The Cambridge History of Christianity. Vol. 5: Eastern Christianity

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The Cambridge History of Christianity. Vol. 5: Eastern Christianity. Edited by Michael Angold. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2006. Pp. xx, 722. £1061 $180.

Scholars owe a debt of thanks to the editor of this impressive work. Michael Angold, professor emeritus of Byzantine history at the University of Edinburgh, has done a magnificent job of touching on the highlights of Eastern Christianity in its many forms, including the Oriental churches not in full communion with the Eastern Orthodox churches. Chapters on the Copts, Melkites, Nestorians, and Jacobites make this volume a comprehensive history. There is also an excellent review of dissent movements in Russia, especially the section on the Old Believers.

What is lacking is a better treatment of the missionary activity of the Orthodox and the Oriental churches. This lack is due in part to the date with which this volume commences, a.d. 1000. By then, missionary activity was over for Constantinople and the Nestorians. It would have been more useful for the study of Eastern Christianity if the volume had started with an earlier date, perhaps a.d. 500 or 600. A search of other volumes in the series, however, fails to give one the impression that this lacuna will be filled.Even in thel,000years surveyed, missions and evangelization do not feature prominently. St. Stephen of Perm gets adequate coverage, as does the linguist Nicholas Ilminski, but Macarius Gloukharev and Nicholas Kassatkin are not even mentioned. St. Herman of the Alaska mission is noted, but the mission itself and the work of John Veniaminov are notably absent. This is all the more surprising because in later life Veniaminov, under the monastic name Innocent, became metropolitan of Moscow in 1868. …