The Fall of the Pagans and the Origins of Medieval Christianity : The Great Courses: Ancient History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Kenneth W. Harl
  • Series: The Great Courses: Ancient History
  • 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Explore the dramatic interaction between Judaism, Christianity, and paganism in Rome from the 1st to the 6th centuries. Why did pagan Rome clash with the early Christians? What was it like to be a Jew or a Christian under Roman law? And how did Christianity ultimately achieve dominance in the Roman Empire?
Over the course of 24 lectures, Professor Harl enables you to grasp the full historical sweep of this critically important era and its key figures. You'll examine why Christianity was able to emerge and endure and, in turn, spark a critical transition for religion, culture, and politics that underpins much of how today's Western world - both Christian and non-Christian alike - thinks about ethics, sin, redemption, forgiveness, progress, and so much more.
While the Judeo-Christian values that have shaped society's ideas are ones we might today take for granted, their emergence from an ancient era dominated by loyalties to a vast array of gods would once have seemed the most unlikely of narratives. Even after the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in A.D. 312, it would not be until the 6th-century reign of Justinian that medieval Christianity would emerge and this new historical pathway confirmed.
In this magnificent course, Professor Harl brings to life some of the most important and fascinating episodes of the era, taking you on a vibrant trek through the past - one that will lead you to a deeper understanding of the bedrock beliefs of Western culture.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Daunting title. Captivating analysis

If you could sum up The Fall of the Pagans and the Origins of Medieval Christianity in three words, what would they be?

Clear reasoned humble


What did you like best about this story?

Professor Harl is passionate about his subject and delivers a compelling and poised appraisal of a complex process that he sees as descernible in shape speed and direction.


Which scene did you most enjoy?

Professor Harl is careful to keep the listener away from presumptions drawn from the modern world but rather to configure the story of this transformation by careful analysis of culture economics and politics of the time.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, there is too much material. I have listen to this book twice and will undoubtedly do so again. In addition it pays to read other authors too to see that this is a contribution to the profession of history more than an asserted viewpoint. There are other writers such as Bart Ehrman who I would read after reading Professor Harl


Any additional comments?

Professor Harl is particularly knowledgable about coinage which adds an element I have not encountered before

Read full review

- Ed

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses