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 secular-rather than an ecclesiastical-viewpoint. MacMullen's 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. . . . MacMullen's 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 Constantine's time, to be the church we know-Choice
"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