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The Triumph of Christianity

How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World
Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (590 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling authority on early Christianity, the story of how Christianity grew from a religion of 20 or so peasants in rural Galilee to the dominant religion in the West in less than 400 years.

Christianity didn't have to become the dominant religion in the West. It easily could have remained a sect of Judaism fated to have the historical importance of the Sadducees or the Essenes. In The Triumph of Christianity, Bart Ehrman, a master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, shows how a religion whose first believers were 20 or so illiterate day laborers in a remote part of the empire became the official religion of Rome, converting some 30 million people in just four centuries. The Triumph of Christianity combines deep knowledge and meticulous research in an eye-opening narrative that upends the way we think about the single most important cultural transformation our world has ever seen - one that revolutionized art, music, literature, philosophy, ethics, economics, and law.

©2017 Simon & Schuster Audio (P)2018 Bart D. Ehrman

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Another Piece of the Jesus Puzzle

Would you consider the audio edition of The Triumph of Christianity to be better than the print version?

I did not read the print version but enjoyed hearing the audio edition. There is so much historical information from early times that I don't think I would have read the print version in a timely manner.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Triumph of Christianity?

Hearing about the pagan religions of people who lived before and during Jesus' time and how their religions did not have the overarching narrative that Christianity had, and how that may have given Christianity its appeal; that was very interesting.

Any additional comments?

I had heard the author interviewed recently. I had already read his first two books and did not realize he had more books between those first ones and this book, The Triumph of Christianity. I was thinking this was going to be about Jesus' charismatic personality or what, exactly, drew people to follow him. Miracles that could not be explained, perhaps? But this is not that book. This book is more of a sociological study of how Christianity gained momentum and became a worldwide religion. After listening to this, I read Ehrman's book Jesus, Interrupted. That book is back at the beginning of Christianity, going through how the Bible was created. Both books are amazing (all of his books are) and I highly recommend them to Christians and non-Christians alike.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Another Winner

Another great book on the history of Christianity. Ehrman's books are incredible. While this one is a little deeper and might take more than one read, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about how Christianity grew and the background of the era it grew in.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Informative but rather dry

It’s a nice detailed overview of the historic rise of Christianity. It’s very useful to get sense of what actually happened and is a good resource for thoughtful Christians and non-Christians. The reading is okay but a bit dry. Sometimes the text is repetitive. Several places the same idea is repeated more than once.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Brock W
  • Washington State
  • 07-25-18

Worth the read

I was a Christian pastor and very interested in the topic of historical Christianity and textual criticism. Ever since Misquoting Jesus I have taken the time to review his material and compare with the personal research I have done.

As it pertains to The Triumph of Christianity, I had read through only once just to get a brief "lay of the land" so my observations are surface level without doing a critical review of the claims made. That being said, Dr. Ehrman did a great job of compiling the historical information together in a way that made sense to the reader. The cultural and religious divide between modern religion and ancient paganism [and even ancient Christianity for that matter] is such a large chasm that many people misunderstand or read into history their modern day paradigm and make judgments without that historical framework. I did enjoy the work put into making sure that historical and cultural framework was framed for this book.

At this point, the only criticism I have would be Dr. Ehrmans feigned neutrality which becomes apparent from the very beginning. What he considers reliable "historical" information and sources [be that biblical accounts or other historical sources] seem arbitrary. By way of example: Dr. Ehrman had recently posted a blog concerning the historical reliability of the book of Acts [dated 03-29-2016 "Is the book of acts historically reliable? Smoke and mirrors"] in this blog he makes the case that the book is not reliable. However, numerous times throughout this book, he will utilize the historical accounts found within the book of acts in order to support his arguments and make his case for the cultural influence of Christianity in the pagan world. This kind of cherry picking of what is/isn't historical data is concerning and leads me to believe the basis for those conclusions are at least in part dictated and filtered through Dr. Ehrmans presuppositions and skepticism.

This is a micro example, of what I believe is a macro issue in many of Dr. Ehrmans scholarship. That being said, everybody has bias and presuppositions and I am not going to hold that against him or any author.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and I think it would be a good introduction to anybody interested in the historical development of Christianity in the ancient world.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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More Dry and Repetitive than Ehrman's Other Work

I consider myself a fan of Professor Ehrman and have been for some years. He is one of those figures who can be quoted as an authority by both believers and non-believers alike. This is because despite his personal and outspoken nature as an non-believer, he keeps his biases mostly under control and is a good historian as a result. He has made a career on communicating to a broader audience the historical methods that those who study Christianity, Judaism and the ancient world in general use and the conclusions that these methods bear out.

The last book of his, one that I read as a physical copy, Jesus Before the Gospels, seemed far more interesting than this one.

The information here seems very dry and for the first several chapters it just felt as if Ehrman was repeating himself. There is a pattern of explaining a modern misconception or historical myth, knocking it down or explaining the real facts around it, and then moving on but in a way that grows tiresome. He repeats himself about Paul, about Constantine, about the Pagans, about what it means to be Pagan and after bringing up a new point he often brings up, again, something he already explained to us. It feels like he constantly re-establishes the context when he doesn't have to.

I'm not saying the book is padded out or dumbed down for an even wider audience but it does FEEL like that at times. Also, the narrator, I'm sure he's doing his best, but his voice is so lifeless that getting through this was a real slog. When Ehrman gives speeches and talks he does so with a certain humor, vigor, and cadence that make even the dry stuff fairly interesting but the narrator here is not so well spoken.

All in all I'd give it 2 stars. It's not bad or uninteresting especially for those interested in the subject matter at hand but it does feel longer and more dry than it has to be and the narration doesn't help.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Delivers

The author answers the question posed by the title. The writing is clear and easy to follow.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I love Bart Ehrman

I have listened to most of his books and Great Courses, I watch his you tube videos and follow his Twitter feed. This book is just as well done as all his others but I gave 4 stars because the subject matter just didn't interest me as much as his other books. Gotta save 5 stars for my favorites.

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Phenomenal Historical Account

Like a good book , a page turner, this audio book kept me captivated as the author took us from 1sr Century CE through to the 4th Century CE and beyond. Extremely well referenced to respected historians, this history filled in many of the blanks how the life and teachings of an itinerant Galilean Jewish preacher transformed. over time to become the dominant religion of western civilization and beyond. What if Constantine had not converted to Christian faith, or if his successor Julian a pagan lived longer?

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Everyone should read this

I know some people hate the work of Bart Ehrman because they complain about the results of his scholarship. Not that they can provide a logical alternative. I’ve come to learn much from each of his book and understand logical alternative to church teaching. What’s obvious is that most church attendees are biblically illiterate.

10 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Rich in historical details

This is a very informative book. As a devout Christian, I actually learned a lot about the bible history reading this book. Dr. Earhman stayed neutral as much as he could but occasionally injected his ideas and thoughts, but hey no one is perfect. Overall, very easy to understand and well written.