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Economic Origins of Roman Christianity Hardcover – August 15, 2011

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Economic Origins of Roman Christianity + Sacred Trust: The Medieval Church as an Economic Firm + A History of the Church in the Middle Ages
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Editorial Reviews


“An engrossing and insightful account of the branding of early Christianity through entrepreneurship, networking, manipulation of civil governments, and the control of entry into the Roman religion market. This is a major contribution to the study of religion, giving us a fresh, analytical approach to early Christianity and how it became the powerful medieval church.”
(Rachel M. McCleary, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

Economic Origins of Roman Christianity takes readers on a sweeping tour of a millennium, introducing us to Saint Paul as entrepreneur, the Nicaean Council as product strategy, and Charlemagne and Pope Leo III as masters of vertical integration. Using economic models, the authors narrate a history of religion that adds a new dimension to our typical view of the political, military, and theological origins of Christianity. There is much here for economists to ponder and enough storytelling to keep history buffs going.”

(Larry Witham, author of Marketplace of the Gods: How Economics Explains Religion)

 “By applying fundamental economic principles, Ekelund and Tollison shed light on the often mysterious ecclesiastical practices of the Roman Catholic Church as well as its weakening grip as an institutional monopoly in the marketplace of religions. Economic Origins of Roman Christianity will have wide ramifications for economists, sociologists, and political scientists concerned with economic development, the roots of religious plurality, and institutional change.”

(Murat Iyigun, University of Colorado)

About the Author

Robert B. Ekelund Jr. is the Catherine and Edward Lowder Eminent Scholar of Economics at Auburn University. He is the author of numerous books, including The Marketplace of Christianity with Robert D. Tollison and Robert F. Herbert. Robert D. Tollison is the C. Wilson Newman Professor of Economics at Clemson University.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (August 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226200027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226200026
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,024,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is written for economists and focuses on the evolution of Christianity from its beginnings up to the monopoly it reached in the middle ages. It shows how the church was monopolized by civil governments and provides a fascinating (but quick, too quick sometimes) account of the interplay between civil governments and Rome that led to dominance over Western Europe for 5 or 6 centuries. Though written for economists it is highly accessible to the "intelligent layperson."
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