As volume two opens, persecution of Christians is coming to an end with the triumph of Constantine. Soon legal measures protected church interests. Clergy are exempted from taxation; Christian pastors are appointed as military chaplains. But inclusion brings its own dangers as the temptations to compromise grow stronger. The following centuries will see painful heart-searching as church and state grow closer, and the doctrinal wrangles of the early church continue.
Dr Tim Dowley is a historian and a prolific author and editor of Bible resources for adults and children. He has also written popular biographies of J.S. Bach and Robert Schumann. He lives with his wife and three children in Dulwich, south London.