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Documents of the Christian Church

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This fully revised edition of Bettenson's widely acclaimed volume traces Christian history through the periods of the Fathers, the Church in the Roman Empire, the Creeds, Scholasticism, the Reformation, the Churches in Great Britain, and Roman Catholic pronouncements up to the eve of the Second Vatican Council.


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This fully revised edition of Bettenson's widely acclaimed volume traces Christian history through the periods of the Fathers, the Church in the Roman Empire, the Creeds, Scholasticism, the Reformation, the Churches in Great Britain, and Roman Catholic pronouncements up to the eve of the Second Vatican Council.

30 review for Documents of the Christian Church

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    It took me one year and three months, but I've finally finished this comprehensive survey of writings relating to the Christian Church that I bought for the Church History class I audited last Fall. Reading just a little bit at a time eventually adds up! This collection was originally compiled in 1943 and has been updated four times, most recently for this edition in 2011. It includes representative sections of key documents dating from the 1st century through the 21st, covering early It took me one year and three months, but I've finally finished this comprehensive survey of writings relating to the Christian Church that I bought for the Church History class I audited last Fall. Reading just a little bit at a time eventually adds up! This collection was originally compiled in 1943 and has been updated four times, most recently for this edition in 2011. It includes representative sections of key documents dating from the 1st century through the 21st, covering early Christianity, the Reformation, changes to denominations in the New World, Vatican II, ecumenism, liberation theology, and reactions of the modern church to racism, sexuality, LGBTQ congregants and ministers, and so much more. Each document gets a small introduction putting it into context, which was invaluable in allowing the reader to keep their bearings. It's an odd book in that you only get a page or two from any single document, and it attempts to fit in reactions of a score of denominations to a score of issues and conflicts, over 2000+ years. Still, the bite-sized chunks make this relatively easy to approach and what it loses in depth, it makes up in scope. As an archivist, I always like reading the original sources, and Bettenson and Maunder deliver.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brent McCulley

    A fantastic reference tool - Documents of the Christian Church runs through primary documents from ancient Catholic ecclesiastical ordinances and papal bulls, to Protestant confessions of faith. A great resource to have on the shelf, and a very insightful read. Any lover of church history should definitely book this one up. Brent McCulley

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Helpful selection of theological and political sources that have shaped the church and the world. I go back to it again and again, but some of the introductions need to be taken with a couple grains of salt.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Josiah Richardson

    A very comprehensive compilation of the past 2000 years of the history of Christianity, seen through the various Christian writers through that time. Broken down into both sections of periods of time as well as the major topics during those particular eras. The only downside to this book is that you often find yourself reading fragments and wondering if the context of both the writing and the sitz im leben is doing you justice in interpreting the fragments. This isn't the case for the whole book A very comprehensive compilation of the past 2000 years of the history of Christianity, seen through the various Christian writers through that time. Broken down into both sections of periods of time as well as the major topics during those particular eras. The only downside to this book is that you often find yourself reading fragments and wondering if the context of both the writing and the sitz im leben is doing you justice in interpreting the fragments. This isn't the case for the whole book as there are certainly large portions of selected writings that give a much better idea of what the writer was trying to say. Very helpful and informative.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Not a cover-to-cover book. But a delightful Saturday night / Sunday perusal for years. Got a copy at a yard sale. Later, gave it away to a good friend. Later, got another copy at another yard sale (after I had purchased the third edition, retail). Ha! God must really want me to have this old book!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alan Gerling

    I understand why it was needed to only include bits and pieces for this to be a manageable book, but more often than not, I had to go hunting for the original source so that it could be in context.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Crompton

    I found this book at a book sale a couple of days ago, and interrupted my reading of a novel to explore it. I didn't read it cover-to-cover (and it probably wasn't intended to be read that way), although I read some sections carefully. As someone who is interested in the Bible and its history, I was most interested in the earlier sections, the first non-Biblical writings to mention Christ and Christianity. After those pieces, the remainder of the book is mostly a history of doctrinal disputes, I found this book at a book sale a couple of days ago, and interrupted my reading of a novel to explore it. I didn't read it cover-to-cover (and it probably wasn't intended to be read that way), although I read some sections carefully. As someone who is interested in the Bible and its history, I was most interested in the earlier sections, the first non-Biblical writings to mention Christ and Christianity. After those pieces, the remainder of the book is mostly a history of doctrinal disputes, which brings into focus the fact that many of the doctrines which are now pretty much universally accepted by Christians - the Trinity, the nature and divinity of Jesus, and even what writings constitute divine scripture - were the subject of much debate and discussion during the first several centuries after Jesus' death. The now-accepted doctrines represent the beliefs of the winners in those debates. The losers often paid with their blood; the early church had no qualms about executing heretics.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    A useful collection of primary source documents for the study of church history. Although although almost all these primary sources are freely available online now, a collection like this is still useful in providing a thematic selection of the most relevant documents, and also for the excellent introductory paragraphs before every document. The twentieth century section was by necessity more selective and unfortunately seemed more influenced by Maunder's own convictions than the earlier A useful collection of primary source documents for the study of church history. Although although almost all these primary sources are freely available online now, a collection like this is still useful in providing a thematic selection of the most relevant documents, and also for the excellent introductory paragraphs before every document. The twentieth century section was by necessity more selective and unfortunately seemed more influenced by Maunder's own convictions than the earlier sections -- the selection was heavily weighted towards the official positions of the historic mainline denominations at the expense of less established Christian organisations. Little attention is given to evangelical perspectives.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Justin Rose

    This book is exactly what the title says it is, Documents of the Christian Church. Bettenson takes parts of important Christian documents. He also adds commentary, but wisely he uses that to give the reader settings to the documents. He does not intentionally try to persuade the reader, but he undoubtedly chooses his texts from an Anglican perspective.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wyatt Houtz

    Great resource. Dominated by Anglican sources.

  11. 4 out of 5

    John

    Essential for reference and a pleasure to browse. Bettenson's collection covers every period of church history with a judicious selection of documents.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Seth Channell

    Helpful collection of the documents of the Christian church. The last 100 pages not so enjoyable.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Woo. Nothing like reading primary sources for a good time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Levi

  15. 5 out of 5

    Esdras

  16. 4 out of 5

    Robert Leavitt

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ben Rice

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  19. 4 out of 5

    Smedly Yates

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  21. 5 out of 5

    Owen Kelly

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jared Cochrum

  23. 4 out of 5

    Adam Bowers

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  25. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Hendrickson

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rob Duford

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

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