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We Look for a Kingdom: The Everyday Lives of the Early Christians Paperback – March 1, 2007
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In this ground-breaking work, Mr. Sommer divides the subject into two major portions - first the Roman cultural background, then the Christian experience and influence within that culture. Having, for some time, believed that the Christian influence was particularly strong in the Roman military leading up to the conversion of Emperor Constantine, I was especially pleased with the details on the Roman military culture and the early Christian views on military service. Mr. Sommer owes a great deal to earlier works such as Militia Christi: The Christian Religion & the Military in the First Three Centuries. Translation of Militia Christi Die Christliche Religion Und Der Soldatenstand in d but is able to summarize that work in a more accessible form. Mr. Sommer is a good teacher and communicator and has done a fine job of condensing so much material into such a well organized package. His background in historical theology is clear in this work and helps to make it essential reading for anyone interested in doctrinal development or Church history.Read more ›
So I'm shocked and appalled that Ignatius would publish this book, which reads like a B- college paper. Many of the sweeping generalizations would be hilarious if the author weren't apparently serious. A personal "favorite" is on p. 14, where Emperors "Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero" are all lumped together: "all four died violent deaths in the midst of widespread public revulsion." Claudius was no saint, but what historian on this planet equates him with the other three? and what reputable scholar would ever dream of suggesting that his death (presumably by poison, administered by relatives with an eye to seizing power) is comparable to (e.g.) Caligula's murder by the Pretorian Guard? If a college student made such a ridiculously innacurate statement in a term-paper, I'd cover the page with red ink!
But page after page is simply riddled with statements like this one, over-simplistic, banal, and misleading. Take p. 22: "by the time of Augustus the pontifex maximus was the most important religious figure in Rome, which might be why Augustus took this office for himself." Did the author never learn in school that Julius Caesar had been pontifex maximus until his death, and Augustus seems quite obviously to have wanted to continue the notion that future rulers of Rome would hold that office too?Read more ›