Wanting book on historical background on denominations

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Sam
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Wanting book on historical background on denominations

Post by Sam »

I am not wanting this to turn into a thread on religion. I am reading a book entitled "Pagan Christianity" and it has given some insights into the history of why Christians have the buildings and things in worship that they do. I have always been drawn to Greek and Roman mythology and early times, and the architecture. If I could I would love to study why cities have developed why they did, and why certain neighborhoods were laid out like they were (grid design for example) and why certain styles dominated during certain periods - not sure what Bryzantine period meant, but they touch on it in the book I read.

So, in the book, it talks about the 'Eastern" church and reformation times. I know there is Greek Orthodox and in some ways, it is like the Catholic church. I read that Constantine decree Sundays as the day of worship, and there are some religions that worship on Saturday, as I believe 7th Day Adventists do. I would like to find a book that talks about Church history and how one denomination started and/or broke away from an established church and why it believes what it does.
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maskaggs
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Post by maskaggs »

Sam, check Wikipedia for starters - look around "Christianity" in general, and you can look at the individual denominations' entries. More importantly, there should be some links and citations and the bottom to give you more reading options - book, articles, etc. that go into greater detail.

Check out WorldCat, an online catalog system, and do some general searches like "History of Christianity."

I know you were looking for specific titles, but I can't think of anything off the top of my head that branches much beyond Catholicism. KAV might be a good resource - what doesn't that guy know a thing or two about? :lol:
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Post by changabang »

There's also the "Handbook of Denominations in the US", by Frank S. Mead.
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Post by KAV »

I'm at the library- terrible place to reference my own collection :lol:
I wouldn't look for any one tome. Very briefly; the earliest church was formed after winning out over many 'heresies' through a series of councils with the Nicean the most profound.
The roman church suffered a schism with the other 'orthodox' churches ( there are national orthodox churches like the greek and the ancient patriarchs all are 'orthodox' and one church. ) The events leading to the break are an interesting read. The coptic church is rooted in the teachings of Mark.
The next 'break' was the political breach of Henry VIII with Rome and the establishment of the anglican church. All of these churches are called 'high church' out of human arrogance and other cultural flags.
The Reformation of Luther brought about protestantism.
There are many churches that could be argued to be apostate if not cults.
I left my beloved anglican church when the new, female gay priest anounced she was also a moslem. :?
I like to take one denomination at a time for study. The history; both temporal and spiritual and it's impact on modern culture are fascinating.
To experience methodism ( ie) one must also simply attend a few services.
And then there is lutheran casserole. :shock:
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Sam
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Post by Sam »

KAV, that book I am reading talked about high church and Gregory and even how Plato had an effect on worship service. I understand that in more recent times, one church breaks away over some issue, and the book I am reading started talking about how Luther took issue with sacraments in the Catholic realm and kept the order of the liturgy and many things, but only had the baptism and the Lord Supper remaining as a sacrament. I read about the Calvins and Puritans and also how Wesley interacted.

The book I am reading talks about how some of what we do as Christians is not rooted in scripture but may have looked to Greeks, Romans, Pagans and other religions and institutions for things such as church building, vestments, things like that.

I suspected that I may have to read several books. I do not want to get too in depth but at least a historical perspective and a basic understanding of tenet differences would be a step in the right direction.
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Post by maskaggs »

KAV wrote:There are many churches that could be argued to be apostate if not cults...And then there is lutheran casserole. :shock:
You've got some intestinal fortitude, KAV - good luck! :D
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Mike
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Post by KAV »

Sam,
discovering where things come from is why I studied archaeology.
A french catholic bishop was still fighting against people visiting paleolithic painted caves up to the 6th century!
I made the mistake of telling a preacher his japanese statue was of Kanon (kuen-yuen) the transexual buddha of mercy. He smashed it in the trash and cut his hand on the shards.
My grandmother had curtain pulls ending in acorn ivory handles- from norse mythology against thunder.
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Post by Thalay Sagar »

Sam regarding the history of the late Medieval Western Church, early Protestant Churches and the Catholic response, an excellent book is The Reformation by Diarmid Macculloch. Very detailed. I have a good book on 19th Century American religious history buried somewhere. I'll see if I can find it.
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Chris

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Post by brothers »

Chris, you promise not to enter a debate, and I don't know enough to debate, so we're both safe. However, it might be considered somewhat challenging to issue declarations about Baptists, Pentecostal, etc, being lower than low, followed by a severe inuendo about one of many candidates for POTUS being a concern to the rest of the world (the presumption appears to be intended as a negative, but perhaps some would consider alternatively positioned office seekers to be a concern in a very positive and hopeful way!) I'm neutral, and just providing feedback following a full reading of your post, which, by the way, is quite informative and thought provoking, for sure.
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Post by GA Russell »

Sam, I can recommend a famous book by Robert Hugh Benson called Non-Catholic Denominations.
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Post by Squire »

Until his death John Wesley was reported to refer to himself as an Anglican Methodist Minister.

Interesting to me only because my family church is Methodist.
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Post by drmoss_ca »

brothers wrote:Chris, you promise not to enter a debate, and I don't know enough to debate, so we're both safe. However, it might be considered somewhat challenging to issue declarations about Baptists, Pentecostal, etc, being lower than low, followed by a severe inuendo about one of many candidates for POTUS being a concern to the rest of the world (the presumption appears to be intended as a negative, but perhaps some would consider alternatively positioned office seekers to be a concern in a very positive and hopeful way!) I'm neutral, and just providing feedback following a full reading of your post, which, by the way, is quite informative and thought provoking, for sure.
I was referring to low on the high church - low church continuum, but I deleted the post anyway. These things never play out well on a forum.

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Post by maskaggs »

drmoss_ca wrote:These things never play out well on a forum.
For a variety of reasons this is true. They also rarely play out well in real life. I don't enter into religious discussions unless I'm a few drinks into the bottle, so I know both myself and my interlocutor will chalk up the emotions to the booze later.
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Post by Sam »

I just want to read up on the historical background and a basic understanding of why schisms or breaks occurred. Privately message me if we can chat so we can do it by email. Chris I saw your post on my blackberry last night and could not enlarge it enough to read it so I was looking forward to reading it this morning and it was gone
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Post by maskaggs »

Sam wrote:I just want to read up on the historical background and a basic understanding of why schisms or breaks occurred.
Good on you for pursuing a variety of sources. Try as everyone might, I would say you will have a very hard time finding a completely objective book on the topic of religion, even its history - most books you will read are going to have critics who will tear it apart (sometimes with valid evidence, sometimes without). Multiple perspectives will help clear the air.
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Post by Bobwhite »

A good source for old books is called Abe Books dot com. When it comes to history I like to read about from a closer to the time perspective also.
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Post by Squire »

Sam I share your interest in how schisms come about but can't add much to the conversation. I did take a couple of semesters on Biblical and Religious history and comparative theology in college but am hard pressed now to even remember the names of the courses.

Something that comes to mind is how geography shaped some beliefs. In ancient times the seafaring traders worshiped the Gods of wind, water, wave and storm whereas the inland agrarian people worshiped the Gods of rain, sunshine, etc.

Then there's the inevitable dust up at the local watering hole between ardent believers of both sides fighting over whose Gods are the greatest.
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Post by Squire »

Surprising how durable beliefs are, even over time and distance. I was visiting with a Catholic friend and mentioned I was dating a girl who was a member of the Lutheran Church. Debbie emitted a deep sigh and said, "Yes, we never got Germany back".
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Post by Chaps »

Sam, I'll check and see what I have in my library when I get to the office next week.

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