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Rationales For The Adoption Of Christianity

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Chapter Summary

For anyone with an interest in the ancient world, there can be few questions so interesting as that of why Christianity replaced paganism in the Roman Empire. This chapter suggests a different way of thinking about this question and its answers. In so doing, it draws attention to the need when discussing the conditions for the emergence of Christianity to maintain a historically exact but warmly empathetic attitude to the people who underwent these changes, something which Jan Bremmer, 'kenner van het vroege Christendom' amongst all his other interests, has taught us through his studies of Christian women, Constantine's vision, the readership of Christian fiction, the spinners of apocryphal literature and their imaginaire, and the genuine feel for Christ of the early martyrs amidst so much else. MacMullen argued that the performance of 'miracles' disproportionately benefited Christianity because Christian miracles, unlike pagan, entailed a rejection of other (pagan) religious practices.

Keywords: Christianity; Constantine; Jan Bremmer; miracles; paganism; religious practices; Roman Empire



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