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Update on Latest Books

July 27, 2016

Earlier this week I had the encouraging news that the trade journal,Publishers Weekly, gave my forthcoming book a starred review:  Destroyer of the gods:  Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World (Baylor University Press, September 2016).  The link to the PW review is here.  For more information and comments on this book, the BUP link is here.

Copies available by mid-September in the USA, a few weeks later in the UK.  A Spanish translation is planned, to be published by Ediciones Sigueme (Salamanca, Spain).

While you’re waiting for that one, I could point you to a small, related book of mine published a few months ago:  Why on Earth did Anyone Become a Christian in the First Three Centuries? (Marquette University Press, 2016).  I posted on this book earlier here.  It’s available, e.g., here.

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  1. Steve Walach permalink

    The opening of the Baylor Press review of your new book begins by quoting epithets the Romans hurled at early Christians: “Silly,” “stupid,” “irrational,” “simple.” “Wicked,” “hateful,” “obstinate,” “anti-social.” “Extravagant,” ”perverse.”

    At first I thought I was reading an op-ed having to do with the 2016 USA presidential campaign — a wild one if you’ve not keeping track. I guess some adjectives never go out of style.

    On a more serious note, Larry, does your book address how Christians’ rejection of Roman polytheism affected the social standing of Jews in the Roman Empire. As Romans punished Christians socially and politically, was the social and political standing of Jews enhanced or did it remain the same even though Christians became Rome’s new whipping boy?

    And as Christians rejected Roman polytheism, how did their only-one-God stance affect Jewish monotheism way back when? Did Judaism become more monotheistic or less? Did Judaism accept Christianity as a fellow monotheistic religion and view Christians as allies against the pagan world?

    I’ve read elsewhere that Christians took great pains to show Romans that Christianity had its roots in Judaism, an ancient religion — and not at all the novelty Romans made Christianity out to be.

    Did Roman Empire Jews feel the same chords of kinship with the Christians?

    Lots of questions, I realize. If your new book does not address perhaps you can refer me to one that does.

    Thank you.

    • Steve: In Destroyer of the gods I don’t focus on what was happening in Judaism or to Jews particularly, except to acknowledge the indebtedness of what became early Christianity to its Jewish matrix in such matters as its “monotheism” and some behavioural standards. The book is about early Christianity.

  2. Mike Gantt permalink

    Regarding “Destroyer” and “Why on Earth,” any plans for Kindle editions of either?

    Regarding “Why on Earth,” are its findings incorporated into “Destroyer” such that a reader of “Destroyer” might find “Why on Earth” superfluous?

    (Obviously, these are the questions of an eager, but budget-minded reader.)

    • “Why on Earth” addresses the question stated in the title. “Destroyer” (a somewhat larger work) addresses the sub-title: “Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World”, itemizing several features that made it distinctive, odd, even bizarre in the eyes of many. Different questions, but related. Neither duplicates the other. I don’t do that. Kindle editions? Up to the publishers.

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