The Rise of Christianity

The Rise of Christianity
Author: Rodney Stark
Publsiher: Harper Collins
Total Pages: 272
Release: 1997-05-09
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9780060677015

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This "fresh, blunt, and highly persuasive account of how the West was won—for Jesus" (Newsweek) is now available in paperback. Stark's provocative report challenges conventional wisdom and finds that Christianity's astounding dominance of the Western world arose from its offer of a better, more secure way of life. "Compelling reading" (Library Journal) that is sure to "generate spirited argument" (Publishers Weekly), this account of Christianity's remarkable growth within the Roman Empire is the subject of much fanfare. "Anyone who has puzzled over Christianity's rise to dominance...must read it." says Yale University's Wayne A. Meeks, for The Rise of Christianity makes a compelling case for startling conclusions. Combining his expertise in social science with historical evidence, and his insight into contemporary religion's appeal, Stark finds that early Christianity attracted the privileged rather than the poor, that most early converts were women or marginalized Jews—and ultimately "that Christianity was a success because it proved those who joined it with a more appealing, more assuring, happier, and perhaps longer life" (Andrew M. Greeley, University of Chicago).

The Rise of Christianity

The Rise of Christianity
Author: Rodney Stark
Publsiher: Princeton University Press
Total Pages: 256
Release: 2020-06-16
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9780691214290

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The idea that Christianity started as a clandestine movement among the poor is a widely accepted notion. Yet it is one of many myths that must be discarded if we are to understand just how a tiny messianic movement on the edge of the Roman Empire became the dominant faith of Western civilization. In a fast-paced, highly readable book that addresses beliefs as well as historical facts, Rodney Stark brings a sociologist's perspective to bear on the puzzle behind the success of early Christianity. He comes equipped not only with the logic and methods of social science but also with insights gathered firsthand into why people convert and how new religious groups recruit members. He digs deep into the historical evidence on many issues--such as the social background of converts, the mission to the Jews, the status of women in the church, the role of martyrdom--to provide a vivid and unconventional account of early Christianity. The author plots the most plausible curve of Christian growth from the year 40 to 300. By the time of Constantine, Christianity had become a considerable force, with growth patterns very similar to those of modern-day successful religious movements. An unusual number of Christian converts, for example, came from the educated, cosmopolitan classes. Because it offered a new perspective on familiar concepts and was not linked to ethnicity, Christianity had a large following among persons seeking to assimilate into the dominant culture, mainly Hellenized Jews. The oversupply of women in Christian communities--due partly to the respect and protection they received--led to intermarriages with pagans, hence more conversions, and to a high fertility rate. Stark points out, too, the role played by selflessness and faith. Amidst the epidemics, fires, and other disasters that beleaguered Greco-Roman cities, Christian communities were a stronghold of mutual aid, which resulted in a survival rate far greater than that of the pagans. In the meantime, voluntary martyrdom, especially a generation after the death of Christ, reinforced the commitment of the Christian rank and file. What Stark ultimately offers is a multifaceted portrait of early Christianity, one that appeals to practical reasoning, historical curiosity, and personal reflection.

The Rise of Christianity

The Rise of Christianity
Author: W. H. C. Frend
Publsiher: Fortress Press
Total Pages: 1022
Release: 1984-01-01
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 145141952X

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Traces the early history of the Christian church from Jewish Palestine prior to Christ's birth to the sixth century monastic movement, and explains how Christianity survived under a variety of cultures

The Emergence of Christianity

The Emergence of Christianity
Author: Cynthia White
Publsiher: Fortress Press
Total Pages: 220
Release: 2010-10-01
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9780800697471

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This brief survey text tells the story of early Christianity. Cynthia White explores the emergence of Christianity in Rome during the first four centuries of the Greco-Roman empire, from the first followers of Jesus Christ, to conflicts between Christians and Jewish kings under Roman occupation, to the torture of Christian followers, Diocletian's reforms, and Constantine's eventual conversion to monotheism, which cemented Christianity's status as the official religion of Rome. The text's chapters will integrate key pedagogy, including introductions, study questions, textboxes, photos, maps, suggested readings, and a glossary and timeline.

