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by Judith Herrin
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Ancient Civilizations
  • Author:
    Judith Herrin
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  • Publisher:
    FONTANA PRESS; New Ed edition (1989)
  • Pages:
    530 pages
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    Ancient Civilizations
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    1103 kb
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The Formation of Christendom book.

The Formation of Christendom book.

Judith Herrin, Winner of the 2016 Dr . Heineken Prize, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Judith Herrin, Winner of the 2016 Dr . Heineken Prize, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. The main argument of Judith Herrin's The Formation of Christendom is that what she calls the 'initial particularity' of Europe is to be sought in the period between the fourth and the ninth centuries. Herrins's scholarship is unerring, her scope is wide and her style fluent.

In a lucid history of what used to be termed "the Dark Ages," Judith Herrin outlines . Her inquiry centers on the notion of "Christendom.

In a lucid history of what used to be termed "the Dark Ages," Judith Herrin outlines the origins of Europe from the end of late antiquity to the coronation of Charlemagne. Her book shows how the impact of Islam's Judaic ban on graven images precipitated both the iconoclast crisis in Constantinople and the West's unique commitment to pictorial narrative, as justified by Pope Gregory the Great.

The formation of Christendom. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books. Uploaded by Lotu Tii on March 21, 2014. SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata). Terms of Service (last updated 12/31/2014).

The Formation of Christendom (Princeton Paperbacks). In a lucid history of what used to be termed "the Dark Ages," Judith Herrin outlines the origins of Europe from the end of late antiquity to the coronation of Charlemagne.

The Formation of Christendom (9780691008318) by Judith Herrin. Title: The Formation of Christendom By: Judith Herrin Format: Paperback Number of Pages: 530 Vendor: Princeton University Press Publication Date: 1989

The Formation of Christendom (9780691008318) by Judith Herrin. Title: The Formation of Christendom By: Judith Herrin Format: Paperback Number of Pages: 530 Vendor: Princeton University Press Publication Date: 1989. Dimensions: . 2 X . 6 X . 7 (inches) Weight: 1 pound 12 ounces ISBN: 0691008310 ISBN-13: 9780691008318 Stock No: WW008310.

Her book Unrivalled Influence: Women and Empire in Byzantium with its "comparative perspective on Byzantium, European Christendom, and. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. The Formation Of Christendom. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987. Harry Rosenberg (a1). Colorado State UniversityFort Collins, Colorado. Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 July 2009.

There is no book available that I know of that could replace this work in the library of any person more than casually interested in the history of the Church, late antiquity, and the early medieval period. With all due respect to Peter Brown, Averil Cameron and others too numerous to name, the breadth and depth of this massive undertaking are awe inspiring. The author, Judith Herrin, is Professor of Late Antiquity and Byzantine Studies at Kings College of the University of London. Covering the period from 400 Ce until 850 Ce she meticulously and methodically explains the interactions of the East and the West both temporal and religious. With the advent of Islam, the author detects an irrevocable fracturing of the Mediterranean world into three distinct but interactive sectors. Herrin clearly states in her conclusion, "I have presented Byzantium as an essential factor in the development of both the West and Islam." After careful consideration of this work, this reader fully accepts her conclusion that Byzantium was a defining factor in the development of the feudal and modern Western world.

The interaction of the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the West with the polities that replaced it are carefully developed. With equal adeptness, Roman papal relations with the East are detailed. With much of the West and North Africa becoming Arian Christian including most of Italy, Rome was reduced by continuous warfare to a theological center fighting for its life and influence. It is from that beginning that the author starts her analysis and synthesis of events that culminate with the crowning of a new emperor in the West, Charles the Great, on December 25th in 800 Ce by Pope Leo III. The Mediterranean was still precariously a "Roman Lake" during the rule of Theodosius the Great. However, slowly but inexorably the Mediterranean world assumed a tripartite division with the Byzantine Empire looking to the northeast, an aggressive Islamic Caliphate controlling most of the near east and the southern rim into Spain, and a West dominated by emerging secular states and a Roman ecclesiastical authority. Herrin provides a coherent narrative history of all the significant events, trends, and movements of the period leading to this result. Among the many subtopics covered is a remarkable chapter on Visigothic Spain that is extremely illuminating.

