History of Christianity

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Religious Encounter and the Making of the Yoruba. By J. D. Y. Peel. Indiana University Press, 420 pp., $49.95; paperback, $24.95. In one of the most important studies now available for exploring the modern world expansion of Christianity, J. D. Y Peel skillfully examines the full weight of missionary and colonial imposition upon 19th-century West Africa, but also the discriminating agency of African communities that chose to become believers.

The Spirit of Early Christian Thought. By Robert Louis Wilkes. Yale University Press, 368 pp., $32.00. Tiffs beautiful book offers a masterly account of the prayer, the community and, above all, the immersion in scripture that shaped Christian thinking in the early centuries of the church's history.

Catholicism and American Freedom. By John T. McGreevy. Norton, 431 pp., $26.95; paperback, $15.95. American Catholics have valued freedom, of course, but what happened when the long traditions of Catholic communal life conflicted with the standards of American liberal individualism? This exemplary volume, which communicates immense learning with a very light touch, provides the answer.

Jonathan Edwards: A Life, By George M. Marsden. Yale University Press, 640 pp., $35.00; paperback. $19.95. The many awards bestowed on this note worthy biography--including the historians' Bancroft Prize and special recognition in Christianity Today--are completely deserved. Its special merit is to describe Edwards in his physical settings with the same sensible clarity, applied to the weighty themes of Iris theology.

The Reformation: A History. By Diarmaid MacCulloch. Viking, 792 pp., $34.95. In this artful retelling of a crux in modern Christian history, MacCulloch successfully blends the old and the new--that is, full attention to the theology of major figures like Luther, Calvin and Loyola, but also broad treatment of how religious change affected ordinary people throughout all of Europe aim far beyond the 16th century.

Missions, Nationalism, and the End of Empire. Edited by Brian Stanley. Eerdmans, 313 pp., $45.00. This latest addition to an important series (Studies in the History of Christian Missions) makes significant headway in explaining one of the key developments of recent history: how it happened that when Western Christian imperialism ended, the result was not, as many expected, a demise of Christianity in colonial lands, but its explosion,

The Lion and the Lamb: Evangelicals and Catholics in America. …