From backwater sect to world religion
Christianity: How a Tiny Sect From a Despised Religion Came to Dominate the Roman Empire. Jonathan Hill. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. $29.95, hardbound. 256 pages, 2011. www.fortresspress.com.
The first four hundred years after the birth of Christ were chaotic, creative times. Shifting political alliances, changing geopolitcal boundaries, and increasing wealth disparity created an environment for a radical movement to ignite the passions of the masses.
Jonathan Hill’s Christianity will become a classic as a basic primer of church history in the midst of such change. Hill’s offering sparks the senses with beautiful reproductions of art and documents from this period. But, most importantly, he captures the philosophic and theological strains that struggled to define this new movement. It is well worth the read.