When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight over Christ's Divinity in the Last Days of Rome

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“[A] panoramic view of early Christianity as it developed against the backdrop of the Roman Empire of the fourth century” (Publishers Weekly).
 
The story of Jesus is well known, as is the story of Christian persecutions during the Roman Empire. The history of fervent debate, civil strife, and bloody riots within the Christian community as it was coming into being, however, is a side of ancient history rarely described.
 
Richard E. Rubenstein takes the reader to the streets of the Roman Empire during the fourth century, when a fateful debate over the divinity of Jesus Christ is being fought. Ruled by a Christian emperor, followers of Jesus no longer fear for the survival of their monotheistic faith. But soon, they break into two camps regarding the direction of their worship: Is Jesus the son of God and therefore not the same as God? Or is Jesus precisely God on earth and therefore equal to Him? The vicious debate is led by two charismatic priests. Arius, an Alexandrian priest and poet, preaches that Jesus, though holy, is less than God. Athanasius, a brilliant and violent bishop, sees any diminution of Jesus’s godhead as the work of the devil. Between them stands Alexander, the powerful Bishop of Alexandria, who must find a resolution that will keep the empire united and the Christian faith alive.
 
With thorough historical, religious, and social research, Rubenstein vividly recreates one of the most critical moments in the history of religion.
 
“A splendidly dramatic story . . . Rubenstein has turned one of the great fights of history into an engrossing story.” —Jack Miles, The Boston Globe; author of God: A Biography
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About the author

Richard E. Rubenstein is professor of conflict resolution and public affairs at George Mason University and an expert on religious conflict. A graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, he was a Rhodes Scholar and studied at Oxford University. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
Aug 16, 2013
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780547350967
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Christianity / General
Religion / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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New York Times bestselling author and Bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church.

The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.

A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty, Creator of all things. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, Ehrman sketches Jesus’s transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus’s followers had visions of him after his death—alive again—did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today.

Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in the historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God.

This book analyses how certain types of social systems generate violent conflict and discusses how these systems can be transformed in order to create the conditions for positive peace.

Resolving Structural Conflicts addresses a key issue in the field of conflict studies: what to do about violent conflicts that are not the results of misunderstanding, prejudice, or malice, but the products of a social system that generates violent conflict as part of its normal operations. This question poses enormous challenges to those interested in conflict resolution, since the solution to this problem involves restructuring social, political, and cultural systems rather than just calling in a mediator to help people arrive at an agreement. This study breaks new ground in showing how local conflicts involving crime, police, and prisons; transnational conflicts involving religious terrorism by groups like ISIS; and international conflicts involving Great Power clashes are all produced in large part by elite-driven, exploitative or oppressive social structures. It also presents new ideas about the implications of this ‘structural turn’ for the practice of conflict resolution, emphasizing the need for conflict resolvers to embrace a new politics and to broaden their methods far beyond traditional forms of facilitation.

Written by a leading scholar, this book will be of much interest to students of conflict resolution, peace studies, war and conflict studies, sociology, political science and international relations in general.

This book analyses how certain types of social systems generate violent conflict and discusses how these systems can be transformed in order to create the conditions for positive peace.

Resolving Structural Conflicts addresses a key issue in the field of conflict studies: what to do about violent conflicts that are not the results of misunderstanding, prejudice, or malice, but the products of a social system that generates violent conflict as part of its normal operations. This question poses enormous challenges to those interested in conflict resolution, since the solution to this problem involves restructuring social, political, and cultural systems rather than just calling in a mediator to help people arrive at an agreement. This study breaks new ground in showing how local conflicts involving crime, police, and prisons; transnational conflicts involving religious terrorism by groups like ISIS; and international conflicts involving Great Power clashes are all produced in large part by elite-driven, exploitative or oppressive social structures. It also presents new ideas about the implications of this ‘structural turn’ for the practice of conflict resolution, emphasizing the need for conflict resolvers to embrace a new politics and to broaden their methods far beyond traditional forms of facilitation.

Written by a leading scholar, this book will be of much interest to students of conflict resolution, peace studies, war and conflict studies, sociology, political science and international relations in general.

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