Exploring History of Christianity

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 25, 2013 | Go to article overview

Exploring History of Christianity


Byline: Michael Taube, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

One of the most important subjects an author can or will ever delve into is the history of Christianity. Great writers such as Paul Johnson, Will Durant, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and Diarmaid MacCulloch have lovingly crafted volumes of work on this important world religion. Scores of books have also examined aspects of Christianity, including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's wonderful three-volume set about Jesus of Nazareth.

Yet there really hasn't been a book series that explored Christendom in a vibrant, lively manner so as to attract interest from all walks of life. In other words, something that could be displayed in a home, church or public library - and written in a succinct and enticing manner for families to read, learn, discuss and enjoy together.

Ted Byfield has finally changed this perception. The Toronto-born Albertan, who started out as a Washington Post copy boy, has been a respected conservative journalist for six decades. He founded three Canadian newsmagazines (Alberta Report, British Columbia Report and Western Report), helped establish two private Anglican schools and published a multivolume series titled Alberta in the Twentieth Century.

Yet Mr. Byfield's recently completed 12-volume series, The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, could very well be his piece de resistance. Each hardcover volume has the look and feel of a classic Time-Life book, but they're so much more than that. The books are beautifully presented with high-gloss pages, stylish writing, original illustrations and full-color photos. Mr. Byfield commissioned talented writers from the United States (Charlotte Allen and Vincent Carroll, among others) and Canada (Paul Bunner, Michael Coren, Ian Hunter and John Muggeridge, among others) to work on individual chapters.

Each book is thoughtfully researched, analyzed and presented to readers. The contributors may come from different denominations, but they're united in their belief that Christianity - and other world religions such as Judaism and Islam - must be properly and accurately explained. There are various opinions expressed in each volume, and some are open to interpretation. Yet there's no question this series will make you appreciate the important role Christians have played in our world's development more than ever before.

For example, Volume 1 covers the period between 30-70 A.D., from the Pentecost to Jerusalem's destruction. There are interesting discussions about Jesus, and how his pronouncements about his own identity rendered him absolutely unacceptable, a lunatic, a monster, or worse, perhaps the devil himself in human form.

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