Pagans: The End of Traditional Religion and the Rise of Christianity  -     By: James J. O'Donnell
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Pagans: The End of Traditional Religion and the Rise of Christianity

Ecco / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

"Tells of the rise of Christianity in Europe in an unmatched scholarly way. This is a rich and authoritative story of the Abrahamic God vanquishing the pagan gods. Also, as a fascinating and insightful study of the pluralistic pagan gods, it is a must-read for anyone interested in history,"---Washington Book Review. 288 pages, softcover. Ecco.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Ecco
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.31 (inches)
ISBN: 0061845396
ISBN-13: 9780061845390

Publisher's Description

“Mr. O’Donnell tells the familiar story of Christianity’s heroic age of expansion, from Constantine to Theodosius, with verve and wit.”—Wall Street Journal

For hundreds of years, religious and spiritual pluralism thrived in the Roman Empire. In the fourth century, however, as Christianity became the state religion, Christians developed the concept of the “pagan” to stigmatize and ostracize those who refused to devote themselves to the Christian god. These pagans were Greeks, Romans, Gauls, and Syrians who chose to piously observe the traditions of their ancestors.

Pagans uncovers how the ancient and deeply rooted religious traditions of these polytheistic Romans were undermined and suppressed by the rise of Christianity in little more than a hundred years. James J. O’Donnell explores the foundational features of Roman religion and culture, paints fresh portraits of iconic historical figures—including Constantine, Julian, and Augustine—and breathes new life into the defining tensions of the era: Rome versus the East, civilization versus barbarism, plurality versus unity, rich versus poor, and tradition versus innovation.

In this nuanced account of religious repression, O’Donnell offers an iconoclastic history of religion that tells an exciting new story that is deeply relevant to the way we think about religion in our own time.

Author Bio

James J. O'donnell is a classicist who served for ten years as Provost of Georgetown University and is now University Librarian at Arizona State University. He is the author of several books including Augustine, The Ruin of the Roman Empire, and Avatars of the Word. He is the former president of the American Philological Association, a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, and the chair of the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies. He is seen here at an ancient monastery on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire, in Syria.

Editorial Reviews

“Trenchantly interprets how an oddball religious cult became the official faith of Rome. . . . It makes for a thoughtful tour of Rome.”
“Mr. O’Donnell tells the familiar story of Christianity’s heroic age of expansion, from Constantine to Theodosius, with verve and wit.”
“James J. O’Donnell’s fine new book . . . is short but multilayered, erudite and dense.”
“[A] fascinating and insightful study of the pluralistic pagan gods. This book is a must read for everyone who is interested in either general history or the history of Christianity in particular.”
“Although [Pagans] is serious scholarship, it does not take itself too seriously. The result is an engaging view of antiquity few of us have seen.

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