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Extended Audio Sample The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—and How It Died, by Philip Jenkins, Dick Hill Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (336 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Philip Jenkins, Dick Hill Narrator: Dick Hil Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The Lost History of Christianity by Philip Jenkins offers a revolutionary view of the history of the Christian church. It explores the extinction of the earliest, most influential Christian churches of China, India, and the Middle East, which held the closest historical links to Jesus and were the dominant expression of Christianity throughout its first millennium. The remarkable true story of the demise of the institution that shaped both Asia and Christianity as we know them today, The Lost History of Christianity is a controversial and important work of religious scholarship that sounds a warning that must be heeded.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Philip Jenkins’s marvelous new book…tells the largely forgotten story of Nisibis, and thousands of sites like it, which stretch from Morocco to Kenya to India to China, and which were, deep into the second millennium, the heart of the church.”

    Weekly Standard

  • “The book is marvelously accessible for the lay reader and replete with fascinating details to help personalize the ambitious sweep of global history Jenkins undertakes. This is an important counterweight to previous histories that have focused almost exclusively on Christianity in the West.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “In leaner, clearer prose than ever before, Jenkins outlines and analyzes this history, which few present-day Christians have even heard of. This may be the most eye-opening history book of the year.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Philip Jenkins’ book is a tour de force in historical retrieval and reconstruction, a work of scholarly restoration that strikes an overdue balance in the story of Christianity. It is studded with insight, with the story presented in a lively and lucid style.”

    Lamin Sanneh, professor of world christianity and professor of history, Yale University

  • “Philip Jenkins always writes well on very interesting topics. This time his topic is more than interesting-it is essential reading for anyone with any interest in the history of Christianity.”

    Rodney Stark, author of The Rise of Christianity

  • “An exceptionally fine study of a great swathe of Christian history, hugely important in the Christian story but very little known. This thoughtful, elegant and learned survey will remedy the neglect of a subject which students of religion absolutely need to know about.”

    Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the history of the church, University of Oxford

  • “In this highly readable and sobering exploration of how religions—including our own—grow, falter and sometimes die, Jenkins adds a unique dimension to present day religious studies in a voice and style that non-specialists can also appreciate.”

    Harvey Cox, Hollis Professor of Divinity, Harvard University

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Christopher | 2/17/2014

    " Jenkins asks all the right questions, though his answers can be a bit off. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by David Bales | 2/3/2014

    " Brilliant book about the "lost history" of Christianity; one of my year's top ten best. Once, Christians were the majority from North Africa all the way to India--and had sizable communities beyond, even to China. By the 8th century, Nestorian Christians had established settlements in China, and Christianity was the majority religion in the Middle East until the coming of Islam, and for centuries afterward. Jenkins pieces together how many Islamic traditions were borrowed from Christianity and Judaism. As late as 1900, the Ottoman Empire, (ruled by a Muslim sultan from Constantinople) was only 50% Muslim and 46% Christian; in subsequent years a terrible ethnic cleansing of Christians created a Turkey that is over 97% Muslim. Certain groups of Christians disappeared, others lingered on as "lost groups." Early explorers like Marco Polo in the 13th century and the Portuguese in the 16th century encountered weird groups of enigmatic "Lost Christians" in places like China and India that had lost touch with their origins. This is an amazing book, and doesn't lament the fact that Christianity was supplanted by Islam but simply explains how it happened and why. It again proved to me how complex the first millenium was and how little it is understood in contemporary times. A very, very fine read. Interesting chapters on the Christian churches in Japan, Arabia and Egypt. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Amanda | 1/22/2014

    " I'd love to give this book 3 1/2 stars. I debated for a while between three and for stars and ultimately went with three because I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. I still found it a very valuable read, however. The information was interesting enough, though some of it was repetitive and some of it was a bit verbose. Overall I'm glad I took the time to read about an area of Christian history that I had not previously studied. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Matthew Hurley | 1/13/2014

    " Why did no one tell me about this huge (albeit partly heretical) portion of the church? Talk about perspective. "

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About the Author
Author Philip Jenkins

Philip Jenkins, the author of The Lost History of Christianity, Jesus Wars, and The Next Christendom, is a Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He has published articles and op-ed pieces in the Wall Street Journal, the New Republic, the Atlantic Monthly, and the Washington Post and has been a guest on top national radio shows across the country.