Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Cyber Monday Deals Week Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Indie for the Holidays egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Beauty Gifts Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer mithc mithc mithc  Amazon Echo Kindle Voyage Shop Now HTL
Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Acceptable | Details
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: The cover may have visible markings and wear. The dust jacket is missing. The pages show normal wear and tear. We ship Monday through Saturday and Expedited available - Safe and Secure Bubble Mailer & Fast Shipping!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) Hardcover – November 10, 2009

8 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$28.46 $14.98

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Defending the Christian religion against Greco-Roman paganism, the early Christian writer Tertullian once famously asked, What indeed does Athens have to do with Jerusalem? In his thoughtful, judicious and provocative new book, New Testament scholar Johnson answers, Plenty. Drawing deeply upon Greco-Roman literature, Johnson isolates four ways of being religious in the Greco-Roman world: the way of participation in divine benefits, the way of moral transformation, the way of transcending the world and the way of stabilizing the world. He illustrates each type of religiosity with a sketch of a Greco-Roman writer or text. Johnson then places this template of religiosity on the Christianity of the first through fourth centuries to illustrate how deeply embedded Greco-Roman patterns of religion influenced and contributed to the growth of Christianity. Johnson's careful and compelling approach avoids both the apologetic and the antagonistic tones that such conversations about early Christianity and Hellenistic religions often take. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Luke Johnson, a contrarian of the most constructive kind, defying all the usual categories, looks at the age-old story of Christianity’s ‘triumph’ over ‘paganism’ and turns it topsy turvy. A provocative and deeply humane book, to be savored and argued with.”—Wayne A. Meeks, author of First Urban Christians

(Wayne A. Meeks)

“Seeking to overturn an attitude towards Greco-Roman religion epitomized in Tertullian's famous rejection of Athens, Johnson demonstrates four ways of being religious that were common to Greeks, Romans, Jews, and early Christians. The work is important not only for the study of ancient religion, but for inter-faith dialogue today.”—Gregory E. Sterling, University of Notre Dame

(Gregory E. Sterling)

“A remarkable synthesis that challenges reigning assumptions about early Christianity’s relationship to the Graeco-Roman world, this book proposes new analytical categories to advance and enliven the ongoing ‘Christ and culture’ debate.”—Carl R. Holladay, Emory University

(Carl R. Holladay)

“In this important, well-documented, and challenging book, Johnson shows forcefully how demonizing and deprecating other religions has not served early Christianity well in the past, obscured its development, and has left a pernicious legacy.”—Frederick E. Brenk, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome

(Frederick E. Brenk)

"In [Johnson's] thoughtful, judicious and provocative new book. . . . [his] careful and compelling approach avoids both the apologetic and the antagonistic tones that. . . conversations about early Christianiry and Hellenistic religions often rake."—Publishers Weekly
(Publishers Weekly 2009-09-14)

“One of those rare books that is at once an excellent reference work and a great read . . . it promises to change the way most of us understand early Christianity.”--Timothy Beal, Christian Century

(Timothy Beal Christian Century)

"A stunning achievement."—David L. Balch, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly
(David L. Balch The Catholic Biblical Quarterly)

"The author's discussion of the religious symphony that is polytheism is very helpful and clear—this is by no means usual and is to be applauded. . . . This volume is a valuable edition to the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library. It is richly annotated, provoking thought and questions and providing the notes and resources needed to pursue those questions further. I believe it achieves the author's goal of presenting Greco-Roman religious practice and sensibility without the Christian apologetics and value judgments that have so often obscured the appreciation of this rich and unique tradition."—Lynn Lidonnici, Journal of Church History
(Lynn Lidonnici Journal of Church History)

"Who will fail to benefit from this stimulatingly provocative contribution from Luke Timothy Johnson?"—James D.G. Dunn, Interpretation
(James D.G. Dunn Interpretation)

“Outstanding”—Martin W. Mittelstadt, Religious Studies Review 
(Martin W. Mittelstadt Religious Studies Review)

Product Details

  • Series: The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (November 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300142080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300142082
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,601,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Certain Bibliophile on September 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Many religious people choose to focus on those things that make their religion unique, ahistorically separating it from the cultures and other religions in and around which it originally formed. It makes sense that several kinds of contemporary Christianity would do the same. For those looking for a scholarly, well-argued position against the singular historical uniqueness of Christianity, Luke Timothy Johnson provides an excellent one in "Among the Gentiles."

Johnson feels that illustrating lines of continuity between Greco-Roman paganism, Jewish traditions, and nascent Christianity opens up the possibility of dialogue, as well as providing a space where the comparative history of religions can take place stripped of the limiting, often judgmental assumptions of contemporary conservative Christian apologetics. Any project with this type of scope requires tools which allow for the analysis of those types of continuity at which Johnson is looking.

Methodologically, he proposes a fourfold religious typology which claims will be useful in looking at all of these traditions; even though Johnson teaches in a school of theology, he avoids any theological language in any of these. What he calls "Religiousness A" is the participation in divine benefits, including "revelation through prophecy, healing through revelation, providing security and status through Mysteries, enabling and providing for the daily successes of individuals, households, cities, and empires." This type of religious practice is optimistic in believing that the world is a stage for divine activity, and pragmatic in that "salvation involves security and success in this mortal life." Johnson says that Greek orator Aelius Aristides embodies this type.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Hudson on June 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was interested in filling in the context for the growth of Chrisitanity over the first four centuries, especially in connection with the Roman and Greek culture at the time. The book shows the many interactions in four areas, receiving the gifts and power of the divine, moral transformation, flight from the world, and stabiliization of life through the respective cultic activities. Aside from reading the original texts this provides a good summery and understanding of the material. It also as the author says is very relevant to understand how persons of the Christian persuasion have overly demonized other religious persuasions in a way that is not helpful in aa time of interfaith diversity.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Haggin on January 26, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got and read this book in late 2013, and I have been excited about it ever since. On the one hand, it is a refreshing look at some interesting historical questions ... and I love history. But the most compelling part/other hand, it challenges us Church people to re-examine our practices in the present time and place. It has given me a whole new lens through which to see the successes and short-comings of our contemporary local churches. I am excited to apply these insights in our Presbytery's attempts to organize new congregations and re-vivify/re-purpose existing ones. I have spent a lifetime arguing for the relevance of history. Seldom does a work of history radiate practical relevance like this one does. Its ideas, findings, arguments need to be brought into all the contemporary conversations about American Christianity. Unfortunately relatively few of our colleagues will undertake the work it might take to follow and appreciate it. I take it as my responsibility to present the findings in their contemporary relevance to my neighbors -- which I am doing. But without the solid scholarly foundation, I would have nothing important to 'retail.' (Isn't that why we are called to be a learned ministry?)
Full disclosure: I came to know Luke Johnson when he was a junior faculty member at Yale Divinity School (and I an M.Div. student). I never took any of his courses, but I had quite a few enjoyable and profitable conversations with him then ... and maybe half-a-dozen through the years since then. He is one of the authors I read with greatest interest and profit. Few such first-rate scholars are also so helpful to the personal disciples of Christ and to the front-line congregational leaders.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrick J. Goggins on October 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Johnson's four ways of being religious do apply, as he says, to almost all authentic religious experiences. What I hoped for was a more thorough analysis of the Greco-Roman religious experience, and how the early Christian evangelists interacted with it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: ancient artifacts, history of greece