Western Civilization: A Critical Guide to Documentary Films

By Neil M. Heyman | Go to book overview

CHRISTIANITY AND JUDAISM

The Christian Empire (The Christians series)
39 minutes color
1976 Granada

Summary: A slow moving, occasionally opaque examination of the development of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and monasticism in the eastern Mediterranean after 300 A.D.


Grade: C +

The film uses a narrator, maps, works of art and buildings of the time, and visits to contemporary sites of Christian devotion such as the monastic communities of central Greece and Ethiopia. One basic theme of the film is the development in Eastern Orthodox Christianity of a link between church and state resulting in the supremacy of political leaders over religious organization. A second theme is the emergence within eastern Christianity of a tradition of hermits and austere monastic communities.

The Christian Empire begins by noting the intimate ties between church and state in Eastern Orthodox Europe. The first major portion of the film illustrates this tie in the development of the Byzantine Empire after 300 A.D. It shows that here Christianity first emerged as a state religion. Views of the churches of Ravenna in Italy demonstrate how works of art indicated the subordination of the Church to political leaders. In contrast the story of Bishop Ambrose of Milan, who chastised the Emperor Theodosius, shows the rival tradition in Western Europe of a church critical of political leaders.

The remainder of the first half of the film focuses on the emerging problem of heresy. Divisive issues like the nature of the Trinity combined with

-27-

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Western Civilization: A Critical Guide to Documentary Films
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Pre-History 1
  • Ancient Greece 7
  • Ancient Rome 21
  • Christianity and Judaism 27
  • Early Middle Ages 33
  • Later Middle Ages - Art of the Middle Ages (Art and Architecture series) 41
  • Fourteenth Century 61
  • The Renaissance 65
  • Reformation and Counter-Reformation 81
  • Sixteenth Century: Wars, Politics, the Age of Discovery 89
  • Seventeenth Century 105
  • Eighteenth Century, French Revolution, and Napoleon 119
  • Nineteenth Century 137
  • Early Twentieth Century 155
  • World War I and the Aftermath 165
  • The Dictatorships 175
  • World War II and the Holocaust 191
  • Post-World War II Era 217
  • SUBJECT INDEX 223
  • SERIES INDEX 239
  • TITLE INDEX 241
  • About the Author 245
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