The Early Church by Henry Chadwick
I read the first 60 pages or so this Sunday. I enjoyed Owen Chadwick’s history of the Reformation which is part of the same series (The Penguin History of the Church) so I figured I’d give his brother’s book a try. It’s an interesting read so far but I find that Chadwick (Henry, that is) is a little too ready to dismiss the idea that there was a fundamental change in character between the first and second generations of Christians, viz. a shift to an institutional model based around bishops from something more volatile and vigorous. He doesn’t provide much evidence for this, however. The book is written in the usual style where things are mentioned early in broad contexts and discussed in more detail later so it’s entirely possible that the issue will be dealt with in detail later in the book.