From the New York Times bestselling authority on early Christianity, the story of how Christianity grew from a religion of twenty or so peasants in rural Galilee to the dominant religion in the West in less than four hundred years.
Christianity didn’t have to become the dominant religion in the West. It easily could have remained a sect of Judaism fated to have the historical importance of the Sadducees or the Essenes. 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 Triumph of Christianity combines deep knowledge and meticulous research in an eye-opening, narrative that upends the way we think about the single most important cultural transformation our world has ever seen—one that revolutionized art, music, literature, philosophy, ethics, economics, and law.
Bart D. Ehrman is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity, and the author or editor of more than thirty books, including the New York Times bestsellers Misquoting Jesus, How Jesus Became God, and The Triumph of Christianity. A Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he has created eight popular audio and video courses for The Great Courses. He has been featured in Time, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post, and has appeared on NBC, CNN, The Daily Showwith Jon Stewart, the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, BBC, and NPR. His most recent book is The Triumph of Christianity.
“How did a small, provincial Jewish sect called Christianity convert the mighty pagan Roman Empire? Bart Ehrman answers this baffling question with the same wit, passion, and rigorous scholarship that have made him one of the most popular religion writers in the world today. The Triumph of Christianity is a marvelous book.” — Reza Aslan, New York Times bestselling author of Zealot
“The great appeal of Ehrman’s approach to Christian history has always been his steadfast humanizing impulse... Ehrman always thinks hard about history’s winners and losers without valorizing the losers or demonizing the winners… Reading about how an entire culture’s precepts and traditions can be overthrown without anyone being able to stop it may not be heartening at this particular historical moment. All the more reason to spend time in the company of such a humane, thoughtful and intelligent historian.” — The New York Times Book Review
“Drawing on a wealth of ancient sources and contemporary historical research, Bart Ehrman weaves complex questions into a vivid, nuanced, and enormously readable narrative.” — Elaine Pagels, National Book Award-winning author of The Gnostic Gospels
“Like a good college lecture class, [Ehrman’s] book offers both a wealth of historical information and, to make sense of it all, a few plausible theories — including his own. He doesn’t tell us what to think. He gives us a lot to think about.” — Newsday
“The value of Ehrman’s book, as is so often the case with his writings, is in his ability to synthesize complex material and distill it into highly readable prose.” — Booklist
“Well worth reading for those wishing to dispel myths around the early Christian churches.” — Publishers Weekly
“One of Christian history’s greatest puzzles after the age of the apostles is how a tiny band of mostly-illiterate outsiders converted the proud and massive Roman Empire in just three centuries — a historical blink of an eye. In The Triumph of Christianity, Ehrman brings impressive research, intellectual rigor, and an instinct for storytelling to this extraordinary dynamic.” — David Van Biema, former religion writer at Time and author of the forthcoming Speaking to God
“Accessible and intriguing.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Bart Ehrman is the leading expert on early Christian texts and here he takes the story on into the fourth century in a vivid and readable narrative that explores why Christianity “triumphed” as a world religion. The work is particularly valuable for its critical survey of the work of other scholars in the field.” — Charles Freeman, author of A New History of Early Christianity