Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Latourette (1953): Dividing the History of Christianity into Eight Meaningful Periods

To better understanding the Bible and theology, history and culture, ourselves and our world, we may divide history into different periods of time. For centuries Christians, for example, divided history into two primary periods of time: Before Christ (BC) and Anno Domini (AD).

Kenneth Scott Latourette (1884-1968) taught at the Yale University Divinity School from 1921 to 1953. In his two-volume work, A History of Christianity (Peabody, Massachusetts: Prince Press, 1999; originally published by Harper & Brothers, 1953), he divided the years AD into eight distinct periods. Looking at the broad titles he gives these periods, and the years he includes in each, will help us to improve our own understanding of this shared history.

1. “The First Five Hundred Years: Christianity Wins the Roman Empire and Takes Shape [A.D. 1-500]” (v)

2. “The Darkest Hours: The Great Recession, A.D. 500-A.D. 950” (v)

3. “Four Centuries of Resurgence and Advance, A.D.  95-A.D. 1350 (vi)

4. “Geographic Loss and Internal Lassitude, Confusion, and Corruption, Partly Offset by Vigorous Life, A.D. 1350-A.D. 1500” (vi)

5. “Reform and Expansion, A.D. 1500- A.D. 1750” (vii)

6. “Repudiation and Revival, A.D. 1750- A.D. 1815” (vii)

7. “The Great Century: Growing Repudiation Paralleled by Abounding Vitality and Unprecedented Expansion, A.D. 1815- A.D. 1914” (vii)

8. “Vigour amidst Storm, A.D. 1914- A.D. 1952” (viii)