The Global Church—The First Eight Centuries

The Global Church—The First Eight Centuries

From Pentecost through the Rise of Islam

Donald Fairbairn
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  • 9780310132394
  • Digital Enhanced Edition
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  • May 25, 2021

  • Theology, Christian History

About the Authors

Donald Fairbairn

Donald Fairbairn

Ph.D., Cambridge

Donald Fairbairn is Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. His books include Grace and Christology in the Early Church, Life in the Trinity, and The Story of Creeds and Confessions.


Discover the Variety and Unity of the Early Church

The Christian church of the early centuries spread throughout much of Asia, Africa, and Europe, spoke many languages, was situated within diverse cultural settings, and had varied worship practices; yet it maintained a vital unity on core teachings at the heart of the Christian faith. In The Global Church--The First Eight Centuries: From Pentecost through the Rise of Islam, author Donald Fairbairn helps readers understand both the variety and unity of the church in this pivotal era by:

  • Re-centering the story of the church in its early centuries, paying greater attention to Africa, Turkey, and Syria, where most of the church's intellectual energy was nurtured
  • Highlighting Christian communities outside the Roman Empire, as far afield as Persia and India, alongside those within it
  • Identifying key events by their global, not merely Western, significance and taking into account early Christian interactions with other religions, particularly Islam

The Global Church—The First Eight Centuries is an ideal introduction to the patristic era that broadens the narrative often recounted and places it more firmly in its varied cultural contexts. Students of the early church, formal and informal alike, will appreciate the fresh approach and depth of insight this book provides.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

  • Preface

  • Acknowledgments

  • Timeline

  • Introduction

  • PART 1: The Church in the Pagan World (ca. 30–ca. 300)

  • 1. In the Fullness of Time: The World of the First Century
  • 2. To the Ends of the Earth: Early Christian Expansion
  • 3. Foreigners and Exiles: The Church and Its Surrounding Societies
  • 4. The Rhythms of Christian Life: Early Christian Worship and Practice
  • 5. A Long Obedience: Episcopacy, Creed, and Canon
  • 6. Confessing the One God: Early Heresies and Christian Doctrine
  • 7. The First Church Schism: Novatianism in the West

  • PART 2: The Christian Kingdoms prior to Islam (ca. 300–ca. 600)

  • 8. God and Country: The Rise of Christian Kingdoms
  • 9. Still Foreigners and Exiles: The Church in Realms That Did Not Become Christian
  • 10. The Second Church Schism: Donatism in Latin North Africa
  • 11. To the Desert: The Rise of Monasticism
  • 12. The Trinitarian Faith: From Crisis to Consensus
  • 13. For Us and for Our Salvation: Grappling with the Incarnation
  • 14. The Great Ancient Schisms: Christological Fracturing
  • 15. Drifting Apart: Prelude to Another Great Schism
  • 16. To the Ends of the Earth (Again): Monastic Missions

  • PART 3: Islam and the Church (ca. 600–ca. 800)

  • 17. The Crescent on the Horizon: The Rise of Islam
  • 18. Redrawing the Map: The Arab Conquests
  • 19. Unexpected Challenges: Christians in Muslim Societies
  • 20.Beyond the Reach of Islam: The Edges of the Christian World

  • Conclusion

  • For Further Reading

  • Subject Index

  • Index of Ancient Sources

  • Scripture Index


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