Products>The Path of Christianity: The First Thousand Years

The Path of Christianity: The First Thousand Years

Format: Digital
ISBN: 9780830899524


John Anthony McGuckin, one of the world’s leading scholars of ancient Christianity, has synthesized a lifetime of work to produce the most comprehensive and accessible history of the Christian movement during its first thousand years. The Path of Christianity takes readers on a journey from the period immediately after the composition of the Gospels, through the building of the earliest Christian structures in polity and doctrine, to the dawning of the medieval Christian establishment. McGuckin explores Eastern and Western developments simultaneously, covering grand intellectual movements and local affairs in both epic scope and fine detail.

The Path of Christianity is divided into two parts of twelve chapters each. Part one treats the first millennium of Christianity in linear sequence, from the second to the eleventh centuries. In addition to covering key theologians and conciliar decisions, McGuckin surveys topics like Christian persecution, early monasticism, the global scope of ancient Christianity, and the formation of Christian liturgy. Part two examines key themes and ideas, including biblical interpretation, war and violence, hymnography, the role of women, attitudes to wealth, and early Christian views about slavery and sexuality. McGuckin gives the reader a sense of the real condition of early Christian life, not simply what the literate few had to say.

Written for student and scholar alike, The Path of Christianity is a lively, readable, and masterful account of ancient Christian history, destined to be the standard for years to come.

Key Features

  • Presents a massive introduction to the first thousand years of Christianity
  • Combines a minute attention to detail with a willingness to look at both sides of topics
  • Covers key theologians, movements, and the development of different ideals and themes through history


  • Part One: The Church Pilgrim’s Path
    • The Fertile Second Century
    • Blood in the Arena: The Age of Persecutions and Resistance: Second to Third Centuries
    • Coming of Age: Christianity in the Third Century
    • The Gospel on the Throne: Christians in the Fourth-Century East
    • Reconciling the World: Christian Ascetical and Penitential Imperatives
    • Remaking Society: The Church in the West in the Fourth to Sixth Centuries
    • A Church of the Nations: Ancient Global Christianity
    • The Rise of the Ecumenical Conciliar System in the Fifth to Sixth Centuries
    • The Emergence of Christian Byzantium in the Sixth to Ninth Centuries
    • The Flourishing of Medieval Rome in the Seventh to Tenth Centuries
    • The Formation of Christian Liturgy
    • The Great Parting of the Ways: Greek East and Latin West in the Tenth to Eleventh Centuries
  • Part Two: A Winding Road: Select Themes and Ideas
    • The Bible and Its Interpretation in the Early Church
    • The Church and War
    • The Development of Christian Hymnography
    • Ways of Prayer in the Early Church
    • Women in Ancient Christianity
    • Healing and Philanthropy in Early Christianity
    • The Exercise of Authority in the Church: Orders and Offices
    • Christians and Magic
    • The Church and Wealth
    • Church and Slavery in an Age of Oppression
    • Attitudes to Sexuality in the Early Church
    • A Brief Account of Ancient Christian Art

Praise for the Print Edition

An excellent overview of the first ten centuries of Christian history. Unsurpassed in its thoroughness, clarity, and organization. This belongs in the library of anyone interested in the history of Christianity.

—Justo L. González, historian and theologian

This is a monumental work that wonderfully synthesizes a dazzling array of virtues. It is vastly comprehensive, but also enlivened by a judicious selection of concrete detail; deeply learned, yet written with elegant lucidity; it takes the reader on a brisk march through Christian history while also offering historically situated contemplations of perennial Christian themes and preoccupations, such as philanthropy and sexual morality. John McGuckin’s prodigious talents as a scholar and teacher, honed over decades, here achieve a brilliant and widely accessible distillation.

—Khaled Anatolios, professor of theology, University of Notre Dame

To attempt a study of this kind of historical, geographical, prosopographical, literary, and theological scope for a period as massive as the first ten centuries of the Common Era is as ambitious as it is daring. To actually do so, not only with comprehensiveness but with real depth of insight, is an extraordinary achievement. John McGuckin is one of the most learned and energetic historians of early Christianity in the world, and this fine work may be the capstone of his many distinguished studies. From Christian polity to liturgy, from perspectives on war to practices of healing, from views of slavery to views of art, this spectacular volume covers themes largely untouched in earlier macrohistories of the early church.

—Paul M. Blowers, Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan College

Rummaging around John McGuckin’s magisterial, encyclopedic, and very big history of the first millennium of Christianity, The Path of Christianity uncovers some delightfully unexpected treasures.

—Peter J. Leithart, First Things, May 12, 2017

  • Title: The Path of Christianity: The First Thousand Years
  • Author: John Anthony McGuckin
  • Publisher: IVP Academic
  • Print Publication Date: 2017
  • Logos Release Date: 2018
  • Pages: 1209
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital > Logos Edition
  • Subjects: Church history > Primitive and early church, ca. 30-600; Church history > Middle Ages, 600-1500
  • ISBNs: 9780830899524, 9780830840984
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2019-10-03T23:09:03Z

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

About John Anthony McGuckin

John Anthony McGuckin held the Nielsen Chair in Late Antique Christian History at Union Theological Seminary and was professor of Byzantine Christian Studies at Columbia University in New York City. He is an archpriest of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and rector of the Orthodox Church in Lytham St. Annes, England. He serves on the faculty of church history at Oxford University, and is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society of the United Kingdom.

McGuckin has been awarded several honorary doctorates, and has written 25 works of historical theology, including St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy, St. Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography, The Westminster Handbook to Patristic Theology, and The Ascent of Law.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition