The line that separated Eastern Christendom from Western on the medieval map is similar to the "iron curtain" of recent times. Linguistic barriers, political divisions, and liturgical differences combined to isolate the two cultures from each other. Except for such episodes as the schism between East and West or the Crusades, the development of non-Western Christendom has been largely ignored by church historians. In The Spirit of Eastern Christendom, Jaroslav Pelikan explains the divisions between Eastern and Western Christendom, and identifies and describes the development of the distinctive forms taken by Christian doctrine in its Greek, Syriac, and early Slavic expression.
"It is a pleasure to salute this masterpiece of exposition. . . . The book flows like a great river, slipping easily past landscapes of the utmost diversity—the great Christological controversies of the seventh century, the debate on icons in the eighth and ninth, attitudes to Jews, to Muslims, to the dualistic heresies of the high Middle Ages, to the post-Reformation churches of Western Europe. . . . His book succeeds in being a study of the Eastern Christian religion as a whole."—Peter Brown and Sabine MacCormack, New York Review of Books
"The second volume of Professor Pelikan's monumental work on The Christian Tradition is the most comprehensive historical treatment of Eastern Christian thought from 600 to 1700, written in recent years. . . . Pelikan's reinterpretation is a major scholarly and ecumenical event."—John Meyendorff
"Displays the same mastery of ancient and modern theological literature, the same penetrating analytical clarity and balanced presentation of conflicting contentions, that made its predecessor such an intellectual treat."—Virgina Quarterly Review
"A magnificent history of doctrine."—New York Review of Books
"In this volume Jaroslav Pelikan continues the splendid work he has done thus far in his projected five-volume history of the development of Christian doctrine, defined as 'what the Church believes, teaches, and confesses on the basis of the word of God.' The entire work will become an indispensable resource not only for the history of doctrine but also for its reformulation today. Copious documentation in the margins and careful indexing add to its immense usefulness."—E. Glenn Hinson, Christian Century
"This book is based on a most meticulous examination of medieval authorities and the growth of medieval theology is essentially told in their own words. What is more important, however, then the astounding number of primary sources the author has consulted or his sovereign familiarity with modern studies on his subject, is his ability to discern form and direction in the bewildering growth of medieval Christian doctrine, and, by thoughtful emphasis and selection, to show the pattern of that development in a lucid and persuasive narrative. No one interested in the history of Christianity or theology and no medievalist, whatever the field of specialization, will be able to ignore this magnificent synthesis."—Bernhard W. Scholz, History
"The series is obviously the indispensable text for graduate theological study in the development of doctrine, and an important reference for scholars of religious and intellectual history as well. . . . Professor Pelikan's series marks a significant departure, and in him we have at last a master teacher."—Marjorie O'Rourke Boyle, Commonweal
This penultimate volume in Pelikan's acclaimed history of Christian doctrine—winner with Volume 3 of the Medieval Academy's prestigious Haskins Medal—encompasses the Reformation and the developments that led to it.
"Only in America, and in this case from a Lutheran scholar, could we expect an examination so lacking in parti pris, a survey so perceptive, so free—and, one must say, the result of so much immense labor, so rewardingly presented."—John M. Todd, New York Times Book Review
"Never wasting a word or losing a plot line, Pelikan builds on an array of sources that few in our era have the linguistic skill, genius or ambition to master."—Martin E. Marty, America
"The use of both primary materials and secondary sources is impressive, and yet it is not too formidable for the intelligent layman."—William S. Barker, Eternity
Jaroslav Pelikan begins this volume with the crisis of orthodoxy that confronted all Christian denominations by the beginning of the eighteenth century and continues through the twentieth century in its particular concerns with ecumenism. The modern period in the history of Christian doctrine, Pelikan demonstrates, may be defined as the time when doctrines that had been assumed more than debated for most of Christian history were themselves called into question: the idea of revelation, the uniqueness of Christ, the authority of Scripture, the expectation of life after death, even the very transcendence of God.
"Knowledge of the immense intellectual effort invested in the construction of the edifice of Christian doctrine by the best minds of each successive generation is worth having. And there can hardly be a more lucid, readable and genial guide to it than this marvellous work."—Economist
"This volume, like the series which it brings to a triumphant conclusion, may be unreservedly recommended as the best one-stop introduction currently available to its subject."—Alister E. McGrath, Times Higher Education Supplement
"Professor Pelikan's series marks a significant departure, and in him we have at last a master teacher."—Marjorie O'Rourke Boyle, Commonweal
"Pelikan's book marks not only the end of a dazzling scholarly effort but the end of an era as well. There is reason to suppose that nothing quite like it will be tried again."—Harvey Cox, Washington Post Book World