Here are a some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:
* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology
See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.
U of Pennsylvania Press
It was far from inevitable that Rome would emerge as the spiritual center of Western Christianity in the early Middle Ages. After the move of the Empire’s capital to Constantinople in the fourth century and the Gothic Wars in the sixth century, Rome was gradually depleted physically, economically, and politically. How then, asks Maya Maskarinec, did this exhausted city, with limited Christian presence, transform over the course of the sixth through ninth centuries into a seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of sanctity?
Conventional narratives explain the rise of Christian Rome as resulting from an increasingly powerful papacy. In City of Saints, Maskarinec looks outward, to examine how Rome interacted with the wider Mediterranean world in the Byzantine period. During the early Middle Ages, the city imported dozens of saints and their legends, naturalized them, and physically layered their cults onto the city’s imperial and sacred topography. Maskarinec documents Rome’s spectacular physical transformation, drawing on church architecture, frescoes, mosaics, inscriptions, Greek and Latin hagiographical texts, and less-studied documents that attest to the commemoration of these foreign saints. These sources reveal a vibrant plurality of voices—Byzantine administrators, refugees, aristocrats, monks, pilgrims, and others—who shaped a distinctly Roman version of Christianity. City of Saints extends its analysis to the end of the ninth century, when the city’s ties to the Byzantine world weakened. Rome’s political and economic orbits moved toward the Carolingian world, where the saints’ cults circulated, valorizing Rome’s burgeoning claims as a microcosm of the “universal” Christian church.
Christianity started in Jerusalem. For many centuries it was concentrated in the West, in Europe and North America. But in the past century the church expanded rapidly across Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Thus Christianity’s geographic center of density is now in the West African country of Mali―in Timbuktu. What led to the church’s vibrant growth throughout the Global South? Brian Stiller identifies five key factors that have shaped the church, from a renewed openness to the move of the Holy Spirit to the empowerment of indigenous leadership. While in some areas Christianity is embattled and threatened, in many places it is flourishing as never before. Discover the surprising story of the global advance of the gospel. And be encouraged that Jesus’ witness continues to the ends of the earth.
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