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  • Published: 4 April 2013
  • ISBN: 9780141967653
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

Silence

A Christian History




A morally charged contemplation of silence in the history of the Christian church

This book introduces a polyphony of silences from the whole span of Christian history and beyond. Besides prayer and mystical contemplation, there are shame and evasion; careless and purposeful forgetting. Diarmaid MacCulloch, acknowledged master of the big picture in Christian history, unravels the surprisingly mixed attitudes of Judaism to silence, Jewish and Christian borrowings from Greek explorations of the divine, and the silences which were a feature of Jesus's brief ministry and witness. MacCulloch describes how the Early Church negotiated the competing claims of silence and noise, and how monasticism, a movement imported into Christianity, came to dominate Christian worship and practice. He points to the sudden eruption of relentless noise in the Protestant Reformation, and the Counter-Reformation's efforts to defend centuries of insights about listening rather than speaking. Many deliberate silences are revealed: the forgetting of histories which were not useful to later Church authorities (such as the leadership roles of women among the first Christians), or the constant problems which Christianity has faced in dealing honestly with sexuality. Behind all this is the silence of God; and in a deeply personal final chapter, MacCulloch brings a message of optimism for those who still seek God beyond the clamorous noise of over-confident certainties.

  • Published: 4 April 2013
  • ISBN: 9780141967653
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

About the author

Diarmaid MacCulloch

Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford and a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. His Thomas Cranmer (1996) won the Whitbread Biography Award, the James Tait Black Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize; Reformation: Europe's House Divided (2003) won the Wolfson Prize for History and the British Academy Book Prize. A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years and the BBC television series based on it appeared in 2009; the book won the Cundill Prize, the world's largest history prize, in 2010. His television series How God Made the English aired on BBC2 in March 2012. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and was knighted in the New Year's Honours List of 2012.

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