Reviews on Resources for Biblical and Theological Studies

Engelbrecht. CHURCH FROM AGE TO AGE, (2011)

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Feb• 02•13

Engelbrecht, Edward A (Ed.). The Church from Age to Age. A History. From Galilee to Global Christianity. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2011. Pages lviii, 976. ISBN: 9780758626462

Church from Age to Age

This book on the history of the Christian Church is a collection of contributions from a number of authors with an introduction by famous historian Paul L. Maier.

This spans the history of the Christian Church beginning with Jesus and Apostles to the modern era, practically to 2011! The book draws its contents from portions from the CHURCH HISTORY SERIES of the Concordia Publishing House. However, all these thoroughly revised in the light of the reviews of the individual books in the series published in various academic journals and brought up-to-date.

The authors are academics and history professors from the non-catholic traditions; so one gets a Protestant perspective of the history and more than that a treatment which focusses on the non-catholic mission and history. Going through the list of authors one is convinced that this is also an American perspective of history as practically all of them are located in the academies of North America.

One is impressed by comprehensiveness and the evident neutrality in the selection of the themes, persons and topics that are presented in the book. This doesn’t mean that the authors are neutral in their presentation (pure objectivity is a mirage!) but the editors have made sure that all that has happened and are significant for our understanding of the the Christian Church is included in this volume. So, we will find the Popes and Patriarchs as well as Pat Robertson and Paul Yongi Cho! It is so vast and comprehensive that it begins with pre-Christian origins in Galilee and so contemporary to include the Arab Spring!

It has a detailed 27 page time-line of the major events that shaped the Church and the world that the Church is called to witness. There are sixteen maps that reflect modern scholarship and cartography. The four appendices add further value to the volume: ‘Popes and Rival Popes’, ‘Major Councils’, ‘Bishops, Archbishops and Patriarchs of Constantinople’, and ‘Assemblies of the World Council of Churches’. A bibliography divided according to the various periods of Christian history is an added boon to students and teachers alike!

The size of the volume is intimidating (976 pages) but it is justified by what Paul L. Maier says in the ‘Foreword’: ‘… this is a large book because it has a huge story to tell.’ If there is any book recently published that I would recommend confidently on the history of Christianity it will be this: A comprehensive one-volume, text-book. My hope is that the publishers will come up with updates of this volume at least every five year.


Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Mar• 14•12

Wolf, Hubert. Pope and Devil : the Vatican’s archives and the Third Reich. (Cambridge  Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010) ISBN: 9780674050815.

Vatican’s dealings with the Third Reich has been a topic of speculation for decades. The mystery was getting thicker as Vatican kept the records leading to the events since 1939 a secret and hid it from historians and the public. Now almost seventy years later these archives are open to the public and scholars like Hubert Wolf (the author) has been able to research and come up with this book. Hubert Wolf is an accomplished Church Historian teaching at the University of Munster. This book clears a lot of clouds and we have answers to many questions answered for the first time in the light of these secret documents.
The book appeared in its German original in 2008 as Papst und Tuefel: Die Archive des Vatikan und das Dritte Reich published by Verlag C. H. Beck oHG, Munich.
In five chapters, along a chronological sequence, Wolf details Vatican’s relationships and struggles with the Third Reich and the National Socialism.
Chapter one: Neutralizing Evil. Vatican Prescriptions for Germany (1917-1929); Chapter Two: Perfidious Jews. The Battle in the Vatican over Anti-Semitism (1928); Chapter Three: The Pact with the Devil? The Reichskonkordat (1930-1933); Chapter Four: Molto Delicato? The Roman Curia and the Persecution of the Jews (1933-1939); Chapter Five: Dogma or Diplomacy? The Catholic Worldview and Nazi Ideology (1933-1939).
The book is complete with a ten page chronology of this period which is very useful even to those who are familiar with the dates and events of this period.