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The Dawn of Christianity: People and Gods in a Time of Magic and Miracles

The Dawn of Christianity: People and Gods in a Time of Magic and Miracles (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Exploring the origins of Christianity, this book looks at why it was that people first in Judea and then in the Roman and Greek Mediterranean world became susceptible to the new religion. Robert Knapp looks for answers in a wide-ranging exploration of religion and everyday life from 200 BC to the end of the first century.



Survival, honour and wellbeing were the chief preoccupations of Jews and polytheists alike. In both cases, the author shows, people turned first to supernatural powers. According to need, season and place polytheists consulted and placated vast constellations of gods, while the Jews worshipped and contended with one almighty and jealous deity.



Professor Knapp considers why any Jew or polytheist would voluntarily dispense with a well-tried way of dealing with the supernatural and trade it in for a new model. What was it about the new religion that led people to change beliefs they had held for millennia and which in turn, within four centuries of the birth of its messiah, led it to transform the western world? His conclusions are as convincing as they are sometimes surprising.

History & PoliticsHistory: ChronologicalAncient history: to c 500 CEHistory & PoliticsHistory: ChronologicalEarly history: c 500 to c 1450-1500Philosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesReligion & BeliefsChristianityChristian Churches & denominations Publisher: Profile Books Ltd Publication Date: 13/04/2017 ISBN-13: 9781781252079  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Robert Knapp taught ancient history for over thirty years at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is now Professor Emeritus. He has published extensively on the world of the Roman Empire, including Invisible Romans (Profile 2011).

More books by Robert Knapp

Customer Reviews

Very well worthwhile book that considers the emergence of Christianity in the context of history. It covers especially the religious beliefs, practices, and experiences obtaining during the preceding centuries in the Middle-east as a whole, rather than considering the Jewish development in isolation. The Christian development thus emerges more naturally from the efforts to reconcile the disappointed expectations of immediate benefit from loyalty to a god, with the reality that those benefits often failed to appear.

- 13/01/2018
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