• by Diarmaid MacCulloch
  • Narrated by Walter Dixon
  • 46 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Once in a generation, a historian will redefine his field, producing a book that demands to be read and heard - a product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill. Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity is such a book. Breathtaking in ambition, it ranges back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and covers the world, following the three main strands of the Christian faith.
Christianity will teach modern listeners things that have been lost in time about how Jesus' message spread and how the New Testament was formed. We follow the Christian story to all corners of the globe, filling in often neglected accounts of conversions and confrontations in Africa and Asia. And we discover the roots of the faith that galvanized America, charting the rise of the evangelical movement from its origins in Germany and England. This audiobook encompasses all of intellectual history - we meet monks and crusaders, heretics and saints, slave traders and abolitionists, and discover Christianity's essential role in driving the enlightenment and the age of exploration, and shaping the course of World War I and World War II.
We are living in a time of tremendous religious awareness, when both believers and non-believers are deeply engaged by questions of religion and tradition, seeking to understand the violence sometimes perpetrated in the name of God. The son of an Anglican clergyman, MacCulloch writes with deep feeling about faith. His last book, The Reformation, was chosen by dozens of publications as Best Book of the Year and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. This awe-inspiring follow-up is a landmark new history of the faith that continues to shape the world.


What the Critics Say

"Assuming no previous knowledge on the part of readers about Christian traditions, MacCulloch traces in breathtaking detail the often contentious arguments within Christianity for the past 3,000 years. His monumental achievement will not soon be surpassed." (Publishers Weekly)
"A work of exceptional breadth and subtlety." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I was hoping for a scholarly work, to shed some light on an area that I am lacking, but the work is so biased that it is beyond insulting. I am very upset that I wasted a credit on something so one sided. In this book, only a fraction of the history of early Christianity is being portrayed, and that is the side that discredits the entire belief system, aggravated by negative editorial comments.

The most recent part I listened to, being just one of hundreds of derogatory biased statements, was to the effect that Constantine ordered 50 copies of the bible to be made, which required 5,000 cow hides, this fact followed by a quip "so much for Christian dissaproval of animal sacrifice." I would think this was funny if it were in a backroom conversation, but find it inappropriate in a 'history' text.

If you are hoping, as I was, for a neutral rendition of history, you will have to look to another source. Too bad Audible doesn't give a refund for books like this.
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- David Danielson

Detailed, expansive, and memorable

MacCulloch uses a huge canvas for this book: all continents, all times, and (if there weren't so many of them) you could say all sects and denominations as well. The book is a remarkably good listen, considering the amount of detail it includes, a tribute to Walter Dixon's steady pace and his clear and pleasing voice. Because Christianity has been so tightly bound with the West for the last 2000 years, it becomes in places a "Western world history" as well.

One of the hardest areas of Christian history to grasp is the centuries-long debate about the nature of the Trinity, and its equally long-lasting partner, the debate about the exact nature of Christ. (Human? Divine? Both? If both, what percentage of each, and how mixed or not mixed?) It's a story of determined attempts to fashion a creed and equally determined attempts to resist credal formulations. MacCulloch navigates this territory well, giving plenty of time to each viewpoint and noting that many of the viewpoints, assumed by many Christians to be long dead, are in fact alive and thriving in one or another sect to the present day.

MacCulloch is writing as a friendly outsider, which pretty well sums up my position as a listener. His attempts to describe Christianity's romance with temporal power, and its frequent turning of a blind eye to social injustice, may offend some people. My own impression is that his account is balanced and largely non-judgemental. Highly recommended.
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- Tad Davis

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-30-2010
  • Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC