This edition includes careful selections and abridgements of the original content organized to fit ideally into a course in Christian history. It provides a valuable overview of such topics as birth and death, baptism rites, food, power, heresy, and more.
“The detritus of the past that has washed down to us and that we can study can be classified into two basic types: material and literary. Conventional historians have most often sought to understand the past through its literary remains. The problem here, of course, is that the extant written sources for at least the first 1,700 years of Christian history are almost always the products of elite culture. As such they give us access to the religious lives of nothing more than a tiny minority. The illiterate masses simply did not leave to posterity a clear account of their beliefs, values, and devotional practices, let alone their unspoken longings, fears, joys, and sorrows.” (Page 4)