Who Were The “Pagans” Christians Were Converting?

PART TWO of FOUR: Pagan Converts and the Power of God

This is the second lecture I gave at the Smithsonian on Feb. 10, 2018, based on my book The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept the World.  The premise behind the lecture: as Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, it converted almost entirely pagans (after the first couple of decades).   Who were these people, and what were they converting *from*?  And why?

Paganism is not and was ...

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Christianity’s Most Important Convert: Lecture at the Smithsonian

PART ONE of FOUR: Christianity’s Most Important Convert: The Apostle Paul

In February 2018 I gave a series of four lectures for the Smithsonian Associates in Washington DC, based on my book The Triumph of Christianity.   It was a bit tricky, as these things always are, figuring out which parts of the book to focus on, since each lecture could really be only on one thing, not lots of things.  I decided to give the first lecture on the most important ...

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Revelation as a Blueprint for our Future

I’ve been talking about how the book of Revelation has been interpreted by modern conservative Christians.  Isn’t it telling us what will happen in our own near future??    Here is how I will address the issue, in short, in my book on Revelation, assuming that I go ahead with the project and Armageddon doesn’t happen first.

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In Contrast: Scholars and the Book of Revelation

Not only are these futuristic readings of Revelation contrary to the history of Christian ...

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I’ve been talking about how the book of Revelation has been interpreted by modern conservative Christians.  Isn’t it telling us what will happen in our own near future??    Here is how I will address the issue, in short, in my book on Revelation, assuming that I go ahead with the project and Armageddon doesn’t happen first.

*********************************************************************************

In Contrast: Scholars and the Book of Revelation

Not only are these futuristic readings of Revelation contrary to the history of Christian interpretation, ...

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The Odd Modern Way of Reading the Book of Revelation

 

Back to my possible trade book on the book of Revelation and the way it has affected not just modern conservative Christianity but also secular society (literature, film) and political policy (environmental legislation; second Amendment discussions; policy on the Middle East).   In my description-to-myself of what I’m imagining the book to be, after discussing these various effects of Revelation, I start talking about Revelation itself, and how it came to be read as a blueprint for our future (a reading ...

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Armageddon and American Politics

As I indicated at the beginning of this thread, I am in the process of thinking my way into the next trade book, which I think will be on the book of Revelation and how it has been read by modern fundamentalists, who think it is predicting what is going to happen in our own world very soon, and how that reading has immigrated into, and even infested, the wider culture, the actual secular world, both socially and politically.

I said ...

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Secular Versions of the Coming Apocalypse

I have been describing my ideas about the book I’m proposing to write, tentatively called Expecting the Apocalypse.  In the past couple of posts I’ve talked about the heightened expectation that the world would be ending soon with the return of Jesus, an originally fundamentalist Christian view that started off in the 19th century and that has moved into much broader circles in American culture.   Part of my book will be looking not only at this religious view, but also ...

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Fundamentalist Visions of the End of the World

I have started to explain what I’m hoping my next trade book will be, focusing on the book of Revelation and its effect on modern thinking about the End of the World soon to come.   I’m tentatively calling the book Expecting Armageddon, and it would roughly cover three areas:  the religious expectation that God’s judgment is right around the corner – for example in the fundamentalist belief of an imminent “rapture”; the secular versions of this idea, that the world ...

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Expecting the Apocalypse: My Idea for the Book

Instead of one long (and possibly laborious) thread on my current research for my scholarly monograph on Otherworldly Journeys, I’ve decided to talk about that work sporadically, here and there on the blog, over the course of the next couple of months.   I would like to give a greater focus on the books I’m working on for a general audience.

As I have mentioned, I have two in view just now and am in the process of planning them.  I don’t ...

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An Early Otherworldly Journey

Back to my scholarly monograph on Otherworldly Journeys.   I pointed out in previous posts that when scholars became particularly interested in these various accounts in ancient Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Christian circles, they were particularly intrigued with the question of where the idea came from, that a living person could see the realms of the dead.  I then devoted a couple of posts to exploring why, in the 19th century, this was a matter of such interest.

I don’t at all ...

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