A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story

By Barch, Peter | Anglican Theological Review, Summer 2012 | Go to article overview

A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story


Barch, Peter, Anglican Theological Review


A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story. By Diana Butler Bass. New York: HarperOne, 2009. 353 pp. $25.99 (cloth).

In A People's History of Christianity Diana Butler Bass outlines a narrative of the Christian story she calls '"Big-C Christianity - Christ, Constantine, Christendom, Calvin, and Christian America" (p. 4). This narrative is convincingly presented as militant Christianity, which shapes the discussion as an "us-against-them morality tale" (p. 5). A People's History of Christianity is unashamedly directed at Western progressive Christians. Butler Bass seeks to provide a firm foundation for them in the history of the church by charting the issues progressive Christians tend to follow today (for example, in issues of social justice, care for creation, gender, and sexuality, among others) and telling the stories of historical figures and movements which have lived these out.

As a contrast to "'Big C Christianity," Butler Bass proposes "Great Command Christianity," a Christianity centered on living out the commandments quoted in Luke 10:25-27: love God, and love your neighbor as yourself (p. 11). Buder Bass seeks to link the contemporary "generative faith" of this reemerging form of Christianity with the realization that it has always been at the heart of Christian faith. Although the issues this book deals with are the issues of justice with which progressive Christians concern themselves, it is not a polemical tome against conservative Christians. Butler Bass notes that liberal Christians have lost their devotional memory, while conservative Christians have lost their ethical memory. As Christianity is about memory and history, these losses do not bode well for the future of the church. It is in this light that Butler Bass seeks to find the memories and links between contemporary faith and past wisdom. These links are intended to provide an engaging form of devotional scholarship which can appeal to the progressive Christian, church insider and casual historian alike.

Butler Bass continues the recent trend in "peoples histories," a trajectory which embraces the role of historian as subjective being. In her introduction she articulates her motivations, influences, and hopes for the book, noting that in her efforts to connect history with contemporary church movements she seeks to share scholarly insights in a decentered manner. The aim of all this is to discern where the prophetic Jesus can be seen in the church that is his body. In this she succeeds, and we are well rewarded with rich stories that convey meaningful hope for the present without allowing us to indulge in nostalgia.

The book is divided into a series of five periods, each with several chapters, covering some two millennia of church history: Early Christianity, Medieval Christianity, Reformation Christianity, Modern Christianity, and Contemporary Christianity. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.