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The Second Church: Popular Christianity A.D. 200-400 (Writings from the Greco-Roman World Supplement) Paperback – March 1, 2009

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About the Author

Ramsay MacMullen is Dunham Professor Emeritus of History and Classics at Yale University. He is the recipient of a lifetime Award for Scholarly Distinction from the American Historical Association and the author of numerous volumes on Christianity and the Roman Empire.
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Product Details

  • Series: Writings from the Greco-Roman World Supplement (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Society of Biblical Literature (March 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589834038
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589834033
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #857,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Christianity during its transition around Constantine's time had prominent spokesmen (bishops and other literate apologists) whose words have survived. Yet the life of most "Christians" -- whatever the term meant to them as individuals -- transformed gradually and must be reconstructed. Social habits that preceded "conversion" -- whatever THAT term meant to them as individuals -- persisted in new settings, often disapproved of, if tolerated, by the hierarchy. The First Church was a club of prosperous elites. "As our slaves prepare the table for a feast, so we are preparing the Way," one sermon advises. (My paraphrase.) The Second Church was everyone else. "The 99%" as MacMullen describes it, relating to the present persuasively and entertainingly. I'm simplifying. He makes it clear that there were shades between. For example you didn't have to be rich to own a slave or even several. But social stratification was the status quo then as now. It's an informative pleasure to hunt with MacMullen for the signs of how these ordinary people lived. In a sense they drifted with, but in a sense they were themselves, the tides of history.
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This was supposed to be required textbook for class on Early Christianity. It has lot's of pictures. I found that in some of my travels there were pictures of what I saw only this time it was very meaningful and understandable. Any one interested in what the first church looked like should definitely get this book. Also, it is written by Ramsey MacMullen, who is excellent ad goes with his "Christianizing the Roma Empire AD 100-400.
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