I have learned a lot in my personal research into the history of Christianity. I have even learned something about the history of history. There have been writers throughout the ages that have attempted to capture the facts about what really happened so that we who came later could know about them. However, the writers themselves always influence our understanding of the past. Each writer has their own perspective on what should be included or omitted, and how each topic should be presented. It has been interesting to me to read about the same persons or events in multiple historical resources, and then observe how differently the same topics are covered by different authors.
Someone has said that history is an account of the past written by the winners. The historical perspectives that have not prevailed are often not well documented for us today. Thus, much of the church history available to us now is reflective only of those trends in Christian thought and practice that align with the accepted mainstream.
The change in historical perspective over the years has led me to seek out Christian history books that were written a few generations ago. I have found a few such books in antique stores, but they are hard to find. So I was delighted this past weekend to receive the Manual of Church History as a gift. This book was originally written in German by Henry Guericke in 1833, and later translated into English for publication in the USA in 1881. It covers the first six centuries of church history. I am really looking forward to getting into its contents and then sharing my discoveries with all of you.