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All of us, whatever our individual beliefs, belong to a society shaped by the Christian tradition. It is an extraordinary history. Over the centuries since the death of Christ, his followers have known adversity and defeat as well as glory and power – the victories of Charlemagne, or the Crusades, matched by those of Hun, Moor, or Turk. Christianity has borne persecution and division, each taking its terrible toll martyrs. It has assumed unexpected forms, from fourth-century Arianism to seventeenth-century Quakerism. It has been the cause and the victim of war and holocaust. It has been challenged by the findings of such scientists as Galileo and Darwin and – never more markedly than our own 21st century – by a progressive secularism.
Yet in every sphere of Western life and achievement – in our art and literature, our politics and our law, our philosophy – we find the enduring legacy of the Christian experience.
Here is a sound, readable guide to Christianity as a whole – its origins, its revolutionary impact on human affairs, its development over twenty-one centuries, its role as a fundamental, powerful force in our world and our lives.