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The Crucible of Christianity
The Forging of a World Faith
by Jonathan Hill
This is a pleasingly presented book, as you would expect from Lion, with a well illustrated clear text. Jonathan Hillís account of the first four centuries of Christianity moves at a pace. Chapters are subdivided into headed sections, each one opening a short but balanced critique of a particular aspect of the Christian story.
Hill, for example, explores available evidence to build up a picture of the uneasy relationship between Christianity and Judaism both before and after the fall of Jerusalem in AD70. He charts the growth of the Church, ascribing numbers that offer perspective where there has so often been just rose-tinted folklore. His account makes the survival of the Church seem even more amazing.
This book does not offer encyclopaedic depth, but what it does do is of value, giving complex issues a clarity that may be an eye-opener for the non-expert, and places the whole in a dependable chronology. It is certainly worth a space on hard-pressed bookshelves.
Reviewer: Paul Scott (09/06/10)