PROFILES IN BELIEF: The Religious Bodies of the United States and Canada VoL I: Roman Catholic--OM Catholic-Eastern Orthodox by Arthur Carl Piepkorn

PROFILES IN BELIEF: The Religious Bodies of the United States and Canada VoL I: Roman Catholic--OM Catholic-Eastern Orthodox

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This book does not deal--as the word ""profile"" might suggest--with the current convictions and commitments of individuals and groups elicited by interview or survey. It deals with the formally stated beliefs of the church bodies of the US and Canada, and does so historically. With a base line early in the 5th century, when substantial parts of the Christian society began to differ with each other over credal formulations, the author traces the changes and developments in these organizations and statements down to the present day, and does so in sufficient detail to account for the church bodies currently in existence. This first volume is concerned with the non-Protestant churches and divides them (the volume title is misleading) as follows: l) the churches of the East, which broke off before the split between Rome and Constantinople (i.e. Syrian, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian); 2) Eastern Orthodox (Greek, Russian, etc.); and, 3) the Roman Catholic Church, and churches derived from it since the Reformation, including the Old Catholic community. In current US terms, this means there are three different Armenian church organizations in category 1; four Roumanian Orthodox church organizations in category 2; and in category 3, the Polish National Church alone has a membership of 285,000. But this is not just a book which lets the reader into the life of the towering onion-topped dome he sees from the thruway. Over 200 pages, for example, comprise a capsule history of the Roman Catholic Church. It sticks closely to its task (though noting that the 1139 Lateran Council forbade the use of catapults and arrows in warfare as too lethal), and manages to relate the smaller bodies to its coherent account of the dominant trend. The book thus provides a useful and authoritative background to the directory and statistics approach of the ""Yearbook of the American Churches.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1977
Publisher: Harper & Row