History of the Catholic Church Vol. I: The Church and the World in which the Church was Founded
Msgr. Philip Hughes - PB - 344 pages
The temptation for a Church historian is to start at the beginning and work gradually through the centuries, with the second century following the first and the third following the second, and so on. Msgr. Hughes has refrained from succumbing to this temptation. He's come across a superior principle. The Church was born into the world, and the earliest portion of her history takes place in that world, which already existed. But, over time, she reconstructed that reality, and the second, very different, chapter of her life took place in that universe. He divides the first two volumes accordingly. However, he couldn't choose a single date as the dividing line for the entire territory in which she worked, because the Eastern world remained largely unchanged until Justinian I, whilst the Western world had begun to respond to her re-creative activity by the time of Constantine.
The first volume covers the Church in the West up to Constantine's conversion (312), but not in the East until Justinian I—or rather a century and a half later to allow for the completion of the Chalcedon disunion.