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Christianity and the Roman Empire
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The rise of Christianity during the first four centuries of the common era was the pivotal development in Western history and profoundly influenced the later direction of all world history. Yet, for all that has been written on early Christian history, the primary sources for this history are widely scattered, difficult to find, and generally unknown to lay persons and to historians not specially trained in the field. In Christianity and the Roman Empire Ralph Novak interweaves these primary sources with a narrative text and constructs a single continuous account of these crucial centuries. The primary sources are selected to emphasize the manner in which the government and the people of the Roman Empire perceived Christians socially and politically; the ways in which these perceptions influenced the treatment of Christians within the Roman Empire; and the manner in which Christians established their political and religious dominance of the Roman Empire after Constantine the Great came to power in the early fourth century CE. Ralph Martin Novak holds a Masters Degree in Roman History from the University of Chicago.
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About the Author

Ralph Martin Novak holds a Masters Degree in Roman History from the University of Chicago.

Reviews

"The book has a marvelous cast, even leaving aside the religious figures .Novak's profusely documented work helps place their military and diplomatic attainments within th ebroader political and cultural framework of the Roman world .[A] worthwhile read for anyone with an interest in the history of the Roman Empire." StrategyPage.com A.A. Nofi, SSG "This work would be a fine choice for an introductory course on the history of early Christianity especially when used in tandem with a collection of texts that focus on theological and liturgical developments (e.g., M. Wiles and M. Santer, Documents in Early Christian Thought, 1975)." C. Thomas McCollough, Centre College, Religious Studies Review Volume 28 Number 2 / April 2002--Sanford Lakoff "An excellent collection of sources for use in courses on the history of early Christianity down to the mid-fifth century. In addition to the balanced and judicious choice of texts, Novak has written an informative historical narrative that will enable students to better understand each original text." David Dungan, Distinguished Professor-Humanities, University of Tennessee--Sanford Lakoff "Ralph Martin Novak s sourcebook of background texts on Christianity and the Roman Empire offers the reader a wealth of primary source readings in the first four centuries of Christianity. The straightforward ongoing narrative of events ties together the various readings. This is an excellent exercise in historical reading that will inform and inspire any one interested in early Christianity set amid its sociopolitical environment." Thomas C. Oden, Henry Anson Buttz Professor, Drew University, Madison, NJ--Sanford Lakoff "Primary sources for the history of the first four centuries of Christianity within the context of the Roman world are difficult to find, widely scattered, and general unknown outside of a specialized cadre of scholarship. Now Ralph Novak interweaves these primary sources with a narrative text in Christianity and The Roman Empire: Background Texts that provides the reader with a single, continuous account of these crucial first centuries of Christianity s development. Through the use of primary sources, Novak shows how the government and people of Rome perceived the treatment of Christians within the empire, as well as the manner in which Christians established their political and religious dominance after Constantine the Great came to power. Christianity and The Roman Empire is a superbly researched, written and presented contribution to the study of early Christian history during the first four centuries of the Common Era." Thomas G. Whelan, reviewing for Internet Book Watch, May 2001--Sanford Lakoff "Midwest Book Review " "Novak's excellent book grew out of his own teaching of many adult classes and forums in Christian communities. This excellent, well-organized work brings the reader into the presence of many of the texts that help us discern the relationship of the earliest believers to the Roman world in which man of them lived." Sarah Henrich, Luther Seminary, St.--Sanford Lakoff "Word and World " "As a result, this text is a remarkable combination: it is both an excellent sourcebook and a good introductory survey of early Christianity in its Roman political and socioeconomic context. Christianity and the Roman Empire: Background Texts is an excellent resource for undergraduates, seminarians, and others who want both an introductory survey and a sourcebook for the study of early Christianity." John B./23/2002--Sanford Lakoff "Review of Biblical Literature "

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