But anyone who knows religions knows that false claims about the reality are stock in trade for preachers of all types, which their parishioners soak up regardless of actual experience.
Stark leaves the reader with the impression that the pagan world was utterly lacking in charity, when in fact charitable organizations were common. Readers interested in explanations of the growth of Christianity should look to other authors, committed to broader and more inclusive explanatory regimes.
To this scenario of human disorder, we must add such frequent natural disasters as fire, earthquake, and famine pp. A Sociologist Reconsiders History. And it was the way these doctrines took on actual flesh, the way the directed organizational actions and individual behavior, that led to the rise of Christianity.
Costly demands tend to produce vital religious groups by effectively excluding those with low levels of commitment and participation. Wayne Meeks The First Urban Christians is a master of ample historical data but tends to apply new information about the ancient world to the New Testament on the assumption that one is going to illuminate the other by hook or by crook.
Therefore, to prevent wholesale defections, the Mormon religion has evolved an extensive apparatus of Leninist political control, including broad demands on time, thought control, intense social pressure, cell structures for Mormon society that allow the Church to interpenetrate to every level of society, locating itself in relative geographic isolation, and so forth.
He followed it up with Cultural Anthropology and Christian Origins, an indigestible block of dense jargon, and since then he has essentially paraphrased the same stuff in several different packages. The stark fact is that any religion will be successful, so long as it is missionary, manages to maintain a coherent message, and manages to maintain control over the minds and bodies of its converts.
Nor is that the end of it. The relative dearth of women in the surrounding society along with Christian tolerance of exogamy invites us to posit a high number of secondary conversions as well as an enhanced fertility rate among Christians pp.
He wants the reader to know that he is first and foremost a sociologist, and that his interest in including historical context is non- professional. By contrast, where women are scarce, as they often were in the Hellenistic world thanks to the disastrously bone-headed eugenics policies of the Roman state, they are more likely to be sequestered and rigidly controlled.
Stark fails to note something else, but I think it bears consideration: I highly suggest anyone interested in Christian history pick up this book. Stark argues that "it is highly unlikely that a bishop would write a pastoral letter full of false claims about things that his parishioners would know from direct observation" and so it must really be true that the pagans fled the plague.
He never treats paganism as a single, monolithic entity, always addressing albeit tangentially the various religious traditions which make up the category we now refer to as "paganism".
He has published 32 books and more than scholarly articles on subjects as diverse as prejudice, crime, suicide, and city life in ancient Rome. And while Christians were reproducing naturally, they were also engaged in the conversion of non-Christians.
A Sociologist Reconsiders History.
Someone can make a perfectly rational choice without that choice needing to be grounded in anything demonstrably true. Calcutta forms a closer comparison with persons per acre pp. Further, information on the completely bogus career of Joseph Smith, the Mormon founder, is widely available.
Robbins, and others have recently reached the same conclusions from other types of analysis e. Applying his discipline in sociology to historical documents and archaeological finds from the early Christian church gives the work a fresh perspective, and what Stark ends up postulating is nothing short of eye-popping.
By the time of Constantine, Christianity had become a considerable force, with growth patterns very similar to those of modern-day successful religious movements. He also gives slanted presentations of his ancient evidence. This theology, according to Stark, would have been especially attractive to inhabitants of Roman cities who constantly suffered.
Infanticide was also common, and usually done at the command of the father or the husband, anyway. Yet it is one of many myths that must be discarded if we are to understand just how a tiny messianic movement on the edge of the Roman Empire became the dominant faith of Western civilization. Although Stark is able to cite numerous references in the literature to the existence of such attitudes, he does not cite any data as to how they were carried out in practice.
This is a ERM he uses to explain to the reader that sociology has a lot to do with projecting numbers. He also takes 19th and then-contemporary 20th century academia to task for being more interested in disproving religion than actually trying to understand religion, religiosity or religious people.
Christianity was able to stamp out its rivals because it was a missionary religion operating in an environment without real rival missionary religions, and because later, it was able to secure government support for its operations.
Stark is not a member of any of the various Mormon sects, but he has done extensive research into the growth of the main Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the factors which contributed to that growth.
But what enabled Christians to risk their own health and resources?The Rise of Christianity is a sociologist’s theory on how Christianity became the leading power in the world. Stark wants his reader to know that he is not a historian, but adds historical information to give the sociological figures context.
In it, he mentioned the book, “The Rise of Christianity” by Rodney Stark. I bought it off of Amazon but only recently had the time to pick it up and read it. I bought it off of Amazon but only recently had the time to pick it up and read it.
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now. Frequently bought together + + Total price: $ Add all three to The Rise of Christianity is a book by Rodney Stark wherein he looks at Christianity’s rise to prominence from a sociological perspective.
Read more. Published 1 year ago/5(). The rise of Christianity: a sociologist reconsiders history User Review - Not Available - Book Verdict.
Theories abound regarding the growth of Christianity in its first years--that it succeeded most among the urban poor, that women may or may not have had a place, that it bred zealotry.4/5(3).
A Masterpiece on the Rise of Christianity. Garry Wills. October 11, Issue (without a neat chronological fit) was that Constantine in the fourth century took Christianity out of the martyrs’ arena into the seats of power, making the persecuted become persecutors.
assembled “from the bottom up,” from traces of the people who. Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History.
Princeton University Press, Reviewed by Robert M.
Price. O ne of the hottest growth industries in the field of New Testament studies is New Testament Sociology and Anthropology. Some biblical scholars seem more concerned with the methods than with the ostensible subject matter, with the result that New Testament.Download