Industrial-Sized Deals TextBTS15 Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Disturbed $5 Off Fire TV Stick Off to College Essentials Shop Popular Services gotS5 gotS5 gotS5  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Metal Gear Solid 5 Shop Back to School with Amazon Back to School with Amazon Outdoor Recreation STEM Toys & Games

Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries

17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300080773
ISBN-10: 0300080778
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used
Buy new
More Buying Choices
30 New from $9.44 44 Used from $2.98 1 Collectible from $24.95
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

InterDesign Brand Store Awareness Rent Textbooks
$27.84 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries + Christianizing the Roman Empire: A.D. 100-400 + Paganism and Christianity 100-425 C.E.
Price for all three: $79.68

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (October 11, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300080778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300080773
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,394,810 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

59 of 63 people found the following review helpful By on September 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Concise, elegant, massively documented and beautifully endnoted, Ramsay MacMullen's book is a devastating account of the rise of Christianity and the destruction of Paganism. With 85 pages of notes to 159 pages of text, with widespread use of primary sources, archeological evidence and the secondary literature, MacMullen's book is an exhaustive update of Gibbon for the present day. The book consists of four chapters, those being Christian Persecution, the losses of the Pagans, the rise of superstition and the assimilation of pagan elements into Christian practice. I think Stalin would find it grimly amusing reading, since it suggests that whatever success Christianity achieved was by fanaticism and violence. We start off with an account of how Christians systematically suppressed non-Christian works, as well as the "heretics" amongst themselves. We hear Eusebius, the first great Church historian, announce that it is not the duty to tell the whole truth but only what is of profit. Students of the Russian Revolution will remember the gruesome story of the child who informed on his "kulak" parents, was murdered by his relatives, and became the hero of a gruesome cult. In this book we hear how the emperor Justinian was moved to raptures on hearing of how a Jewish boy convert survived being thrown into a furnace by his father. Justinian learned how angels prevented the boy from being burned, and then he had the father crucified.
Persecution: MacMullen challenges those who argues that Christianity was an improvement for women and slaves. Women did play some role in leading Pagan cults, none at all in Christianity, and he tells how while a pagan governor demanded the compensation for the family of a murdered prostitute, Saint Jerome supported beheading for extramarital fornication.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By D. Cloyce Smith on March 25, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most readers of religious history are familiar with the pagan roots of Christmas, such as tree candles and the date of the feast itself. In this magnificently researched monograph, MacMullen digs far deeper and finds paganism lurking in the dimmest corners of Christianity. His book focuses on the first millennium, but even today's Christians (especially Catholics) will recognize many of the rituals and beliefs he discusses.
The book is not without controversy. The traditional view has been that, during the century after Constantine's conversion, most of the Roman Empire (and lands beyond) converted to Christianity with wholehearted gusto, and pagan beliefs survived only in remote pockets. Not so, according to the author's overwhelming evidence: paganism had an extremely long half-life. MacMullen also dispenses with the long-held traditional argument that women and slaves converted to Christianity because paganism did not offer them much. (If anything, as he clearly and succinctly shows, the reverse is true.) Furthermore, MacMullen discusses how, beginning in the fourth century, upon subsuming power, Christians dealt with pagans in the traditional (non-Christian) way: they persecuted them with intimidation, torture, forced conversions, and death. Persecutions continued for many centuries, indicating that the underlying pagan culture was indeed very hearty.
The problem with the early Church's aggressive approach is obvious: many converts were not true believers, or they didn't quite understand what they were accepting. In addition, the relatively new Christianity, "a religion of the book" that was strong on doctrine, lacked a distinctive culture or the ability to satisfy everyday needs and desires (whether worldly or supernatural).
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By George A Sherman on February 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
MacMullen does a valuable service by showing that persecution of non Christians was methodically practiced by the Church long before the Inquisition. The Church was indeed persecuted by Romans in its formative years. However, when Constantine made his calculated move to consolidate, and save what was left of his empire by supporting monarchial Christianity, its leaders, Augustine of Hippo among them, persecuted non believers with fanatical zeal. MacMullen's evidence is irrefutable. His new book shows that bloody and unbloody persecution by nascent ecclesiastical christianity formed part of the dynamic contributing to the growth of the church.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kirialax on August 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
Of all of the scholars who have written widely on Christianity, paganism, imperial patronage, and the transformation of the late Roman world, Peter Brown and Ramsay MacMullen stand above the rest. I've read a number of Brown's works, but this is the first of MacMullen's books that I've read. The general slant on the church's intolerance towards paganism makes this an excellent companion volume to Peter Brown's Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire (Curti Lecture Series).

This book is divided into four main sections with a conclusion at the end. The first chapter, "Persecution" deals with the attempt of the Christian church to eliminate religious alternatives. This chapter also introduces the book and here MacMullen lays out some of the challenges that the source material presents, namely that there is very little pagan material to work with. He also gives a little attention to some general issues in the study of early imperial Christianity, such as its expansion. However, that is not what the crux of this chapter is on. The focus is on the Christian desire of a systemic set of universal beliefs led to intolerance. He juxtaposes the positions of Christians before Constantine to the position of Symmachus, a pagan official at the end of the fourth century trying to convince Ambrose, that intractable bishop of Milan, for toleration. There is no doubt that there was persecution, and while this chapter explores it, MacMullen fails to really get below the surface and see why there was some much intolerance, of both pagans and other Christians alike.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries
This item: Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries
Price: $27.84
Ships from and sold by

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?