January 22, 2021
the triumph of christianity summary
On the contrary, anti-pagan decrees were issued over and over again (something modern dictatorships don’t have to do). A great deal of research went into this book but it’s unfortunate that the au. This was the kind of Empire that Constantine inherited. Stark offers a compelling argument that early Christianity was attractive to the privileged and that Jesus himself was probably more wealthy than he is thought of being. Title: The triumph of Christianity : how a forbidden religion swept the world. “claims involving natural facts that if true tend at least to suggest a miracle happened” Some miracle claims stand up better under historical analysis than others. Now it seems to me that you are taking a very different approach. Only if you Debunks massive amounts of misinformation, especially regarding the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition. Christians didn’t make claims in a vacuum of such claims, rather they were one voice among many. Do you have any idea what years we have the earliest written sources from Christians putting forward these ideas about Constantine’s conversion corrupting the church? It seems that some of them will use any argument and any tactic to discredit an opponent or opposing view no matter how low and dirty they have to sink. Take it or leave it. Actually, the Bible is NOT the Word of God, and the Gospel of John affirms this, but given it’s late date because of its theological development, says you, why would believe it any way. For what it’s worth, I am getting to the point where I cannot stand these anti-theist crusaders. I simply find what’s most interesting and compelling about a problem / issue, and lay it out in terms that will keep an audience awake and on their toes. ISBN: 9781501136702. While it isn't all bad, it also shows why it is imperative to truly identify and consider one's own biases before writing a history book. The weirdness in all this is, is Ehrman says in the 2012 debate that” we cant get back to the origionals”. He also notes that it would have been politically expedient to keep his iconography traditional and not to flaunt his new faith, especially in the earlier years of his reign when he was still consolidating his grasp on power. Now sure often we can do the analysis on Aristoteles quite quickly and not have to laboriously go through all these steps. Lol. The earliest copies we have of Mark dates from around the year 200. Even if we accept the higher estimates Ehrman discusses, Christians represented a small percentage of the population and, if we accept Ehrman’s or MacMullen’s much lower figures, the idea that Christians formed any substantial basis for a bid for Imperial power becomes even more unlikely purely on the numbers alone. Isn’t that the sort of thing we want to avoid? The western Catholic tradition, perhaps thanks to the theological and historical buffer of the Great Schism of 1054 and an enduring suspicion of Byzantine “Caesaropapism”, venerates the sainted Helena but has a slightly less enthusiastic view of Constantine. It was a point worth more detailed exploration. Hitchens’ claim, parroted by many New Atheists, is a pseudo historical fantasy. (that jesus was alive at some date after the crucifixion date) But of course even you would say they could if they reject the second claim. of the variants, and that that some (not all!) This seems to have been because there was far less need for organised and concerted preaching within the Empire, due to the way networks of patronage, community and family worked in late Roman society. Now I don’t have anything against theology – I’m OK with for instance theistic evolution as well – but I do have a lot against using methodological naturalism as a support for theistic claims. Ehrman summarises the argument of Ramsay MacMullen on this point: “Suppose two persons were each promoting a new cult, one the worship of Asclepius and the other the worship of Jesus. The implications of these calculations are significant. And that’s why I said, “what the hell has he been doing for 30 years?”, If you still seem confused, please, be kind, reference what it is specifically and succinctly, and I will do my best to clarify what it is that is causing you confusion. I’m not saying I would discount it out of hand but yes I think discussions about whether a claim is supported by parsimony are more often than not philosophical. But I was not allowed to say anything. Some of the things he posits as absolute givens are in fact in dispute, and show his bias. My point is not that the argument is so great it would convince everyone, but rather that this would be a religious argument not a historical one. What do you think the original text really said?’ And Ehrman said, ‘Well, it said pretty much exactly what we think it says today. I really do like Ehrman otherwise. ), It seems clear to me he rejects miracles for philosophical reasons. Frank The few people who remained truthful to their beliefs were not only ostracized but also victimized by laws targeting pagans. In The Triumph of Christianity, Bart Ehrman, a master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, shows how a religion whose first believers were twenty or so illiterate day laborers in a remote part of the empire became the official religion of Rome, converting some thirty million people in just four centuries. The “Ascension of Isaiah” article is on the way. But if religion or philosophy is what leads you to reject 2 or 3 then you shouldn’t say it is historical analysis. I numbered them in my original post. I think my beef is with one of Ehrman’s views. Regrettably, even when I made the announcement in Chapel Hill, I was giving misinformation. This, and the whole book, strikes me as eminently sensible and well-founded, though it is likely to leave the zealots on both sides grumbling. For if one affirms that one does not have the original, then no one can not logically deduce what number copy a copy happens to be… Ehrman affirms that the copy of Mark is from about 200 AD, and about 130 years from the original. In 2004 he joined the faculty of Baylor University. I’ll have to take my chances on this one, Tim. For example, look at most modern dictatorships: the number of people murdered for the cause of the dictatorship is actually quite small, since most people will avoid trouble due to their own nature and circumstances. To be sure, there is much to criticize me for, in particular that I did not personally verify the information I received about this manuscript before announcing it to the world. Ehrman shows clearly that the demographic trends show that Christianity would have been the majority religion in the Empire by the end of the fourth century even if no emperors had converted. Welcome back. Some reviewers feel Erhman has missed a beat here. In this fascinating book, Rodney Stark eschews the normal theological and historical answers to this question and sets out to answer the question through sociological analysis. 