Pagans

Pagans
Author: James J. O'Donnell
Publsiher: Harper Collins
Total Pages: 288
Release: 2015-03-17
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780062370716

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A provocative and contrarian religious history that charts the rise of Christianity from the point of view of traditional” religion from the religious scholar and critically acclaimed author of Augustine. Pagans explores the rise of Christianity from a surprising and unique viewpoint: that of the people who witnessed their ways of life destroyed by what seemed then a powerful religious cult. These “pagans” were actually pious Greeks, Romans, Syrians, and Gauls who observed the traditions of their ancestors. To these devout polytheists, Christians who worshipped only one deity were immoral atheists who believed that a splash of water on the deathbed could erase a lifetime of sin. Religious scholar James J. O’Donnell takes us on a lively tour of the Ancient Roman world through the fourth century CE, when Romans of every nationality, social class, and religious preference found their world suddenly constrained by rulers who preferred a strange new god. Some joined this new cult, while others denied its power, erroneously believing it was little more than a passing fad. In Pagans, O’Donnell brings to life various pagan rites and essential features of Roman religion and life, offers fresh portraits of iconic historical figures, including Constantine, Julian, and Augustine, and explores important themes—Rome versus the east, civilization versus barbarism, plurality versus unity, rich versus poor, and tradition versus innovation—in this startling account.

The Rise of Christianity Through the Eyes of Gibbon Harnack and Rodney Stark

The Rise of Christianity Through the Eyes of Gibbon  Harnack and Rodney Stark
Author: Jan N. Bremmer
Publsiher: Barkhuis
Total Pages: 86
Release: 2010
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9789077922705

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The rise of Christianity up to the victory of Constantine has often been studied and remains a puzzling phenomenon. In this valedictory lecture Jan N. Bremmer concentrates on the explanations adduced, focusing in particular on the works of three iconic figures from the last two hundred and fifty years: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire of Edward Gibbon, the most famous ancient historian of all time, at the end of the eighteenth century; Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums of Adolf von Harnack, the greatest historian of early Christianity of all time, around 1900, and The Rise of Christianity of Rodney Stark, the most adventurous sociologist of religion of our times, at the end of the twentieth century.Bremmer locates their concerns and explanations within their own times, but also takes them seriously as scholars, discussing their analyses and approaches. In this way he shows both the continuities and the innovations in the evolving view which scholarship presents of early Christianity. Bremmer's exceptional knowledge of the huge range of scholarship and his humane and balanced judgment make this lecture the ideal introduction to the many problems raised by Christianity's displacement of paganism

Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity

Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity
Author: Paul Barnett
Publsiher: InterVarsity Press
Total Pages: 448
Release: 2002-04-17
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 0830826998

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Paul Barnett not only places the New Testament within the world of caesars and Herods, proconsuls and Pharisees, Sadducee and revolutionaries, but argues that the mainspring and driving force of early Christian history is the historical Jesus.

The Triumph of Christianity

The Triumph of Christianity
Author: Rodney Stark
Publsiher: Harper Collins
Total Pages: 512
Release: 2011-10-25
Genre: Social Science
ISBN: 9780062098702

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Celebrated religious and social historian Rodney Starktraces the extraordinary rise of Christianity through its most pivotal andcontroversial moments to offer fresh perspective on the history of the world’slargest religion. In The Triumph of Christianity, the author of God’sBattalions and The Rise of Christianity gathers and refines decadesof powerful research and discovery into one concentrated, concise, and highlyreadable volume that explores Christianity’s most crucial episodes. The uniqueformat of Triumph of Christianity allows Stark to avoid densechronologies and difficult back stories, bringing readers right to the heart ofChristian history’s most vital controversies and enduring lessons.

From Jesus to Christ

From Jesus to Christ
Author: Paula Fredriksen
Publsiher: Yale University Press
Total Pages: 288
Release: 2008-10-01
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9780300164107

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"Magisterial. . . . A learned, brilliant and enjoyable study."—Géza Vermès, Times Literary Supplement In this exciting book, Paula Fredriksen explains the variety of New Testament images of Jesus by exploring the ways that the new Christian communities interpreted his mission and message in light of the delay of the Kingdom he had preached. This edition includes an introduction reviews the most recent scholarship on Jesus and its implications for both history and theology. "Brilliant and lucidly written, full of original and fascinating insights."—Reginald H. Fuller, Journal of the American Academy of Religion "This is a first-rate work of a first-rate historian."—James D. Tabor, Journal of Religion "Fredriksen confronts her documents—principally the writings of the New Testament—as an archaeologist would an especially rich complex site. With great care she distinguishes the literary images from historical fact. As she does so, she explains the images of Jesus in terms of the strategies and purposes of the writers Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John."—Thomas D’Evelyn, Christian Science Monitor

The Rise of Normative Christianity

The Rise of Normative Christianity
Author: Arland J. Hultgren
Publsiher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
Total Pages: 224
Release: 2004-07-05
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9781592447381

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More than fifty years ago, Walter Bauer's 'Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity' undercut the traditional views on the making of orthodox Christianity by arguing that in several geographic areas, heresy preceded orthodoxy. Subsequently, the ancient documents discovered at Nag Hammadi proved that early Christianity was tremendously diverse. These influences have given rise to the notion that the various gnostic interpretations are mere alternatives to more traditional interpretations of Jesus and his significance. Using a focused but broad definition of normative Christianity, Hultgren contends that such a tradition originated at the very beginnings of the Christian movements, developed, and came to dominate as the most adequate expression of Jesus' legacy. Normative Christianity - a stream as wide as the New Testament canon - forged a coherence between confession of faith and community ethos that could endure and was the basis for later orthodoxy.

