The truly remarkable rise of Christianity

The rise of Christianity to be one of the world's dominate religions is extraordinary. It sprung up from a corner of Pagan Rome's empire to take over the whole of Europe in the first century CE. Professor Michael Kulikowski explores how this happened in the following...

Christians were strangers
How an obscure oriental cult in a corner of Roman Palestine grew to become the dominant religion of the Western world

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...
Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus' description of himself "I am the Good Shepherd" (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: "To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That a world religion should have emerged from an oriental cult in a tiny and peculiar corner of Roman Palestine is nothing short of extraordinary. Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew, though an eccentric one, and here the concern is not what the historical Jesus did or did not believe. We know that he was executed for disturbing the Roman peace during the reign of the emperor Tiberius, and that some of his followers then decided that Jesus was not merely another regular prophet, common in the region. Rather, he was the son of the one true god, and he had died to bring salvation to those who would follow him.

Read the complete article here.

Michael Kulikowski is professor of history and classics at Pennsylvania State University, where he also heads the history department. He is the author of Late Roman Spain and Its Cities (2004) and Rome’s Gothic Wars from the Third Century to Alaric (2007). His latest book is The Triumph of Empire: The Roman World From Hadrian to Constantine (2016).

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