How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years
A top historian of religion reveals in bloody detail the fifth century battles over Christianity's biggest paradox-Jesus is both fully human and fully God.
Over the last two thousand years, Christians have repeatedly struggled to resolve the tension between two seemingly rival claims: Jesus was fully human and yet fully divine.
Never was it more central to Christianity than during the Church Councils of the fifth century, when for a few years it seemed very likely-almost inevitable, in fact - that the Church might formally abandon its belief in the humanity of Jesus and describe him solely as a being fully divine.
The struggles within the Roman Empire over these issues are breathtaking, and involve a galaxy of incredible characters, both in the imperial family and the church: backstairs conspiracies and court factions abound, as do riots and rebellions. The story culminates in a full-scale civil war that tears the empire apart for decades over the core question of the nature of Jesus Christ.
In The War For Christ's Humanity, Jenkins tells the fascinating, violent story of the Church's fifth century battles over "right belief" that had a far greater impact on the future of Christianity and the world than the much-touted Council of Nicea convened by Constantine a century before.
- FRESH MATERIAL ON POPULAR TOPIC: Battles over right belief in the early centuries of Christianity - and the Roman Empire's involvement in the shaping of orthodoxy - are of perennial interest. Jenkins' reveals how all sides of the theological battles in the 5th century had blood on their hands, effectively angering both liberal and conservative Christians today.
- TOP SCHOLAR: A professor at Penn State University, Philip Jenkins has impeccable credentials and is highly regarded as a leading scholar of religious history. While his claims may be controversial, they will be taken seriously.
- MEDIA MAGNET: Jenkins' work has been featured cover story of The Atlantic (1st serial), he writes and blogs regularly for The Boston Globe, The New Republic, is a sought-after religion expert by the Wall Street Journal, and regularly covered in key Christian publications such as Christianity Today.
---Readers of Jared Diamond, Karen Armstrong, N.T. Wright, Elaine Pagels, and Alister McGrath
---Fans of Christian history and early Christianity