Item description for Pagan Rome and the Early Christians by Stephen Benko...
As perceived by the average Roman citizen, the early rites and behavior of Christians laid them open to charges of cannibalism, immorality, and the practice of magic and conspiring and fomenting rebellion aganst the state.
The early church fathers rejected these accusations and portrayed pagans as victims of misinformation or perpetrators of ill will. Benko proposes to give the pagans the benefit of the doubt and analyzes their charges against Christianity under the premise that they may have been right within the context of the times. He has provided a persuasively argued and refreshing--if controversial--perspective on the confrontation of the pagan and early Christian worlds.
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Studio: Indiana University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.08" Width: 6" Height: 0.52" Weight: 0.73 lbs.
Release Date Jul 22, 1986
Publisher Indiana University Press
ISBN 0253203856 ISBN13 9780253203854
Availability 0 units.
More About Stephen Benko
Benko is Professor of History at California State University at Fresno.
Stephen Benko was born in 1924 and has an academic affiliation as follows - California State University.
Reviews - What do customers think about Pagan Rome and the Early Christians?
Rome Mar 9, 2007
This book presents the view of early Christianity from the Roman side, by focusing on the work of several early writers and commentators. The insights are quite interesting and the view of Roman society is rather different from that one hears in Christian circles. I recommend the book, but wish it went into a bit more depth in places, and explained some things more fully.
We're not that different from ancient Romans Jun 27, 2001
One of the things that was impressed upon me by this book is that Romans were horrified by the early Christians in much the same way many people in this day and age are horrified by groups with seemingly "different" ideas. To most ancient Romans the Christians were people who skulked around at night and performed cannibalism. To the more enlightened, who honestly tried to understand what it was that Christians believed, the Christian belief system still didn't make sense on a philosophical basis. This book teaches us that Christianity spooked a lot of ancient Romans because the worship of Roman gods was so tied to Roman patriotism. If you didn't worship the Roman gods then how could you be a good Roman? Despite this, Romans were amazingly tolerant of most other belief systems which adds even more weight to how radical early Christians had to have been.
This is a well-written, well-researched and interesting book. I think that perhaps inadvertently it is also a good book about human nature. In particular it reinforces the importance of keeping the church and the state separate.