The Formation of Christendom

The Formation of Christendom

by Judith Herrin


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In a lucid history of what used to be termed "the Dark Ages," Judith Herrin outlines the origins of Europe from the end of late antiquity to the coronation of Charlemagne. She shows that the clash between nascent Islam and stubburn Byzantium was the central contest that allowed "Europe" to develop, and she thereby places the rise of the West in its true Mediterranean context. Her inquiry centers on the notion of "Christendom." Instead of taking medieval beliefs for granted or separating theology from politics, she treats the faith as a material force. In a path-breaking account of the arguments over Christian doctrine, she shows how the northern sphere of the Roman world divided into two distinct and self-conscious imperial units, as the Arabs swept through the southern regions.

One of the most interesting strands of the author's argument concerns religious art and iconoclasm. Her book shows how the impact of Islam's Judaic ban on graven images precipitated both the iconoclast crisis in Constantinople and the West's unique commitment to pictorial narrative, as justified by Pope Gregory the Great.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691008318
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 08/21/1989
Series: Princeton Paperbacks Ser.
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 560
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi
Preface to the Expanded Edition xiii
Preface xv
Introduction 3
ONE: Conquest 17
TWO: Elections 71
THREE: The Paradigm of Social Control 114
FOUR: Socialization 125
FIVE: Prisons 144
SIX: Deportations 187
EPILOGUE: The Spoiler State 225
Abbreviations 289
Notes 291
Bibliography 375
Index of Names and Places 383
Subject Index 391

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The Formation of Christendom 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
haeesh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Highly recommended. A synthesis of European and Christian history emphasizing the eventual parting of the ways of the West (Rome) and the East (Byzantium). The author's erudition is impressive reaching back to the latin and greek sources. The writing is a little dull at times, but the information is well-presented and compelling.