By Rodney Stark

How did the preaching of a peasant wood worker from Galilee spark a circulate that will develop to incorporate over billion fans? Who listened to this "good news," and who missed it? the place did Christianity unfold, and the way? in accordance with quantitative information and the newest scholarship, preeminent student and journalist Rodney Stark offers new and startling information regarding the increase of the early church, overturning many triumphing perspectives of ways Christianity grew via time to turn into the biggest faith within the world.

Drawing on either archaeological and old proof, Stark is ready to supply tough statistical facts at the non secular lifetime of the Roman Empire to find the next evidence that set traditional heritage on its head:

* opposite to fictions comparable to The Da Vinci Code and the claims of a few sought after students, Gnosticism used to be now not a extra refined, extra genuine kind of Christianity, yet particularly an unsuccessful attempt to paganize Christianity.

* Paul used to be referred to as the apostle to the Gentiles, yet as a rule he switched over Jews.

* Paganism used to be now not quickly stamped out by way of nation repression following the imaginative and prescient and conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine in 312 advert, yet progressively disappeared as humans deserted the temples according to some of the best allure of Christianity.

* The "oriental" faiths—such as these dedicated to Isis, the Egyptian goddess of affection and magic, and to Cybele, the fertility goddess of Asia Minor—actually ready the best way for the fast unfold of Christianity around the Roman Empire.

* opposite to generations of historians, the Roman secret cult of Mithraism posed no problem to Christianity to develop into the recent religion of the empire— it allowed no woman participants and attracted basically soldiers.

By studying concrete info, Stark is ready to problem the traditional knowledge approximately early Christianity delivering the clearest photo ever of the way this faith grew from its humble beginnings into the religion of greater than one-third of the earth's population.

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Extra info for Cities of God: The Real Story of How Christianity Became an Urban Movement and Conquered Rome

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But in the fog of battle, Cassius mistakenly believed Brutus’s forces had been crushed, dooming their side to defeat. Rather than face certain execution, he committed suicide. When battle was resumed, Antony made good Octavian’s earlier setback and went on to rout the remaining forces of Caesar’s assassins. Faced with either surrendering or killing himself, Brutus joined Cassius in choosing the latter solution. Octavian and Antony emerged from Philippi in virtually undisputed command of Rome’s empire.

He recruited “no small army, both of strangers and of his own countrymen” to begin his campaign to remove Antigonus from the throne in Jerusalem and perch upon it himself. He marched his forces into Galilee, not far from where he had made landfall, to recruit more fighters and prepare for his operations. But he immediately had to contend with a preexisting problem. Under renewed Roman pressure, the Parthian invaders were proving a less formidable adversary in Judaea than they had earlier been. But hostility to Rome’s dominance, and to Herod personally, among his prospective subjects remained implacable.

Once more, a new master appeared on the scene, and he had to earn his favor. At Philippi in Greece, the Roman civil war sparked by Julius Caesar’s assassination was brought to a violent conclusion. The forces of Octavian and Mark Antony caught up with the legions gathered there by Brutus and Cassius. Poorly led, Octavian’s troops were routed by Brutus’s, and he was forced to hide in a swamp to avoid capture. But in the fog of battle, Cassius mistakenly believed Brutus’s forces had been crushed, dooming their side to defeat.

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