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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.

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Genre: Religion
Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release: 2020-06-23
File: Pages
ISBN-13: 9780691214290

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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).

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Genre: Religion
Author: Rodney Stark
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release: 1997-05-09
File: 272 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780060677015

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Discusses the rise of Christianity including the Christian revolution, its Jewish roots, Jesus, Constantine's revolution, and the Christianization of Europe.

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Genre: History
Author: Don Nardo
Publisher:
Release: 2001
File: 112 Pages
ISBN-13: 1560068086

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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

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Genre: Religion
Author: Jan N. Bremmer
Publisher: Barkhuis
Release: 2010
File: 86 Pages
ISBN-13: 9789077922705

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Within the context of Religion and Christianity, this book examines in context the number one historical figure of all-time. This book encompasses all you need to know about Jesus' life and teachings beginning with his birth and ending with his ascension.

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Genre:
Author: Philip Rodney McFarland
Publisher:
Release: 2010-06
File: 556 Pages
ISBN-13: 0615372252

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THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY. FOREWORD TO THE THIRD IMPRESSION: IN the second impression of this book a few misprints and mistakes were corrected. But few specific errors had been mentioned even in hostile reviews. A number of these criticized the bibliography as partial to antiquated authors and ideas. My critics failed to notice that the brief list of books cited is for readers, knowing only English, who may wish to extend their knowledge of the subject and, most probably, to contrast my conclusions with an earlier type of apologetic. I make no refer ence to authorities whose works are only available in French or German, nor do I mention recent English linguistic enquiries which I find unconvincing. Some analytical work produced on the Continent during the last fifteen years seems to me both more sound in its judgment and more free from inhibitions than that which has gained esteem in England. Complaint has been made that readers can hardly find in the book such words as Trinity, Incarnation, and supernatural. None of these words occurs in the New Testament, and they belong to theology rather than to history. The postulate of the finite-scale uniformity of nature has been assailed by a number of theologians but, so far as I have ob served, by no competent man of science. The theologians have written with a conviction which is not always according to knowledge. E. W. B.Contents include: CHAPTER I THE REMOTE BACKGROUND OF CHRISTIANITY PAGE 1. The beginning of man ...... i 2. Palaeolithic man ....... i 3. Neolithic man 2 4. The Bronze Age 3 5. Early burials ........ 4 6. The Sumerians ....... 4 7-Egypt 5 8. Progress and decay Egypt and Babylonia . . 6 9. The religions of Mesopotamia andEgypt 6 10. Egyptian religion ....... 7 1 1 . Sumerian-Semitic religion ..... 8 12. Akhenaten ........ 9 13. - Syria in the time of Moses . . . . .10 14. Early Hebrew history 11 15. Moses and the Hebrew invasion of Palestine . . 11 1 6. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah . ., .12 17. Assyria 12 18. Persia 13 19. The Persian empire ...... 14 20. The Jews under Persian rule . . . . 5 21. The formation of the Old Testament -. . - 15 22. The worship of Jehovah . . . . . 17 23. The Hebrew prophets . . . . . 17 24. The background of ethical monotheism . . .18 25. Zoroaster . . . . . . . .18 26. The originality of the Hebrew prophets . . 19 CHAPTER n THE MEDITERRANEAN WORLD L The Eastern Mediterranean 27 Crete ... 21 28. Mycenaean civilization 21 29. The Greeks .22 30. Greek science and philosophy ..... 122 31. Greek fertility and its exhaustion .... 24 32. Greek religion and morality ..... 24 33. Alexander the Great ...... 25 34. Hellenistic civilization ...... 25 35. Palestine after Alexander ...... 26 36. The Maccabaean revolt . . . . . .27 37. Judaea, Rome and Herod ..... 28 38. The influence of Greece on Judaism .... 29 39. The Apocrypha ....... 30 40. The Septuagint ....... 30 41 . The influence of Greece on Christianity . . 31 42. The Logos doctrine, . . . ., .32 43. Christianity and Greek culture ..... 33 44. Judaism in the time of Christ 34 45. The pharisees ... 35 46. The sadducees ....... 36 47. The pharisees and Christianity ..... 36 48. Judaism and Jewish sects . . . . . - 37 . The Western Mediterranean 49. The Etruscans ....... 38 50. The Etruscan legacy to Rome ..... 39 51. The Carthaginians ....... 39 52. The sources of Carthaginian power .... 40 53. The struggle with Rome ......41 54. Carthaginian culture ...... 41 55. Carthaginian religion ...... 42 56. The Punic stock ....... 42 57. The Romans ....., ., 43 58. The Roman character ...... 44 59. The winning of world control . ., . 44 60. The price of victory, ., . . 45 6 1. Augustus and the Julio-Claudians .... 46 62. Roman religion ...... f 47 63. The divine element in man 48 64. Roman religion and Christianity, ., 48 CHAPTER III THE MYSTERY-RELIGIONS PAGE 65. The nature of a mystery-religion .... 50 66. The mysteries were sacramental ......

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Genre: Religion
Author: Ernest William Barnes
Publisher: Geikie Press
Release: 2008-11
File: 376 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781443727273

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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.

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Genre: History
Author: Leif E. Vaage
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press
Release: 2006-04-21
File: 324 Pages
ISBN-13: UVA:X004904592

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An outstanding resource for high school readers and first-year college students, this book explores early Christianity from its beginnings in the first century through the fourth century when Christianity went from a persecuted faith to the only legalized faith in the Roman Empire. • Provides readers with a broad understanding of early Christianity from the time of Jesus to the fall of Rome and an appreciation for how early Christian communities spread throughout the Empire • Examines a number of key topics that relate to the varied communities that made up early Christianity • Provides readers with multiple primary documents in order to better understand early Christianity and offer opportunities to apply their critical thinking skills • Supports NCHS World History content standards for Era 3, Standard 3B

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Genre: Religion
Author: Kevin W. Kaatz
Publisher: ABC-CLIO
Release: 2015-12-07
File: 212 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781610698085

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Genre: Christianity
Author:
Publisher:
Release: 1974
File: Pages
ISBN-13: UVA:X000959213

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Genre:
Author: Frederick Owen Norton
Publisher:
Release: 1926
File: 269 Pages
ISBN-13: IOWA:31858047967140

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