A reasonable working knowledge of the eras under consideration in both the East and West is a prerequisite for getting the most out of this work. If you are a serious student of this area of history, I suggest you read this book every ten years or so. Each time I read it, I learn more based on the advanced state of knowledge I bring to the task. And, oh yes, reading this book is a task. This is a no nonsense academic tome covering vast areas of time and space both literally and intellectually. There is no filler here, and the author's prose are dense and dry as burnt toast but exceedingly clear and understandable. While no bibliography is supplied, the text is extensively footnoted. Furthermore, unless you are trilingual in French, German and English a bibliography might be of limited use. I estimate that nearly one half of the footnotes are from French language sources and maybe another twenty percent in German with the rest in English or the classical languages. If you are non francophone as I am, and you have wondered if the French actually write history, this book will answer that question for you in the affirmative. I can not imagine anyone coming away from reading this book without a radically deepened knowledge of the material considered.
This was a recommended text for a Medieval Church History course I took, and I can see why: It's scholarship is brilliant and unerring - the fact that the book only really covers 200 years of events (about 600-800 give or take) is incredible - you feel like you have covered a millennium by the end, but that's because this is not an ordinary history book. Herrin is relentless in her focus on the details, the motives, the background, the wider context of all that takes place. The way she approaches iconoclasm from the points of view of the soldiers fighting in the themes, the villagers worshipping at home shrines - it's just breathtaking (and, yes, exhausting) to consider the depth to which she penetrates her subject matter.

Needless to say, this is no mere overview of events. The book is long, and yet she lists all the events covered in a mere 2 pages at the end. She never looks at events in isolation, but rather traces themes, currents and trends. We are made to consider how Justinian's Council (the Fourth Ecumenical) destroyed what unity the church possessed, even as he destroyed Italy in his campaigns. We can then compare this to the way that the iconophile council under Empress Irene was rejected by a 'middle path' council under Pepin.

The richness and complexity of this period of history is highlighted by focusing neither on Rome, nor the western powers, nor the Middle East - but by the great city that was truly the centre of the world at this time: Constantinople. Seeing the rise of the papacy, and the concomitant 'crowning' of Charles, from this perspective is a watershed.

And there can be no doubt: The great highlight of this book is the way it traces the origins, motivations and rise of iconoclasm from the Byzantine perspective, rather than ahistorically beginning with the Roman counter-reaction to it. This, coupled with a focus on how Franks rejected, with alarm, the return to iconophile practice, simply nails it: This is as good as historical analysis gets. It's demanding, you bet, but maybe that's because we're a little too used to things being presented in a neat and tidy, linear fashion where things move inevitably to their outcome. This is just not how things work; Herrin leaves us in no doubt of that.

I must mention a delicious statement that is made in the intro, and followed up on brilliantly throughout the work: Herrin states that she seeks to trace faith not as an abstract cultural norm, but as a "material force" that shapes historical currents. She treats faith as it ought to be treated: A force as powerful, if not more powerful, than all the armies and wealth that a society possesses. By recognising this, we understand medieval history, as well as the world we live in today.

In the end, I wanted more - give me a sequel covering the next few hundred years up to the end of the fifth crusade. In a world of shallow historical understanding, quick sound bites and news headline aggregations, we need Herrin's depth of scholarship and investigation. We need it desperately.
You have to admire Ms. Herrin's careful and resourceful scholarship about an era that is shrouded in mystery. Herrin focuses on the transistion from "late antiquity" to the early middle ages, aka from about 550 AD to 850 AD. She is specifically concerned with answering the question of "what makes western europe different?" Her answer is that western is europe is unique in its division of power between temporal and spiritual authority (i.e. church and state). Does her answer sound familiar?

Herrin delves into the gradual seperation of Rome from Constantinople both in terms of theology and military force. On the former subject, you had better be prepared for a ton of information on the debate over iconclasm v. iconophilism. The later topic is a bit easier to grasp: Byzantium was pressed by Islam, which led to an abandonment of military responsibility in the area surrounding Rome, which led to the Popes soliciting assistance from the Franks, which led to the Holy Roman Empire, more or less.

It's an interesting subject, and this is a well written book, but at a nearly five hundred pages, it takes a great deal of rigor to penetrate.
I liked the condition of the book. It is one of the best history of the Church that I have read.