[illness Books] Epub Cities of God The Real Story of How Christianity Became an Urban Movement and Conuered Rome by Rodney Stark – PDF, eBook & Kindle free

Rodney Stark ✓ 6 Summary

How did the preaching of a peasant carpenter from Galilee spark a movement that would grow to include over two billion followers Who listened to this good news and who ignored it Where did Christianity spread and how Based on uantitative data and the latest scholarship preeminent scholar and journalist Rodney Stark presents new and startling information about the rise of the early church overturning many prevailing views of how Christianity grew through time to become the largest religion in the worldDrawing on both archaeological and historical evidence Stark is able to provide hard statistical evidence on the religious life of the Rom. Like his previous books this one is well worth readingStark disproves many currently popular views about early Christianity such as Christians forced paganism out of existence and pagan beliefs produced Christian thought Stark also debunks the myth that Gnosticism represents a authentic Christianity He shows that Gnostic writers are known to have gathered only small schools of devotees They were not an alternative Christianity They were paganism s attempt to paganize ChristianityI was interested to read his view that the faith spread not because of the promise of reward hereafter but because of the way it could provide an antidote to life s miseries here and now The truly revolutionary aspect of Christianity lay in moral imperatives And it mostly spread not by missionaries but by personal contact among friends neighbors and coworkers

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Cities of God The Real Story of How Christianity Became an Urban Movement and Conuered Rome

E devoted to Isis the Egyptian goddess of love and magic and to Cybele the fertility goddess of Asia Minor actually prepared the way for the rapid spread of Christianity across the Roman EmpireContrary to generations of historians the Roman mystery cult of Mithraism posed no challenge to Christianity to become the new faith of the empire it allowed no female members and attracted only soldiersBy analyzing concrete data Stark is able to challenge the conventional wisdom about early Christianity offering the clearest picture ever of how this religion grew from its humble beginnings into the faith of than one third of the earth's populati. I had a difficult time fighting the urge to put this book down throughout the first chapter The beginning of the book is laid out much as a student of rudimentary statistics would present uantitative information I found it grating to read It s only as I read the book that I came to understand that this format of argumentation is precisely why Stark wrote the book and not the subject matter it entails This book had to do with an urging for historians to go back to this fundamental uantitative way of analyzing history than it did for any sort of Earth shattering revelations on Christianity Stark admits this in his conclusion aptly named Why Historians Should Count By explaining his methods for collecting societal data for instance examining grave stones for paganchristian inscriptions to support his assertions about which had prominence in a particular community Stark lays out his argument that certain facts about the ancient world can be known and therefore are no longer up to uestion I found this information fascinating and was intrigued by his methods than I was the actual data he was presenting Unfortunately however some things simply cannot be uantified Stark makes many ualitative arguments about religion such as the moral superiority of monotheism to paganism Stark never really develops this argument He simply states it as if this were a fact we the readers should just accept I am a practicing Catholic so it is not for religious dissent that I find his argument lacking He also states that Constantine used Christianity to further his success rather than the other way around but again this thought is not developed I wish Stark would have either left those ualitative statements out of the book acknowledged their weaknesses or strengthened them with stronger backing His analysis of the Gnostics as a specific attempt to fold Christianity into paganism and not as a different view of the faith was fascinating and my favorite part of the book I enjoyed reading the bits he included and his statements on them though I wish he d leave his harsh judgments of other historians out If you can make it through the first chapter or go into it knowing exactly what Stark aims to do the book goes smoother for you It is important that the reader maintains the ability to swallow Stark s truly interesting information with a spoonful of condescension which Stark deals out heavily

