Review Of "Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, And Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe For The Next 1,500 Years" By P. Jenkins

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Jenkins (Penn State) offers a vivid and readable account of a crucial period in the history of Christian thought, the run-up to and consequences of the Council of Chalcedon (451 CE), where the now standard doctrine that Jesus was of two natures, human and divine, yet united in one person, was adopted. Jenkins gives readers a well-rounded picture of this multifaceted conflict, which involved not only theologians and church leaders but also members of the imperial family and court. Called in order to promote the unity of the Roman Catholic Church, the council failed to do so. It precipitated a series of civil wars that so weakened and divided the Roman Empire that it could not wholly stem the growing military power of Islam. Some sections of the empire actually welcomed their Islamic overlords, preferring civil rule to that of the Christian emperors. Jenkins is very illuminating on the history but less so on the theological intricacies. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.


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