The Emperor Constantine: Some Background

Time for something new, about as different from the Pentateuch as you can get while still staying in the ancient world.

I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about the Emperor Constantine over the past ten months and have decided to devote a thread to him on the blog.   His conversion to Christianity is usually considered a major turning point in the history of the Christian religion. Before he became Christian all the Roman emperors were, of course, pagan, and some ...

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Opportunity Comes Knocking!!

Here’s a unique opportunity.

Well, it’s not unique because it’s one you’ve had before.  But you get it now again!

As most of you probably know, the book I am working on, tentatively titled, The Triumph of Christianity, is about the Christianization of the Roman Empire.  How did the Christian movement grow from about 20 people soon after Jesus’ death to some 30 million people in less than four hundred years?  That’s a lot of converts!  And it’s not an easy question ...

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The Conversion of Constantine and Beyond

I am now nearly finished discussing the Prospectus that I floated before several publishers this past summer for my new book The Triumph of Christianity.   My original idea, as you will see below, was to start with the earliest disciples of Jesus, right after his death, who came to think he had been raised from the dead – I’m happy to call them the “first Christians,” even though a lot of scholars object to calling anyone “Christian” until much later; ...

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Why Christianity Succeeded

I have been laying out the Prospectus for my proposed book The Triumph of Christianity that I circulated to several publishers last summer, and I am now at the very heart of the matter, the explanation (as I saw it then) for why Christianity succeeded so massively in the Empire during its first three centuries.  Here is what I said:

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There were two key factors specific to Christianity that facilitated the growth of the Christian church.   These two factors ...

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The Early Growth of Christianity

I continue here the brief overview of the book that I’m now working on, The Triumph of Christianity.  To this point I have identified the problem that the book is trying to resolve (how Christianity grew from a small group of illiterate Jewish peasants from Galilee to becoming something like 10% of the entire Roman Empire within 300 years), some of the earlier attempts to solve the problem, and one of the fundamental issues involved, the movement from being a ...

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From Jewish Sect to Gentile Church

I have been discussing and excerpting the Prospectus I wrote this last summer on my book that I have tentatively titled, The Triumph of Christianity.  Here I discuss the beginning of the Christian mission, and how “Christianity” went from being a small Jewish sect to being a large number of gentile communities (with special emphasis on the work of Paul).

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  1. From Jew to Gentile: The Rise of Christianity (two chapters)

This section will discuss the very early years of the Christian movement ...

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Older Explanations for Why Christianity Succeeded

In yesterday’s post I indicated some of the major issues involved with the question of how Christianity managed to take over the Roman Empire, as spelled out in the Prospectus that I wrote in hopes of finding a publisher interested in signing up my book   In this post I’ll give another excerpt from the Prospectus, in which I discuss some of the common answers one can find in books and articles about the matter.   How have scholars in the modern ...

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The Triumph of Christianity: The Ultimate Question

I have begun now a new thread, which I anticipate will be a rather long one, on the book I am currently working on, which I have tentatively titled (recognizing that my tentative titles rarely actually become the title!) The Triumph of Christianity.   I indicated in my previous post that I wrote up a prospectus to give to publishers in order to see if they were interested in offering a contract for the book.  The prospectus ended up being about ...

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The New Book: The Triumph of Christianity

When my agent Roger and I decided that we might want to explore the possibility of going with a different publisher, the first step was to come up with a book proposal to shop around.   For ten years or so I had been wanting to write a particular book, but had always put it off because it had seemed like such a MAJOR undertaking.   I came to think that this was the perfect time to pursue it, to propose doing ...

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