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 Jewish sect to being a gentile religion.

Now I get more to the heart of the matter.  The first section below talks about how quickly the religion would have had to grow from the time of its founding to become such a large religion by the early fourth century; the next section begins to deal with the issue of how it all happened.

Again, this is all lifted directly from my original Prospectus.  Whether the book will end up being structured like this is, well, anyone’s guess….


The Rate of Growth of the Christian church:  From Jesus to Constantine and Beyond (one chapter)

This will be a relatively brief section that crunches the numbers about how many people were converting to the Christian faith from the early days (say, in the months after Jesus’ death) and over the course of the next three centuries.  Some scholars have argued that for Christianity to have become massively important by the time of the Roman emperor Constantine (the first emperor to embrace the Christian faith, in the year 312 CE, as I will discuss below), it was not necessary to have massive conversions at peak moments as in modern evangelistic campaigns (Billy Graham Crusades, and the like).  What was needed was a steady growth.  One scholar has argued that the Christian church needed to increase its numbers by about 40% per decade, from the year 40 to the time of Constantine.  Provocatively, this is almost exactly the rate of growth ….

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