A few weeks ago I reviewed The Church and the Roman Empire (301–490): Constantine, Councils, and the Fall of Rome (Reclaiming Catholic History). You can find my review of that book here. This book, written by Mike Aquilina, was the first released book in new Reclaiming Catholic History series from Ave Maria Press. The next book has now been released in the series and it’s a fantastic entry as well. The Early Church (33–313): St. Peter, the Apostles, and Martyrs (Reclaiming Catholic History) is written by James Papandrea. As you can tell by the dates it actually covers the years immediately following the resurrection of Christ.
The book has the period of time divided into 6 eras. These are:
- The Era of the Apostles
- The Era of the Apostolic Fathers
- The Era of the Apologists
- The Era of the Theologians
- The Era of the Sacraments
- The Era of Tribulation
Within in each chapter there are a couple of key elements. First are Up Close and Personal spotlights of various important figures of the time. These include martyrs like Saints Stephen and Perpetua, Church leaders like Clement of Rome, Church Fathers such as Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna, and great thinkers like Justin Martyr.
As Jim weaves his way through this period in Church History he covers many questions in You Be the Judge sections. You are going to learn a lot here as Jim tackles some questions and plays the role of mythbuster on some often misunderstood topics. These include:
- Don’t people in the early Church live much shorter lives than we do now?
- Hasn’t Christianity always taught that when you die, only your soul goes to heaven for eternity?
- Didn’t the Church silence the voices of people who didn’t follow the dominant party line?
- Didn’t Constantine create the marriage of church and state?
As you are probably well aware the early church faced a few hurdles during it’s infancy years. Jim covers various heresies that arose as the church worked on finding her way and taking her place in salvation history. There is much meat to sink one’s teeth in throughout the pages of this book but it doesn’t stop there. If this period of time interests you Jim includes a nice list of books for further reading as well.
When this series was first announced I had high hopes for it. With this second installment it did not disappoint. I can see many benefiting from what Mike Aquilina is skillfully editing here. A series that sets out to set the record straight on what exactly has transpired in the time since Jesus ascended into heaven and his church was left to carry Christianity forward. Get started with the Reclaiming Catholic History series now. You won’t be disappointed.
Where to Find
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Read my complete archives at The Catholic Book Blogger.