Cover image for A short history of Christianity
A short history of Christianity
Blainey, Geoffrey, author.
Personal Author:
First Rowman & Littlefield edition.
Publication Information:
Lanham, Maryland : Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.
Physical Description:
xxi, 613 pages : maps ; 24 cm
Christianity has played a central role in world history, for better or worse, but beyond the story of Jesus, many people know little of this story. Geoffrey Blainey takes readers on a journey from the very beginnings of Christianity through to the current day. Looking at the development of the religion itself, as well as the social and economic forces that have influenced it, the book focuses on the stories of the key players in Christianity's rise and fall through the ages, as well as how these players shaped the faith of believers. --Publisher information.
General Note:
"First published by Penguin Group (Australia), 2011"--Title page verso.
The boy from Galilee -- The death and rebirth of Jesus -- 'Who can be against us?' -- Bread, wine, and water -- In the Emperor's hands -- The gang of heretics -- Monks and hermits -- The rise of Islam -- The battle of the icons -- Behind French monastery walls -- Grenadiers of God -- The magic of glass and paint -- A star above Assisi -- The Crusaders -- Rome, Avignon, and the Golden Horn -- The pilgrims' paths -- The heralds of Christendom -- A Swiss sword-carrier -- A tempest across England -- John Calvin's realm -- Trent : the endless meeting -- To the ends of the Earth -- A Reformation untangled -- Pilgrim Bunyan and Quaker Fox -- Two open-air voices : Wesley and Whitefield -- Turmoil in Paris -- Christmas carol -- A taste for toleration -- The age of steam and haste -- Coming of the light and the darkness -- War and peace -- The moving eye of the needle -- 'More popular than Jesus'.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BR145.3 .B57 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



For two thousand years, Christianity has had a varying but immense influence on world history. Accomplished historian Geoffrey Blainey leads us through the history of this world-changing religion. A Short History of Christianity vividly describes many of the significant players in the religion's rise and fall through the ages, from Jesus himself to Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, Francis Xavier, John Wesley, and even the Beatles, who claimed to be "more popular than Jesus." Blainey takes us into the world of Christian worshipers through the ages--from housewives to stonemasons--and traces the rise of the critics of Christ and his followers. Eminently readable, and written with Blainey's characteristic curiosity and storytelling skill, this book often places Christianity at the center of world history. Will it remain near the center? Blainey's narrative illustrates that Christianity's history is a much-repeated story of ups and downs.

Author Notes

Geoffrey Blainey is an Australian historian, born 1930 in Melbourne, Victoria. He is a graduate of the University of Melbourne. He taught at the University of Melbourne and held chairs in economic history and history. He taught at Harvard University as a visiting professor of Australian Studies. He has written over 36 and is the author of The Story of Australia's People: The Rise and Fall of Ancient Australia for which he was a joint winner of the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Australian history.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Few authors would be up to the task of writing a comprehensive history of one of the world's most widespread and diverse religions, but with this book, Australian historian Blainey (A Short History of the World) manages to create a narrative that is both scholarly and all-encompassing without being rambling or tedious. By beginning with the childhood and adolescence of Jesus, Blainey sets a tone that is almost biographical, crafting a reality and an intimacy with the major players in the development of Christianity (namely Paul, Constantine, and even an influential hermit, Peter Damian). This is an academic work to its core, eschewing any personal bias. Covering Christianity's inception to the modern church, it incorporates the surrounding world, including the rise of the prophet Muhammad and the religion of Islam and the influence that Judaism had not only on Christ but on his followers as well. With a conversational tone and an astonishing wealth of information compacted into more than 600 pages, this title is ideal for any pursuit, whether personal or scholarly. VERDICT An approachable, well-organized accounting of religion across the world that would suit scholars and lay readers alike.-Kathleen Dupre, Edmond, OK (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Noted Australian historian Blainey (formerly, Univ. of Melbourne; author, A Short History of the World, CH, Jun'07, 44-5784) here turns his attention to the subject of Christianity, in a volume written in a very accessible, narrative style. All the major events, movements, and people in 2,000 years of Christian history are included, but Blainey also provides connections with politics (John F. Kennedy and Catholicism); other religions (St. Francis preaching to Muslims); literature (the origin of the term "Scrooge"); historical events (the Wright brothers' influence on Christian missions); and popular culture (The Beatles' claim of being more popular than Jesus). The maps and index are excellent, and the chapter notes provide ample opportunities for further research. Blainey defines the target audience as "a variety of general readers and also historians who work in other fields and have faint knowledge of Christian history." Given its brevity and readability, this book would be an ideal introduction for those unfamiliar with Christianity, and for undergraduate students in history and religion courses. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and general readers. M. Y. Spomer Azusa Pacific University