History of Christianity II: From Reformation to Modern Megachurch – New from The Great Courses and Coming Soon to The Great Courses Plus!
When you think about Christian history, you might think of the first thousand years—the events of Jesus’ life, the acts of the apostles, the establishment of the church, and the various councils that established theological doctrine. But the history of Christianity from the Reformation to the present is equally dramatic and profoundly relevant. It’s a story about people as much as theology—our cultures, our politics, our relationship to the world.
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As the world’s largest religion, Christianity is enmeshed in the history of the world. Consider the question of the Christian mission: is it about saving souls, or about saving society? Is it about holding the right beliefs, or about doing good works? The answer to these questions over the past 500 years has defined politics and policies, and led to wars and revolutions.
The History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch picks up where The Great Courses’ first history of Christianity left off: with the Protestant Reformation. Taught by Dr. Molly Worthen, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina, these 36 fascinating lectures trace the story of Christianity as it transformed from the end of the Middle Ages into the diverse global religion of today.
A careful study of this history allows you to:
appreciate the complexity of the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation;
understand the myriad Protestant sects that emerged in the 16th and 17th centuries;
reflect on the role of the church during the Enlightenment and its relationship to the scientific revolution;
gain insight into religion in America, from Mormons and Fundamentalists to Evangelicals and the “Christian right”; and
see the challenges of the 21st century and the Global South in a different light.
While Professor Worthen gives you plenty of insight into theology, her primary focus is to place Christianity in its historical context. She personalizes history with stories of individual players and blends their narratives with larger trends to give you the full history of momentous events. You’ll meet characters ranging from David Strauss, whose biblical scholarship in the 19th century rocked the church’s world, to Zhang Rongliang, a Chinese Christian who kept preaching the gospel even when communist officials locked him up.
In studying these broad themes, you will meet some truly fascinating people. Professor Worthen is a marvelous storyteller who brings individuals to life as she shares broader points in the story. For example, in a lecture on the Cold War, she considers how Pope John Paul II’s moral courage helped bring about the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. In another lecture, she shares the story of Rebecca, an American slave whose story offers a representative glimpse of religion among people whose stories have largely gone untold.
Whether it’s Mormons in the American West, Catholics in Latin America, or a Nigerian megachurch, this course examines the actors and ideas that have made Christianity a global religion—and offers a clearer perspective on our own time and place. Professor Worthen introduces you to scientists and theologians, revolutionaries and social justice crusaders, intellectuals and ordinary people living out the great drama of Christian history. From Martin Luther’s 95 Theses to Latin American liberation theology, The History of Christianity II is a magisterial course, and a must-have for students of history and religion, as well as philosophy, literature, culture, and life.
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in the year 1500 Europe stood on the brink of a religious upheaval that would alter the continents destiny and it wasn't just Europe from the Reformation right into the 21st century Christianity has been at the center of momentous transformations around the globe hi I'm Molly warden and I teach history at the University of North Carolina many people try to isolate religion from the events that have shaped the modern world but in fact the story of Christianity since the Reformation offers deep insight into the ideals and aspirations the divisions and debates that we still care about today in this course we'll see how Christians have grappled with issues like slavery war economic justice and cultural pluralism will find that the church has served as a prop for oppressors and as the force that brings them down will also trace scientific progress from the enlightenment through Darwin and beyond and we'll discover that the so called war between faith and reason is a lot more complicated than you might think over the past 500 years Christianity has influenced an astonishing range of cultures and those cultures in turn have shaped the faith whether its Mormons in the American West Pentecostals and Catholics in Latin America or a Nigerian mega church will examine both the actors and the ideas that have made Christianity a global religion the history of Christianity – from the Reformation to the modern mega church enjoy it now on the great courses plus you