More than 40 percent of the people on earth today are Christians, and their number is growing more rapidly than that of any other major faith. In The Triumph of Christianity, acclaimed religious and social historian Rodney Stark explains how an obscure Jewish sect became the largest, most thriving religion in the world.
In Stark's groundbreaking book The Rise of Christianity, he examined the early success of Christianity and how it conquered Rome. Now, in this much-anticipated volume, Stark tells a far more extensive story, beginning with the religious and social situation prior to the birth of Jesus and continuing to the present.
As it moves through six historical eras, The Triumph of Christianity gets right to Christianity's most pivotal and controversial momentsoften turning them on their heads:
Christmas Eve surveys the religious situation within which Christianity began.
Christianizing the Empire looks at Jesus's life and the formative days of the movement he inspired, explaining why Christianity was a reprieve from the miseries of daily life for so many.
Consolidating Christian Europe argues that Constantine's conversion did the church a great deal of harm, examines the gradual demise of paganism, and clarifies the motives behind the Crusades.
Medieval Currents sheds new light on the misleadingly named "Dark Ages" and the essential role that faith played in the scientific revolution.
Christianity Divided examines two Roman Catholic "Churches"the Church of Piety and the Church of Poweras they respond to the challenges of heresy, Luther's Reformation, and the Spanish Inquisition.
New Worlds and Christian Growth considers the development of religious pluralism in the United States and the continuing vigor of Christianity worldwide, disproving the popular notion that religion must disappear to make room for modernity.
With his signature knack for making the boldest and most original scholarship accessible to all readers, Stark presents the real story behind the tragedies and triumphs that have shaped the trajectory of the Christian faith and, indeed, much of global history. For scholars and armchair historians alike, this is a brisk and thought-provoking journey through events we think we knowand need to reconsider.
About the Author
Rodney Stark is Professor of Sociology and Comparative Religion at the University of Washington. Among his many books are "The Rise of Christianity" (1996), "The Future of Religion: Secularization, Revival, and Cult Formation" (California, 1985), and, with Roger Finke, "The Churching of America, 1776-1990: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy" (1992). Roger Finke is Professor of Sociology at Pennsylvania State University.
“2012 Book of the Year”