How did the early Christian church manage to win its dominant place in the Roman world? In his newest book, an eminent historian of ancient Rome examines this question from a secularrather than an ecclesiasticalviewpoint. MacMullens provocative conclusion is that mass conversions to Christianity were based more on the appeal of miracle or the opportunity for worldly advantages than simply on a rising tide of Christian piety.
Provocative to the Christian religious scholar and the nonreligious historian alike. . . . MacMullens style is lucid, and the story of a period with its own innate interest is narrated with compelling feeling. . . . It is an important book, and highly recommended for the general reader of history as well as the Christian who wonders how the Jesus movement came, by Constantines time, to be the church we knowChoice
Written in a fresh and vigorous style, . . . [this book] offers an admirable survey of some major aspects of the history [of the early Christian church].Robert M. Grant, New York Times Book Review
Gently provocative. . . . MacMullen has written an instructive and enjoyable book on a great theme.Henry Chadwick, Times Literary Supplement
A carefully argued and well-written study.Jackson P. Hershbell, Library Journal