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Title: Destroyer of the gods
Sub-title: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World
By (author): Larry W. Hurtado
ISBN10-13: 1481304747 : 9781481304740
Format: Paperback
Size: 215x139mm
Pages: 304
Weight: .358 Kg.
Published: Baylor University Press (US) - May   2017
List Price: 17.99 Pounds Sterling
Availability: Temporarily Out of Stock, more expected soon 
Subjects: Classical history / classical civilisation : History of religion : Church history : Christian institutions & organizations : Ancient Rome
"Silly," "stupid," "irrational," "simple." "Wicked," "hateful," "obstinate," "anti-social." "Extravagant," "perverse." The Roman world rendered harsh judgments upon early Christianityâ€including branding Christianity "new." Novelty was no Roman religious virtue. Nevertheless, as Larry W. Hurtado shows in Destroyer of the gods , Christianity thrived despite its new and distinctive features and opposition to them. Unlike nearly all other religious groups, Christianity utterly rejected the traditional gods of the Roman world. Christianity also offered a new and different kind of religious identity, one not based on ethnicity. Christianity was distinctively a "bookish" religion, with the production, copying, distribution, and reading of texts as central to its faith, even preferring a distinctive book-form, the codex. Christianity insisted that its adherents behave differently: unlike the simple ritual observances characteristic of the pagan religious environment, embracing Christian faith meant a behavioral transformation, with particular and novel ethical demands for men. Unquestionably, to the Roman world, Christianity was both new and different, and, to a good many, it threatened social and religious conventions of the day. In the rejection of the gods and in the centrality of texts, early Christianity obviously reflected commitments inherited from its Jewish origins. But these particular features were no longer identified with Jewish ethnicity and early Christianity quickly became aggressively trans-ethnicâ€a novel kind of religious movement. Its ethical teaching, too, bore some resemblance to the philosophers of the day, yet in contrast with these great teachers and their small circles of dedicated students, early Christianity laid its hard demands upon all adherents from the moment of conversion, producing a novel social project. Christianity's novelty was no badge of honor. Called atheists and suspected of political subversion, Christians earned Roman disdain and suspicion in equal amounts. Yet, as Destroyer of the gods demonstrates, in an irony of history the very features of early Christianity that rendered it distinctive and objectionable in Roman eyes have now become so commonplace in Western culture as to go unnoticed. Christianity helped destroy one world and create another.
Table of Contents:
Preface Introduction Chapter 1. Early Christians and Christianity in the Eyes of Non-Christians Chapter 2. A New Kind of Faith Chapter 3. A Different Identity Chapter 4. A "Bookish" Religion Chapter 5. A New Way to Live Conclusion Appendix Notes Index of Ancient Sources Index of Subjects and Modern Authors
About The Author:
Larry W Hurtado is Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology in the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Born in Kansas City (Missouri), he now lives in Edinburgh.
Reviews:
Hurtado, emeritus professor of New Testament language, literature, and theology in the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh, discusses the history and evolution of ecumenical Christian practices in this elegantly straightforward book...Hurtado does an excellent job of walking readers through...how very odd early Christianity was for its place and time and how it came to overturn and replace ancient systems and beliefs. Hurtado writes with a measured tone and learned authority. Those wishing to know more about early Christianity will find much here. -- Publishers Weekly
An important scholarly look at the birth of Christianity within the Roman embrace. -- Library Journal
…An admirable discussion of early Christianity partly directed towards an educated lay readership, and one that will invite reactions from scholars of the ancient world and the early church. In moving away from looking simply at Constantine and the victory of Christianity, Hurtado is encouraging us to look deeper and to return to those early writings that shape the Christian faith. -- Anthony Smart -- Vigilae Christianae
Valuable reading at any level of education. -- Edwin Judge -- Ancient History: Resources for Teachers
D estroyer of the gods is a welcome and important book as it challenges what seems by now have become the mainstream, at least in late antique studies, namely highlighting the similarities between Christianity and other ancient religions and stressing the embeddedness of Christians in the Greco-Roman world. -- Maijastina Kahlos -- PLEKOS
In Destroyer of the Gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World, Larry W. Hurtado provides an in-depth survey of the features that made early Christianity unusual in the Roman world. Hurtado’s exploration of the distinctive features of early Christianity is informative, exciting to read, and enlightening. -- Steven Shisley -- Reading Religion
D estroyer of the Gods i s an intriguing and wide-ranging examination of several key features of Christianity that distinguished it from the various religious beliefs and practices common in Greco-Roman society…Given its effectiveness in introducing readers to the distinct aspects of the Christian faith, the volume would serve as a valuable supplementary text for undergraduate or graduate courses in either New Testament or Church History. -- Benjamin Laird -- Southeastern Theological Review
The volume is well written, contains extensive endnotes, and avoids jargon. Hurtado's erudition will reward the reader, especially undergraduates and scholars with little or no previous knowledge of scholarship on early Christianity. -- Nickolas P. Roubekas -- Religious Studies Review
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