We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD | [Peter Brown]

Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD

Jesus taught his followers that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Yet by the fall of Rome, the church was becoming rich beyond measure. Through the Eye of a Needle is a sweeping intellectual and social history of the vexing problem of wealth in Christianity in the waning days of the Roman Empire, written by the world's foremost scholar of late antiquity.
Regular Price:$20.72
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

Jesus taught his followers that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Yet by the fall of Rome, the church was becoming rich beyond measure. Through the Eye of a Needle is a sweeping intellectual and social history of the vexing problem of wealth in Christianity in the waning days of the Roman Empire, written by the world's foremost scholar of late antiquity.

Peter Brown examines the rise of the church through the lens of money and the challenges it posed to an institution that espoused the virtue of poverty and called avarice the root of all evil. Drawing on the writings of major Christian thinkers such as Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome, Brown examines the controversies and changing attitudes toward money caused by the influx of new wealth into church coffers, and describes the spectacular acts of divestment by rich donors and their growing influence in an empire beset with crisis. He shows how the use of wealth for the care of the poor competed with older forms of philanthropy deeply rooted in the Roman world, and sheds light on the ordinary people who gave away their money in hopes of treasure in heaven.

Through the Eye of a Needle challenges the widely held notion that Christianity's growing wealth sapped Rome of its ability to resist the barbarian invasions, and offers a fresh perspective on the social history of the church in late antiquity.

©2012 Princeton University Press (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (123 )
5 star
 (35)
4 star
 (30)
3 star
 (34)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (9)
Overall
3.9 (99 )
5 star
 (39)
4 star
 (28)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (5)
Story
3.5 (103 )
5 star
 (30)
4 star
 (28)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (9)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Adam Shields 05-08-13 Member Since 2014

    Book blogger at Bookwi.se

    HELPFUL VOTES
    277
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    201
    124
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    79
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Worth reading, but a bit long"

    For those that are interested in Christian history and/or Christian understanding of wealth and economics this new book by Peter Brown is well worth paying attention to. It is long, but detailed look at the late Roman Empire. There are several places where Brown is going against the common understanding of that time period, but I think he well documents them.

    The narration is fine, although there are so many foreign words (ancient Greek, Latin, Italian, etc) and some of them are not pronounced the way I think is right. I may be wrong, but it was a bit irritating. But the reading was good and the book was worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie WASHINGTON, DC, United States 04-10-13
    Marie WASHINGTON, DC, United States 04-10-13 Member Since 2010

    Professional librarian type, amateur historian.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    91
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    155
    69
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    15
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow, plodding but very informative"

    There was a chance I was not going to finish this book because it was a little dry and there was so much necessary information the author was putting forth. But after listening I believe I am a better and informed Christian and would recommend the book with the caveat that it is a little difficult to really get into the book, in the beginning.
    One of the things Peter Brown does well is provide a sense of the culture and environment people lived in for the modern reader. He made me realize my concepts of what was wealth and poverty did not match up to late Roman views of wealth, and the importance of citizenship, and poverty. He translates the past for the modern reader. Unfortunately it take a while to translate and can be a tad uninteresting.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Romsey, Australia 03-21-13
    Andrew Romsey, Australia 03-21-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Review"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Through the Eye of a Needle to be better than the print version?

    This is an academic work. It requires a careful reading to fully grasp the import of the author's argument and to achieve a nuanced understanding. The audio version is a very poor cousin. However, for my present purpose, listening to it in the car has been a fruitful experience, and I will be purchasing the book for a more complete study.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance was generally good, although the reader's pronunciation of certain words raised my eyebrows from time to time. Often, I wasn't sure whether the reader was using an Americanism, or just incorrect.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice 03-04-13
    Janice 03-04-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Striking reinterpretation of the fall of Rome"

    Peter Brown is one of the best historians of Christianity today. In this book, he reexamines the role of Christianity in the collapse of the western Roman empire. Strikingly, he finds that christianity was part of the late Roman world not an attacking outsider. I really enjoyed it but I am a historian so I do like more academic approaches to history.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anneke Balwyn North, Australia 02-13-13
    Anneke Balwyn North, Australia 02-13-13 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book"
    What made the experience of listening to Through the Eye of a Needle the most enjoyable?

    I really enjoyed listening to the Eye of the Needle because it's very vivid description of the time and the issues. It brings together a wealth of information.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    It's grasp of the complexities of the time and its ability to present them in a way that made them transparent.


    Have you listened to any of Fleet Cooper’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I really like the way he reads. Engaging.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Money is at the bottom of most things, even in Early Christianity. Many of my preconceptions about some of the Church Fathers have been modified.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a great book and worth the listen.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bodacious Wonderment San Diego, CA USA 02-12-13
    Bodacious Wonderment San Diego, CA USA 02-12-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Meh"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Probably not. Pretty dry and LOTS of conjectures.


    Has Through the Eye of a Needle turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    Which character – as performed by Fleet Cooper – was your favorite?

    N/A


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Probably.


    Any additional comments?

    It was OK. But a bit unfocused and there were a LOT of conjectures and not a lot of internal consistency. EG, he makes a point of saying that, contrary to what we used to believe, a lot of villa's were built up not just to point out that the rich were different/better than the poor, but because the rich actually LIKED their homes (not much of a inference in any event), then moments later says that the villas were like machines whose function was to separate the rich from the poor.

    On one hand, this book did give a good feeling for the complexities of trying to capture a long gone culture, on the other hand, fell to the temptation to rather dogmatically make broad generalizations based on scanty evidence.

    Still....pretty interesting...

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.