The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries

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9780060677015: The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries

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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From the Publisher:

"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 already 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. Greely, University of Chicago).

From the Back Cover:

"Stark has produced a provocative, insightful, challenging account of the rise of Christianity. The thesis--that Christianity was a success because it provided those who joined it with a more appealing, more assuring, happier, and perhaps longer life--may anger many readers and force all readers to stop and think. It is a marvelous exercise in the sociological imagination and a warning to those who like simple explanations--such as that Constantine was ultimately responsible for the success of Christianity when he made it the official religion of the Roman Empire." (Andrew M. Greeley, National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago)

"For years, biblical scholars and church historians have used sociological jargon to promote ideological views. Now an established sociologist has entered the fray with devastating results. This brilliant and highly provocative book will revolutionize the way people think about both biblical studies and church history. Love it or hate it, Rodney Stark's The Rise of Christianity is a book nobody interested in the study of religion can ignore." (Irving Hexham, University of Calgary)

"There is no book quite like this one on early Christian history. Many works incorporate insights from sociology, but Stark is the first sociologist to attempt to make sense of the whole. His views, stated with candor and clarity, are fresh and insightful. Whether he is speaking about the numerical growth of the Christian movement, women, social class and conversion, fertility, the martyrs, or early Christian organization, his comments are informed and his comparative data from modern religious movements illuminating. And he is no reductionist. He recognizes the importance of Christian teaching and morality in the appeal of the new movement. There is much to learn here." (Robert L. Wilken, University of Virginia)

"Rodney Stark answers the question of how early Christianity became a successful religious movement with significantly greater clarity than anyone else has achieved to date. He offers numerous sociological arguments, including the proposition that belief played a significant role." (Jeffrey K. Hadden, University of Virginia)

"Exciting and stimulating, highly readable, and full of new perspectives, Rodney Stark's book will certainly bring about a revolution in thinking about the growth in the numbers of Christians in the Roman world. The author's theoretical sophistication in sociology is a great gain for this subject." (Roger S. Bagnall, Columbia University)

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 already 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. Greely, University of Chicago). Bookseller Inventory # AAR9780060677015

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