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A list of key readings about Christianity.
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  • Brauer, Jerald C. The Westminster Dictionary of Church History (1971), 880pp
  • Briggs, J. H. Y., Robert D. Linder, and David F. Wright. Introduction to the History of Christianity: First Century to the Present Day (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Cross, F. L., and E. A. Livingstone, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. 1997), 1840pp; excerpt and text search; online at OUP
  • Gonzalez, Justo L. A History of Christian Thought: Volume 1: From the Beginnings to the Council of Chalcedon (2nd ed. 1987); excerpt and text search vol 1; A History of Christian Thought: Volume 2: From Augustine to the Eve of the Reformation (2nd ed. 1987) excerpt and text search vol 2; A History of Christian Thought: Volume 3: From the Protestant Reformation to the Twentieth Century (1987) excerpt and text search vol 3
  • Hastings, Adrian et al. eds. The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought (2000) 808pp; 600 articles by 260 Catholic, Protestand and Orthodox scholars; excerpt and text search; online at OUP
  • Horsley, Richard A. Christian Origins: A People's History Of Christianity, Vol. 1 (2006), 318pp excerpt and text search
  • Latourette, Kenneth Scott. A History of Christianity (2 vol 1975) excerpt and text search vol 1, to 1500
  • Latourette, Kenneth Scott. A history of the expansion of Christianity (7 vol 1939-1970), monumental history of missionary work worldwide
  • MacCulloch, Diarmaid. The Reformation (2005), influential recent survey excerpt and text search
  • McGonigle, Thomas D., and James F. Quigley. A history of the Christian Tradition: From Its Jewish Origins to the Reformation (1988); A History of the Christian Tradition, Vol. II: From the Reformation to the Present (1996) excerpt and text search vol 2
  • Noll, Mark A. The Old Religion in a New World: The History of North American Christianity (2001) excerpt and text search
  • Pelikan, Jaroslav. Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine (5 vol 1975-91) excerpt and text search v. 3, 600 AD -1300]; excerpt and text search vol 4, 1300-1700; excerpt and text search vol 5, 1700-present This is the standard history of Christian doctrine. On Orthodox doctrine, it can helpfully be supplemented by: xxx
  • Ward, Keith. Christianity: A Beginner's Guide (2008)
  • New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (1911), major sources of older scholarly articles; mainline Protestant perspective:

Primary sources

  • Placher, William C. Readings in the History of Christian Theology, Volume 2: From the Reformation to the Present (1988) excerpt and text search

The Bible

  • The Bible is the central text of Christianity, and choice of translation will be determined, to some extent, by the reader's confessional orientation (see Biblical translation).
  • The King James Version (KJV), or Authorized Version (AV), is one of the central texts of English-language Christianity, and indeed of English-language culture altogether. It remains the most read, at least in the USA. It does not, however, reflect the most current scholarly understanding of biblical texts.
  • The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is probably the standard scholarly version of the entire Bible at the moment. It avoids most of the vices of other versions, but ends up being a little bland. It is the most ecumenical translation, produced by Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish scholars.
  • The Revised English Bible (REB) is the most "official" translation, "planned and directed by representatives of" all the major churches in the British Isles.
  • The Good News Bible (GNB) is written in a sort of English that ordinary uneducated people can understand.
  • Note that churches disagree on the contents of the Bible. The translations mentioned above are available in different editions with and without apocrypha.
  • The New American Bible (NAB) is the main American Catholic translation.
  • The Jerusalem Bible (JB) and its revisions the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) and the Revised New Jerusalem Bible are the main British Catholic translations, and the most poetic of modern versions.
  • The New International Version (NIV) is the most widely sold translation, produced by Protestant fundamentalists. It has recently been revised as Today's New International Version (TNIV).
  • Readers interested in delving into the untranslated text of the New Testament will want to know that the critical text of the Greek is the 'Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece', now in its 27th edition. It is also available with the NRSV on the facing page. More information and bibliography can be found at koiné Greek.

History of the Bible

  • McGrath, Alister (2002) In The Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture, Anchor.