2) Jesus died on the day he was crucified. The first is that the role of past and reported miracles is probably not as important as this implies. If we accept Ehrman’s sincere view that these criteria are what makes up historical analysis then we should agree that the historical analysis is at an end. Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition. How did a frightened rabble of Jews in an obscure corner of the Roman Empire produce a religion that endured Imperial persecution while slowly transforming the Empire from within before going on to produce the world’s largest – and still fastest growing – religion? Alternatively, and more recently, Ramsay MacMullen used archaeological analysis of the number and size of churches in the mid fourth century to arrive at a much smaller estimate; as low as 2-5%, however this is based on some assumptions about the use of church buildings rather than “home churches” and the regularity of worship for the average Christian in this period, all of which have been challenged. He argues that women were better off as Christians than pagans at the time period, which partly explains the growth of Christianity. Jarrod As I’ve explained, I don’t take people who have hard ideological positions seriously as scholars. (Multiply attested, lack bias, close in time to the event etc etc. ) If you read any of Ehrman’s popular books, you are being given the message that the New Testament as we have it today, including the actions and teaching of Jesus, is very unreliable. People are of course free to believe that Jesus did perform miracles, and it’s possible that he did; but that is a theological belief and not a historical one. Do you not think a manuscript can last 130 years? The last section about the expansion of Christianity in the modern world and the statistics he compiles in support of his ideas are fascinating. What exactly would that be? This view can be called the “philosophical problem of miracle” I want to state emphatically that this is not the issue that I want to address in this lecture. And I would think a New Testament Scholar would hold more weight in his assessment of another scholar than simply a fundi or apologist. Review – Bart D. Ehrman “The Triumph of Christianity, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window). We call that “calling the kettle black” or “calling a spade a spade” here in the states. For a final flourish, suppose that Jesus turned a tank of water into wine, and that this was broadcast live on TV, witnessed by an audience of thousands, and independently confirmed by spectrographic analysis of the liquid before and after. Since Augustus’ establishment of the Principate at the end of the civil wars of the first century BC, the Roman Empire had effectively been ruled by a aristocratic military junta, though one that covered itself with a thin fiction of constitutional legitimacy and some last trappings of the old Roman Republic. The fiction slipped occasionally, such as in the civil war of 69 AD where a new military strongman took control, but on the whole it was convenient enough for everyone for it to be maintained. I don’t see how any sensible person could conclude that the Gospels – four accounts whose date, authorship, accuracy, and relationship to one another are significantly disputed – constitute adequate historical evidence to conclude that Jesus performed miracles. Quick question: I’ve heard some mythicists claim that Bart Ehrman has changed his mind on a key part about the historical Jesus. And history knows that manuscipts can and do last more than 130 years. The Myther argument that there are no contemporary references to Jesus is probably the most widely used one that I have seen. The end game hinges on the turns taken by a handful of notable and influential individuals: the emperors Constantine and Theodosius for example. As Ehrman says: “Few people could claim to have observed any of these spectacular miracles of faith. Thanks for this article Tim. Please don’t use the comments section. And it began with the boneheaded comments by “ImSkeptical” over on the “Did Jesus Exist?” comment thread. We don’t have copies of the copies of the copies of the copies of the copies of the copies. , Tim, Summary. Listen to The Triumph of Christianity by Rodney Stark. Theophilus, Peter, Paul) are uniquely Christian, tracing their usage and spread can help map the spread and growth of the new faith. Of course, we all make mistakes. And that is ok with me. Quotes from his debate with Wallace in 2012. Finally you forget that after the loss of the Western Roman Empire many European areas converted without much do, Ireland being a fine example. The number of people who have theistic religious beliefs is much greater than the number who are members of a church or attend church services. Okay. al. If you want sensationalizing – I can indeed to that; but I don’t prefer that mode). “In fact, all known societies above the very primitive level have been slave societies—even many of the Northwest American Indian tribes had slaves long before Columbus’s voyage.46 Amid this universal slavery, only one civilization ever rejected human bondage: Christendom. 3) Jesus lived on some date after the day he was crucified. But they did not – the military and the equestrians did, and they were even more pagan than the plebs. These evangelicals, who ever they are, are simply parroting what Wallace said, but guilty of not knowing why or guilty of not citing their source in conversation with Tim. For Christians the answer to this question is straightforward – it is because Christianity is the one true faith and Jesus was/is God himself. Is that the New Atheists definition of peer review? 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