that makes the struggle for asserting his alleged true identity even more tragic. His talent in story-telling makes this book easy to read, yet still provokes us to place our world in a world full of disputations. March 9th 2010 This eye-opening read that would have horrified Jesus might serve, if we let it, as a warning about the deadliness (and the soul deadening effects) of our very human attraction to the fun and righteous sport of intolerance. Start by marking “Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 years” as Want to Read: Error rating book. I am absolutely fascinated with the Roman Empire. I will conclude this review with Jenkins’s last sentence in the book – a statement at once provocative and inspiring: “A religion that is not constantly spawning alternatives and heresies has ceased to think and has achieved only the peace of the grave.” (p. 278), Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years, by Philip Jenkins (New York, NY: Harper One, 2010). I wish I could take half a star: first, the author only balks about the violence and tyranny involved in the Christological debates, not at the idolatry and superstition already constituting a kind of Christopaganism usually associated with latter Dark Age; second, he ends up commemorating Chalcedon without telling us if its (kinda) triumph was better than the alternatives, and why. It is exciting. He does so by acknowledging the Christian struggles of the first threee centuries (when the question was whether Jesus was divine), and some of the consequences of those centuries (too briefly mentioning the relation between non-orthodox Christians and Islam in. (Interestingly, he points out that there are far more references in the Old Testament to justified killing and even genocide than exhortation to violence in the Koran. Theodosius I declared Christianity the official religion of the empire, and enforced religious conformity. September 1, 2010. Although the Council had reached a consensus, the Church was far from attainting unity. It is the hope of Jenkin's that he can bring to light the bloodied and politically charged landscape that represented the actual reality of how the Church creeds developed. It was Reimarus, writing in the 18th century, who basically invented the modern Jesus wars, by postulating a gulf between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. I can't praise Philip Jenkins enough! Originally published in Themelios Volume 36, Issue 1, May 2011. For example, the Egyptians “followed the kind of religious approach that was familiar and customary in their church [….] Many educated Westerners have a vague memory that there were councils that produced creeds and definitions and edicts, but most have little understanding of the processes, personalities, and agendas that so greatly shaped Christianity and therefore much of the world's culture. I appreciated the endnotes and appendices that summarize various ecumenical councils, the leading players, and the various gradations of interpretation of the supposed relationship between Jesus and the Hebrew god (or how does one put it). It seems that one faction's heresies are another faction's orthodoxies.