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An Empire to discover the following facts that set conventional history on its headContrary to fictions such as The Da Vinci Code and the claims of some prominent scholars Gnosticism was not a sophisticated authentic form of Christianity but really an unsuccessful effort to paganize ChristianityPaul was called the apostle to the Gentiles but mostly he converted JewsPaganism was not rapidly stamped out by state repression following the vision and conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine in 312 AD but gradually disappeared as people abandoned the temples in response to the superior appeal of ChristianityThe oriental faiths such as thos. I like Rodney Stark s books He writes well is clear and documents his work Recently I finished Cities of God a rather scientific book about the rise of Christianity His thesis which he proves with uantitative research is that Christianity took hold in cities mostly port cities to begin with that had a good number of Jews in them The first chapter talks about missions and how they work how monotheism was particularly suited for mission work and why Christianity was uniuely shaped to do mission work He also speaks to subjective versus objective views of history His position is that history can be viewed through uantitative analysis and that it will actually prove what went on Too many historians according to Stark are subjective as to causes and eventsHe devotes one chapter to Paul and his missionary activities Stark contends that Paul worked mostly with Hellenized Jews and that in many cases churches already existed before Paul got to a city Mission work was going on naturally through relatives and friends and business contacts He includes a chart that begins with 1000 Christians in 40 AD and ends with 31722489 Christians in 350 AD This is achieved by a 34% growth rate per year which is perfectly achievable with person to person evangelism He appreciates Paul and is thankful for his epistles but says that Paul made little difference in the overall growth of the churchIn later chapters the author explains how a rural Galilean faith became urbanized and he identifies 31 cities in the Roman Empire having at least 30000 inhabitants He also talks about Isis and Cybele two oriental goddesses that moved west and were monotheistic These two religions helped set the stage for Christianity and its monotheism I think he gives a good explanation of why Christianity displaced polytheism and the two goddesses Mr Stark also explains why many Jews of the Diaspora were inclined to accept Christianity Finally he deals with Gnosticism and other heresies He also shows why Mithraism was never a serious contender it was for men only and mostly for soldiers and very secretiveHis final chapter is titled Why Historians Ought to Count In this chapter he argues for uantitative data and that serious historians should make use of it to be accurate in their conclusions He chides many historians for being subjective and parroting what others said before Edward Gibbon comes in for his share of criticism Gibbon was very anti Catholic which biased his views Gibbon s views were not based on uantitative data but on subjective feelings Those people longing for the good old days of tolerant paganism just don t know their historyThere are lots of charts and maps and tables in this book It is well presented and done so in a clear and logical fashion It is a book for serious Christians to read and to be inspired by The only reason I give it 4 stars is because it is technical and reuires concentration when reading especially the part explaining concepts and theories concepts and indicators and hypothesis This part is necessary to understand how he goes about using the data but it is not easy reading


10 thoughts on “Cities of God The Real Story of How Christianity Became an Urban Movement and Conuered Rome

  1. says:

    This book wasn't at all what I expected I thought I would learn a lot about cities in the Greco Roman world how Christianity developed in those areas what churches might have looked like in those contexts etc Instead I learned a little bit about life in Greco Roman cities only about 5 pages are devoted to a discussion of

  2. says:

    Like his previous books this one is well worth readingStark disproves many currently popular views about early Christianity such as 'Christians forced paganism out of existence' and 'pagan beliefs produced Christian thought'Stark also debunks the myth that Gnosticism represents a authentic Christianity He shows that Gnostic writers are known to have gathered only small schools of devotees They were not an alternative Christianity

  3. says:

    A brilliant and elegant refuation of many of the most prevelant theories surrounding the nature and origin of Christianity Why are members of non Abrahamic religions called pagans? How did Christianity become an imperial power? Why did the elite and the intelligentsia engage in Christian exegesis? All explored herein

  4. says:

    Too rare are intellectuals of minority and unpopular conviction who can back up their hypotheses with uantitative data Rod

  5. says:

    A sociologist Dr Stark uses an approach to history in this book that I have never seen before He uses statistical analysis of available data to validate hypotheses about the growth and spread of Christianity Further he starts with “no brainer” hypotheses about which there is little disagreement to demonstr

  6. says:

    I like Rodney Stark’s books He writes well is clear and documents his work Recently I finished Cities of God a rather scientific book about the rise of Christianity His thesis which he proves with uantitative res

  7. says:

    I had a difficult time fighting the urge to put this book down throughout the first chapter The beginning of the book is laid out much as a student of rudimentary statistics would present uantitative information I found it grating to read It's only as I read the book that I came to understand that this format of argumentation is precisely w

  8. says:

    This was uite a bit technical and polemic than I was expecting which is not necessarily a bad thing but is certainly an interesting combination the reader should know aboutFirst Stark devotes a significant portion of the book to methodology even explaining statistical regression and how it applies to historical research Some will find this helpful others will be bored out of their minds If you are expecting historical cultural background t

  9. says:

    Wow A book that makes history fall into place with a resounding KerchunkThe author uses a statistical analysis techniue to clearly demonstrate the slow growth of Christianity in the first three hundred years as opposed to the tidal wave of conversions supposed by so many writers This techniue shows that the number of Chri

  10. says:

    Thesis not supported by the bookI have enjoyed Rodney a Stark’s books in the past and looked forward to this one However

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