The Patient Ferment of the Early Church

The Patient Ferment of the Early Church
Author: Alan Kreider
Publsiher: Baker Academic
Total Pages: 336
Release: 2016-03-29
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9781493400331

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How and why did the early church grow in the first four hundred years despite disincentives, harassment, and occasional persecution? In this unique historical study, veteran scholar Alan Kreider delivers the fruit of a lifetime of study as he tells the amazing story of the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Challenging traditional understandings, Kreider contends the church grew because the virtue of patience was of central importance in the life and witness of the early Christians. They wrote about patience, not evangelism, and reflected on prayer, catechesis, and worship, yet the church grew--not by specific strategies but by patient ferment.

Religious Rivalries in the Early Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity

Religious Rivalries in the Early Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity
Author: Leif E. Vaage,Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion
Publsiher: Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press
Total Pages: 324
Release: 2006-04-21
Genre: History
ISBN: UVA:X004904592

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Takes a look at the religious dimension of life in one Roman city Caesarea Maritima, on the Mediterranean coast of Judea. This volume studies religious groups as part of the dynamic process of social interaction, spanning a spectrum from coexistence, through competition and rivalry, to open conflict.

The Family in Late Antiquity

The Family in Late Antiquity
Author: Geoffrey Nathan
Publsiher: Routledge
Total Pages: 288
Release: 2002-01-08
Genre: History
ISBN: 9781134706686

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The Family in Late Antiquity offers a challenging, well-argued and coherent study of the family in the late Roman world and the influence of the emerging Christian religion on its structure and value. Before the Roman Empire's political disintegration in the west, enormous political, religious and cultural changes took place in the period of late antiquity. This book is the first comprehensive study of the family in the later Roman Empire, from approximately 300 AD to 550 AD. Geoffrey Nathan analyses the classical Roman family as well as early Christian notions of this most basic unit of social organisation. Using these models as a contextual backdrop, he then explores marriage, children, domestic servitude, and other familial institutions in late antiquity. He brings together a diverse collection of sources, transcending traditional studies that have centred on the legal record.

The Triumph of Christianity

The Triumph of Christianity
Author: Bart D. Ehrman
Publsiher: Simon and Schuster
Total Pages: 352
Release: 2018-02-13
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9781501136726

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The “marvelous” (Reza Aslan, bestselling author of Zealot), New York Times bestselling story of how Christianity became the dominant religion in the West. How did a religion whose first believers were twenty or so illiterate day laborers in a remote part of the empire became the official religion of Rome, converting some thirty million people in just four centuries? In The Triumph of Christianity, early Christian historian Bart D. Ehrman weaves the rigorously-researched answer to this question “into a vivid, nuanced, and enormously readable narrative” (Elaine Pagels, National Book Award-winning author of The Gnostic Gospels), showing how a handful of charismatic characters used a brilliant social strategy and an irresistible message to win over hearts and minds one at a time. This “humane, thoughtful and intelligent” book (The New York Times Book Review) upends the way we think about the single most important cultural transformation our world has ever seen—one that revolutionized art, music, literature, philosophy, ethics, economics, and law.

The Darkening Age

The Darkening Age
Author: Catherine Nixey
Publsiher: HarperCollins
Total Pages: 368
Release: 2018-04-17
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780544800939

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A New York Times Notable Book, winner of the Jerwood Award from the Royal Society of Literature, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and named a Book of the Year by the Telegraph, Spectator, Observer, and BBC History Magazine, this bold new history of the rise of Christianity shows how its radical followers helped to annihilate Greek and Roman civilizations. The Darkening Age is the largely unknown story of how a militant religion deliberately attacked and suppressed the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in centuries of unquestioning adherence to "one true faith." Despite the long-held notion that the early Christians were meek and mild, going to their martyrs' deaths singing hymns of love and praise, the truth, as Catherine Nixey reveals, is very different. Far from being meek and mild, they were violent, ruthless, and fundamentally intolerant. Unlike the polytheistic world, in which the addition of one new religion made no fundamental difference to the old ones, this new ideology stated not only that it was the way, the truth, and the light but that, by extension, every single other way was wrong and had to be destroyed. From the first century to the sixth, those who didn't fall into step with its beliefs were pursued in every possible way: social, legal, financial, and physical. Their altars were upturned and their temples demolished, their statues hacked to pieces, and their priests killed. It was an annihilation. Authoritative, vividly written, and utterly compelling, this is a remarkable debut from a brilliant young historian.