Sunday, June 14, 2009

Book Notice: Heretics: For Armchair Theologians

Justo L. Gonzalez & Catherine Gonzalez
Illustrations by Ron Hill
Heretics: For Armchair Theologians
Louisville/London: Westminster John Knox, 2008
Available at Alban Books in the UK
Available at in the USA

This is a great little introduction to the "other side" of early Christianity, those who lost the doctrinal disputes, and became known as heretics. Gonzalez & Gonzalez give a good intro to the Ebionites, Gnostics, Marcion, Montanists, Donatists, and Pelagius. There is something that lay people and first year Church History students would find very readable and highly informative. You could easily base a Sunday school class around this book. The illustrations by Ron Hill are also very amusing. One great quote is worth reproducing: "This goes against the common stereotype of the church being narrow-minded in contrast with the open-minded attitude of heretics, when in fact the opposite is closer to the truth: at least in the early centuries of Christianity, it was the heretics who rejected all views but their own, and most often the church at large allowed for more latitutde than did the heretics" (p. 11).

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