The Triumph of Christianity

The Triumph of Christianity

How A Forbidden Religion Swept the World

Book - 2018
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In The Triumph of Christianity, Bart Ehrman, a master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, shows how a religion whose first believers were twenty or so illiterate day laborers in a remote part of the empire became the official religion of Rome, converting some thirty million people in just four centuries. The Triumph of Christianity combines deep knowledge and meticulous research in an eye-opening, immensely readable narrative that upends the way we think about the single most important cultural transformation our world has ever seen - one that revolutionized art, music, literature, philosophy, ethics, economics, and law.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2018
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781501136702
Branch Call Number: 270.1 C7661E 2018
Characteristics: xiv, 335 pages ; 24 cm


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🎚The title reminds one of Gibbon's "Decline and Fall," which has a chapter titled, "The Triumph of Religion and Barbarism."

Sep 16, 2018

I’ve read plenty of Dr. Ehrman’s books now, and I know some things he’ll say in almost every one. When the pool of primary sources is small, there’s bound to be some repetition - I’ve long come to terms with that! But I was pleasantly surprised to find that large sections of this history were new to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Ehrman tells the story of how Christianity progressed to become the dominant religion of Europe, west Asia, and north Africa. He details the story of Constantine’s conversion in more detail than I’ve ever seen in any other source. This is possible because Constantine’s reign was well-documented, especially by the standards of the day, but the parts that relate to Constantine’s ascension to the Emperor of the Roman Empire have not been explained to me before. It was welcome and refreshing to add to my understanding of that period of history.

Ehrman also brings in the vast differences in worldview between how we think of pagans now (except among pagans ourselves) and the way things actually were. He gets across how performative ritual was critical, and how it was considered perfectly fine to be devoted to one particular God. The difference in the Abrahamic faiths is that they now (although perhaps not in the distant past) expect a kind of religious monogamy of thought. At first, many pagans may have done as Hindus tend to do today: take the Christ as a new god and add him to the pantheon. It was only later that the exclusivity kicked in.

It was sad for me reading about the end of the pagan age in Europe. So much was lost. Ehrman repeatedly says that he makes no judgment as to whether the ascension of Christianity was a good thing or not. I am not so restrained: I think that it was a tragedy for diversity of worldview around the world. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning just how a small cult from an unstable region became the western world’s dominant faith. Five of five stars.

Aug 05, 2018

This book by one of the most important writers on the topic finally answered a long-time query: how Christianity grew from a small cult to a state religion. Learned, engaging, clear and relevant.

Mar 12, 2018

another review:
"‘The Triumph of Christianity’ review: Bart D. Ehrman’s book charts the rise of a world religion"
by Paul W. Gleason, February 15, 2018 Special to Newsday


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