Pagans & Christians in the City: Culture Wars from the Tiber to the Potomac
Pagans & Christians in the City: Culture Wars from the Tiber to the Potomac  -     By: Steven D. Smith
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Eerdmans / 2018 / Hardcover
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Pagans & Christians in the City: Culture Wars from the Tiber to the Potomac

Eerdmans / 2018 / Hardcover

Buy 24 or more for $33.24 each.
Expected to ship on or about 02/24/19.
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Stock No: WW876317


Product Description

* Two millennia ago, the Romans forced Christians to suppress their beliefs. Smith maintains today's faithful are in a similar situation. Referencing lectures by T.S. Eliot, he argues that contemporary culture wars can be viewed as a reprise of ancient history---and shows how a contest between Christianity and "modern paganism" could determine the future of the West. 384 pages, hardcover from Eerdmans.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 384
Vendor: Eerdmans
Publication Date: 2018
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0802876315
ISBN-13: 9780802876317
Series: Emory University Studies in Law and Religion

Publisher's Description

Traditionalist Christians who oppose same-sex marriage and other cultural developments in the United States wonder why they are being forced to bracket their beliefs in order to participate in public life. This situation is not new, says Steven D. Smith: Christians two thousand years ago faced very similar challenges. 

Picking up poet T. S. Eliot’s World War II–era thesis that the future of the West would be determined by a contest between Christianity and "modern paganism," Smith argues in this book that today’s culture wars can be seen as a reprise of the basic antagonism that pitted pagans against Christians in the Roman Empire. Smith’s Pagans and Christians in the City looks at that historical conflict and explores how the same competing ideas continue to clash today. All of us, Smith shows, have much to learn by observing how patterns from ancient history are reemerging in today’s most controversial issues.

Author Bio


Steven D. Smith is Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego and serves as codirector of the university's Institute for Law and Religion. His other books include The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom.

Editorial Reviews

— Booklist (STARRED review)
"Smith’s book is as engrossing, lucid, and jargonless a scholarly book as has ever been written."

Anthony Kronman
— Yale Law School
"Pagans and Christians in the City by Steven D. Smith is a wonderfully wide-ranging and deeply thoughtful book. Its lucid style draws the reader into a world of ancient questions and contemporary debates whose often surprising connections Smith helps us to see in a new and suggestive light. Secularists and believers alike have much to learn from his careful, balanced, and generous account."

John Inazu
— Washington University in St. Louis
"Written with Smith’s characteristic clarity and bite, Pagans and Christians in the City canvasses a broad landscape of history, law, political theory, and religion to explore some of the deepest past and present questions of humanity—and warns how our answers to those questions will shape our future."

Douglas Laycock
— University of Virginia Law School
"A fascinating new take on America’s culture wars, rooted in history that most of us know in only the vaguest way."

Robert P. George (from foreword)
— Princeton University
"The Romans perceived Christianity as a threat—and Christian ideas about sex figured significantly in that perception. They feared that Christianity would, in Smith’s evocative phrase, ’turn out the lights on that "merry dance" [of paganism.]’ . . . We need a sober, penetrating, deeply insightful diagnosis of our current condition and account of where we are and how we got here. Professor Smith deserves our deep thanks for providing it."

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