An engaging history of Christianity in the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries. Markus demonstrates effectively that the period between Augustine and Gregory the Great saw the transition from ancient Christianity in a secular culture to medieval Christianity and a religious culture. Thus the book depicts and explains the birth of what we call Christendom, a thing in which Christianity, politics, and culture come together. Particularly enjoyable are the analyses of developing asceticism and the emergence of the cult of martyrs; and the section on Augustine is invaluable because it sets him so firmly in his broader historical and ecclesiastical contexts. 258 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
This study is concerned with one, central historical problem: the nature of the changes that transformed the intellectual and spiritual horizons of the Christian world from its establishment in the fourth century to the end of the sixth. Why, for example, were the assumptions, attitudes and traditions of Gregory the Great so markedly different from those of Augustine? The End of Ancient Christianity examines how Christians, who had formerly constituted a threatened and beleaguered minority, came to define their identity in a changed context of religious respectability in which their faith had become a source of privilege, prestige and power. Professor Markus reassesses the cult of the martyrs and the creation of schemes of sacred time and sacred space, and analyzes the appeal of asceticism and its impact on the Church at large. These changes form part of a fundamental transition, perhaps best described as the shift from "Ancient" toward "Medieval" forms of Christianity; from an older and more diverse secular culture towards a religious culture with a firm Biblical basis.