Perry Glanzer's Restoring the Soul of the University wins an award of merit in @CTmagazine's 2018 book awards https://t.co/WvdRJTF74r
The First Sexual Revolution https://t.co/OdiQGHPoHc Kyle Harper, @firstthingsmag
Reinventing Christianity After Rome https://t.co/ROS6pJWmXf Philip Jenkins @anxious_bench
Dec. 2017 issue of Baylor ISR Religion Watch now available https://t.co/C1D5hXsLaI
Were Christian Missionaries Good for Liberal Democracy? https://t.co/8EdIbBbS42 @abcreligion on the work of ISR's Robert Woodberry
Reconciling Deism and Puritanism in Benjamin Franklin https://t.co/4w0AHonOaR Thomas Kidd, @yalepress
Baylor History Professor Earns Top Recognition for Book on Benjamin Franklin https://t.co/KlYBbMSUQh @BaylorUMedia @yalepress
Why people still speak Guaraní https://t.co/FZBQ94XkcE Philip Jenkins via @ChristianCent
Martin Luther: Last of the Medievals or First of the Moderns? - Carl Trueman at #BaylorSFC conference https://t.co/kDlDrjtrzs @BaylorIFL

KIRKUS review: THE MANY FACES OF CHRIST by Philip Jenkins

Kirkus

KIRKUS REVIEW

Jenkins (History, Institute for the Studies of Religion/Baylor Univ.; The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade, 2014, etc.) attacks the current mainstream view of church history, which posits the disappearance of competing Christian literature due to early repression by the established orthodoxy.

faces2Many of these documents—such as the Gnostic gospels—have seen a recent resurgence in popularity, having been “hidden” or “lost” for centuries. The author pointedly argues that this view of competing documents is entirely mythic. Quite the contrary, many circulated well into the Middle Ages and beyond, often influencing otherwise thoroughly orthodox Christians. Among other issues Jenkins identifies with current historical analysis, he notes a tendency toward ethnocentrism in viewing Christian history: “When we tell the Christian story in any era on only a European scale—rather, with a West European, Catholic focus—we miss a very large part of the story.” Indeed, the author looks at a wide geographical range in his exploration of alternative Christian texts, especially Slavonic texts from Bulgaria and beyond and texts from Muslim-dominated regions. Jenkins introduces readers to texts preserved across the entirety of Christendom, from Ireland to Armenia. In the case of Gnosticism, Jenkins demonstrates that this heresy was not snuffed out or chased into hiding by the early church, but instead, it survived and flourished for centuries in Eastern Europe, culminating in the Albigensians in the 1200s. He also points out that some noncanonical texts went on to influence what we may see as traditional Western European Christianity—namely, those connected to Mary Magdalene and Mary the Mother of Jesus. Jenkins discusses the full spectrum of early, noncanonical literature, which, though heretical by official church standards, circulated and influenced believers for centuries. More than a well-argued rebuttal against prevailing academic viewpoints, the author also presents a worthwhile companion reference for lay students of Christian history.

A worthy broadside aimed at revisionist Christian historians that provides a sorely needed counterpoint to the prevailing and largely unquestioned conventional wisdom regarding early Christian history.

Reposted from KIRKUS REVIEW