Cover Image: A Secret History of Christianity

A Secret History of Christianity

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Member Reviews

4.5"intelligent, sustaining, hopeful" stars !!

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and Christan Alternative for a copy of this ebook in exchange for my honest review. This book was released in September 2019.

This was my 2019 Christmas read and I chose it at the exact right time for my spiritual development and practice. The book covers so much ground and is steeped in Ancient Israeli history, Greek Philosophy, the Gospels, depth psychology, science as a friend to spirituality, the nature of Jesus, aesthetics, poetry and everyday mysticism. Mr. Vernon captures all of these strands and weaves them into a most wonderful and museful tapestry. He invites the intuitive Christian to drop dogma and fully participate in the wonderful beauty of both earth and spirit.

There is so much here to reflect on and has deepened my faith and provides further ideas of where to glide to in my continued consciousness raising in my practices of Christian faith and Buddhist meditation.
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This is not an easy read. I got lost several times and had to double back to pick up my thread again. There were occasions when I considered giving up and I did put the book aside a few times, but I am glad I persevered. Mark Vernon is a widely read, knowledgable man but I don’t think he is a natural storyteller when the concepts he is conveying are as huge as these. I did think to put in a few quotes but out of context they wouldn’t add much to the review as the writing is all well linked into a wider narrative. 

The last Inkling (a reference to the 3 Oxford friends C S Lewis, J R R Tolkien and Owen Barfield) refers to Barfield as the often forgotten Inkling. He was less popular/famous than his friends and his writings were less easy to understand. He was involved in mysticism and consciousness and science and Mr Vernon takes all these aspects as he traces Christianity back to the very beginning elements.

The book is complex and stuffed full of facts and research and there are times when the language becomes a bit dense but it is worth persevering. There is gold here about how Christianity needs to think differently if it wants to stay relevant and how it can do so by helping people look inward and consider their own relationships with faith and meaning.

I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in return for for an honest review.
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I couldn't go on with this book. No matter how many times I tried to re read and restart it, I always ended not getting the information and feeling lost. The style just wasn't for me.
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Refreshing. Five stars! If I could give it more stars I would. Mark has transformed Jesus, the Bible, religion and God from a turgid swamp of paranoia into a refreshing breeze which wakes us up, lifts the spirits and encourages us to live fully, creatively and happily, even in the face of the myriad follies of modern life. "A Secret History of Christianity" covers sociology, philosophy, history, psychology, science, philology, theology, religion and anthropology. If you have an interest in any one of these topics you will find much to please you in this volume. Mark interweaves all these disciplines beautifully into a coherent exposition of his thesis that one must strive to enter the felt or mystical core, common to all religions but "hard to see even when plainly spelt out".  With great quotes throughout and references to Art and Poetry, Mark builds his case. Improve the clarity of your own vision. Read it.
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There is nothing "Christian" about this monograph. The author's anachronistic approach to jewish/christian texts taken out of context is simply embarrassing and anyone looking at the actual material can see right through it. Given this, it is hard to take the author as authoritative in any sense in regards to other topics.
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