Image: from "The Book of Kells."  Returns you to MOVIE REVIEWS! Category page.

Book Review


The Christian Tradition:

(Vols. 1-5)

Image: portion of illuminated manuscript page from "The Book of Kells."

Jaroslav Pelikan (1923-2006) was Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University:

"If Christ is risen, nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen -- nothing else matters."

“Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living." ______________

Have you received Christ as your Lord and Saviour?

Find out how to do so on our page:

Plan of Salvation ______________

Tell others about Jesus like these memorable Christians did:

 Though we are not all called to the ministry of a Pastor, Foreign Missionary, Prominent Evangelist, or Christian Writer, we are all called by God to share our faith (witness) with those who are not Christians.  Some Bible verses that you will find helpful for doing this, and that you may want to commit to memory are found on other pages on our  web site (see: Memory Verses; 2nd Set: Salvation!, Plan of Salvation, and Statement of Faith). ____________

University of Chicago Press. Chicago and London.

© 1971 by the University of Chicago. ____________

Author: Jaroslav Pelikan

The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine

Vol. 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600).

Vol. 2: The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700).

Vol. 3: The Growth of Medieval Theology (600-1300).

Vol. 4: Reformation of Church and Dogma (1300-1700).

Vol. 5: Christian Doctrine and Modern Culture (since 1700).

In this five-volume opus—now available in its entirety in paperback—Pelikan traces the development of Christian doctrine from the first century to the twentieth.  

"Pelikan's The Christian Tradition [is] a series for which they must have coined words like 'magisterial'."

-Martin Marty, Commonweal

Pelikan writes in a readable and engaging style. 

He has clearly grasped all the subtleties in the development of the "Christian Tradition" (his oft-quoted phrase is that tradition is the living faith of the dead but traditionalism is the dead faith of the living), but yet he can summarize the essence of a position in one sentence. 

The real meat of this set is the references in the margin, where one can go directly to the sources. Anyone studying theology must have this on their bookshelf.

-koenigsfreund (New Haven, Connecticut)

A Review by David Bennett:

This book is probably, page for page, the most scholarly and readable of all the history of doctrine books about the early Church (although Kelley's "Early Christian Doctrines" comes close). Pelikan's style is concise, but also detailed, in that on every page he provides references for just about every important thing he says.

 Pelikan has a take on doctrine that is shared by most scholars and clergy, which is that doctrine developed...  In other words, from studying the Bible and the early writers, we see that their formulations and emphases often differed from later generations. 

For instance, the doctrine of original sin is rarely spoken of before Augustine...

Pelikan covers all of the major figures and controversies, looking at orthodox and heretic arguments. 

He explains why orthodox doctrine prevailed, geographically, politically, and philosophically.


Next  Next Topic  Book Index

Image: The Prayer Foundation logo (with white Celtic cross on a green shield).

Image: Front Cover of the First Volume of the 5 Volume Series, "The Christian Tradition" by Jaroslav Pelikan.

To see price and additional information, including how to purchase this product, simply click on the above photo.

This will take you to the offer on the Site.  You will need to use your "Back" button to return to this Site.

Note: We are now an Affiliate of for product sales.  A portion of any purchases made on the site after clicking through from our Site will go to the support of the cost of creating and maintaining this website. __________________________

Pelikan clearly explains that catholic belief came after a long and hard consideration of biblical concepts, with many dissenters who interpreted the Bible differently.

Overall, this is a fine (5 Vol. Series) that I use as a reference quite often. 

His whole very useful.

For anyone wanting to dig deeper in his or her study of Christian doctrine and history, I would suggest this (5 Vol. Series).

It is not for beginners though. 

He often uses Greek and Latin terms, as well as other "churchy" terms that are probably unfamiliar to most people. 

... move on to Pelikan and you won't be disappointed. _________________________

Related Pages:


Copyright © 2008 S.G.P. All rights reserved. 

Next  Next Topic  Book Index