The triumph of Christianity How a forbidden religion swept the world

Bart D. Ehrman

Book - 2018

In The Triumph of Christianity, Bart Ehrman, a master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, shows how 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. The Triumph of Christianity combines deep knowledge and meticulous research in an eye-opening, immensely readable narrative that 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.

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2nd Floor 270.1/Ehrman Due Sep 6, 2022
Subjects
Published
New York : Simon & Schuster [2018]
Edition
First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
Language
English
Item Description
Other title information from dust jacket.
Physical Description
xiv, 335 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 295-322) and index.
ISBN
9781501136702
1501136704
Main Author
Bart D. Ehrman (author)
  • The beginning of the end: the conversion of Constantine
  • Back to the beginning: the conversion and mission of Paul
  • The religious world of conversion: Roman paganism
  • Reasons for the Christian success
  • Miraculous incentives for conversion
  • The growth of the church
  • Christians under assault: persecution, martyrdom, and self-defense
  • The first Christian emperor
  • Conversion and coercion: the beginnings of a Christian empire
  • Gains and losses.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Ehrman, who has written extensively about Jesus and early Christianity, turns his attention to a question that has long puzzled historians: How could a small sect of Judaism become the most important religion in the Roman empire in a matter of only a few centuries? Many other authors, of course, have attempted answers. The value of Ehrman's book, as is so often the case with his writings, is in his ability to synthesize complex material and distill it into highly readable prose, appropriate for a general audience. Here he begins with Emperor Constantine, whose conversion in 312 CE paved the way for Christianity's acceptance throughout the Roman Empire. But, as Ehrman makes clear, Constantine was an important, but not an essential, factor because the rate at which Christianity was already overcoming paganism was growing exponentially. A number of reasons are examined: evangelism, works and miracles, the offer of expiation of sin, and the promise of heaven. And while it's impossible to come to an exact conclusion, by leading readers through the history and, yes, the mystery of conversion, Ehrman offers much to consider, including noting the diversity and religious freedom that was lost in the process. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

This is a fast-paced, highly readable, popularized account of the growth of the early Christian church by an author who has proved himself prolific in creating accounts about the rise of Christianity and its Scriptures. Ehrman (Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) draws on the work of competent, reliable scholars in the field to construct plausible, often-convincing narratives. The author highlights the contributions of individual figures, political and ecclesiastical, rather than the development of doctrine, although some of that is present, too. Naturally, Constantine proves central to the account of the organization that became persecutor where it had been fragile and often persecuted. There is even an excursus, based largely on the research of Rodney Stark, to explain the rapid expansion of Christianity in the fourth century, an expansion that had theretofore been gradual. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers.--D. A. Brown, emeritus, California State University, FullertonDaniel A. Brownemeritus, California State University, Fullerton Daniel A. Brown Choice Reviews 56:02 October 2018 Copyright 2018 American Library Association.

Review by Choice Reviews

This is a fast-paced, highly readable, popularized account of the growth of the early Christian church by an author who has proved himself prolific in creating accounts about the rise of Christianity and its Scriptures. Ehrman (Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) draws on the work of competent, reliable scholars in the field to construct plausible, often-convincing narratives. The author highlights the contributions of individual figures, political and ecclesiastical, rather than the development of doctrine, although some of that is present, too. Naturally, Constantine proves central to the account of the organization that became persecutor where it had been fragile and often persecuted. There is even an excursus, based largely on the research of Rodney Stark, to explain the rapid expansion of Christianity in the fourth century, an expansion that had theretofore been gradual. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers.--D. A. Brown, emeritus, California State University, FullertonDaniel A. Brownemeritus, California State University, Fullerton Daniel A. Brown Choice Reviews 56:02 October 2018 Copyright 2018 American Library Association.

Review by Choice Reviews

This is a fast-paced, highly readable, popularized account of the growth of the early Christian church by an author who has proved himself prolific in creating accounts about the rise of Christianity and its Scriptures. Ehrman (Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) draws on the work of competent, reliable scholars in the field to construct plausible, often-convincing narratives. The author highlights the contributions of individual figures, political and ecclesiastical, rather than the development of doctrine, although some of that is present, too. Naturally, Constantine proves central to the account of the organization that became persecutor where it had been fragile and often persecuted. There is even an excursus, based largely on the research of Rodney Stark, to explain the rapid expansion of Christianity in the fourth century, an expansion that had theretofore been gradual. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers.--D. A. Brown, emeritus, California State University, FullertonDaniel A. Brownemeritus, California State University, Fullerton Daniel A. Brown Choice Reviews 56:02 October 2018 Copyright 2018 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Remember the Sadducees? Just another Jewish sect that didn't make it. So how, in just four centuries, did Christianity grow from being the persuasion of a handful of poor peasants in the desert stretches of the Roman Empire to being its official religion? A New York Times best-selling scholar of Christianity explains. Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Triumph has a positive ring to it, yet Ehrman (religious studies, Univ. of North Carolina Chapel Hill; Misquoting Jesus) provides a decidedly neutral evaluation of Christianity. In his hands, the rise of Christianity from obscurity was neither miraculous nor a historical inevitability; it was simply unsurprising. Ehrman's study starts with two foci: the emperor Constantine and his choice to devote himself to the Christian faith; and the apostle Paul, whose interpretation of the Gospel was instrumental in the religion's trajectory. From these, the author maps out the early growth of Christianity against a detailed background of Roman society and history, seeking to explain its appeal, the reasons for an otherwise tolerant society's hostility toward it, and how that hostility missed its mark. He not only brings a clear presentation of his own views but also gives alternative interpretations a fair hearing. VERDICT Ehrman's lively and thoroughly researched volume is bound to become a standard text on early church history. It is a rare work that delivers so vast a history in such a comprehensive and coherent fashion. [See Prepub Alert, 8/13/17.]—JW Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Ehrman (Misquoting Jesus), a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, provides a lucid and convincing account of the growth of Christianity in the Roman world. He begins with a question: how to explain the phenomenal success of Christianity within a pagan empire? His answers reject the theory that Christianity's spread was due simply to Emperor Constantine's embrace of the faith or continual missionary activity (which he says didn't happen after Paul). Instead, he shows Christianity's achievements to have been the result of an incremental numbers game in which geometric progression won the day. Ehrman doesn't provide new research, but his careful synthesis of existing scholarship creates an approachable study of the early church. Strong aspects of the book include Ehrman's placing of such issues as Christian exclusivity, Christian care for plague victims, and Christian martyrdom within the context of the wider Roman ethos. The book covers much familiar ground but is well worth reading for those wishing to dispel myths around the early Christian churches. Agent: Roger Freet, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The best-selling author of Misquoting Jesus traces the history of how Christianity evolved from the faith of a handful of peasants in rural Galilee to a dominant Western religion in less than four centuries, exploring how it was nearly fated to become an obscure sect of Judaism and how it has revolutionized culture, economics and law.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Looks at how Christianity went from being an obscure sect of Judaism followed by a small group of rural peasants to being the dominant religion in the west in less than four hundred years.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

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.