This sweeping history begins with the life of Jesus and narrates the remarkable story of Christianity as it unfolded over the next thousand years. Unique in its global scope, the book encompasses the vast geographical span of early Christianity, from the regions around the Mediterranean Sea through the Middle East and beyond to central Asia, India, and China. Robert Louis Wilken, beloved professor and renowned author, selects people and events of particular importance in Christian history to bring into focus the full drama of the new religion's development. The coming of Christianity, he demonstrates, set in motion one of the most profound revolutions the world has known.
Wilken tracks the growth of Christian communities around the ancient world and shows how the influence of Christianity led not only to the remaking of cultures but also to the creation of new civilizations. He explores the powerful impact of the rise and spread of Islam on Christianity and devotes several chapters to the early experiences of Christians under Muslim rule in the Middle East, Egypt, north Africa, and Spain. By expanding the telling of Christian history to encompass perspectives beyond just those of the West, Wilken highlights how interactions with new peoples and languages changed early Christian practices, even as the shared rituals of Christian people bound them in spiritual unity despite their deep cultural differences.