Rodney Stark is one of the leading authorities on the sociology of religion. He grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota, where he began his career as a newspaper reporter. Following a tour of duty in the US Army, Stark received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where he held appointments as a research sociologist at the Survey Research Center and at the Center for the Study of Law and Society. For many years, the Pulitzer Prize nominee was professor of sociology and professor of comparative religion at the University of Washington. In 2004 he became Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and co-director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University.
Stark has authored more than 150 scholarly articles and 32 books in 17 different languages, including several widely used sociology textbooks and best-selling titles like The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries; The Triumph of Faith: Why the World is More Religious Than Ever; The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion; God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades; A Star in the East: The Rise of Christianity ion China; and The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success.