I hope that readers will forgive my rather immodest notice yesterday of Tom Holland’s (postive) review of Bart Ehrman’s new book, The Triumph of Christianity, in The Spectator, immodest because the review includes also a positive reference to my book, Destroyer of the gods. Holland’s collocation of our two books also allows me to offer some thoughts of my own about them.
Ehrman’s book deals with a much more traditional historical question: Why/how did the early Christian movement “triumph” or “succeed”–i.e., move from being a sometimes-persecuted sect to the officially adopted religion of the Emperor, and thereafter the dominant religion of the Empire? Ehrman rightly emphasizes that Constantine was no fool, and that by the time that he lifted the sanctions against Christianity it had already made impressive inroads in Roman-era society, both in numbers and in the social levels of converts.
So, with various previous scholars, Ehrman explores…
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