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Finished reading: The Christian Tradition, Vol 2: The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700) by Jaroslav Pelikan

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I picked up The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 2: The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700) (Volume 2) from an online recommendation, not really knowing what I was getting myself into. Sure, I was diving into Volume 2 of a 5-volume set, but hey, why not?

I’d heard Pelikan’s name before but really knew nothing about him. But it didn’t take long after starting the book to realize the immense brilliance of the author. The book starts with a list of primary sources, texts from the 7th – 17th centuries… that list is several pages long. (The list of secondary sources at the end is probably twice as long. Goodness.) Pelikan blessedly eschews footnotes in favor of a wide margin design where all the references are annotated in the margin, aligned with the relevant text. And goodness, there are references.

Pelikan manages pull together these sources to overview the development of Christian thought in the Eastern Church that is both detailed and accessible. In my terms, that means I couldn’t skim – had to pay attention – but it kept me interested and engaged. Which is awesome. I enjoyed it enough that I ordered Volume 1… wouldn’t be surprised if I end up with all of them by the time I’m done.

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