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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.

©2011 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2011 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Lee on 09-30-13

Not what they told you in Sunday School

What made the experience of listening to The Fall of the Pagans and the Origins of Medieval Christianity the most enjoyable?

I grew up in a very Christian family, but hardly knew anything about the history of my faith. Of course, I was told how the religion started in Sunday School, but years later I have grown to seek accurate information. After years of study, I've realized much of the church history presented in Sunday School is the religious equivalent of urban legends. Religion is a powerful force in our lives, and everyone, religious or not, ought to seek out scholarly works (not apologetics) that throw the light of reason and real facts into our world.

Have you listened to any of Professor Kenneth W. Harl’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Professor Kenneth W. Harl did a fantastic job of taking all the complex social issues and weaving them into a coherent whole. It does take careful listening, and the professor never talks down to us. Sometimes you can really hear the passion in his voice.

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9 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By shane on 09-19-14

An excellent and thought provoking series

Which scene was your favorite?

The "what if" moment of Julian the Apostate. Here was a pagan emperor who was born as a Christian, and attempted to turn back the clock on the Christian revolution. He knew what was necessary for a neo-pagan resurgence, and had he lived it might have worked.This lecture in particular opened my eyes to the realization that the history of the West and possibly the whole world didn't have to turn out the way it did.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ed on 01-26-16

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

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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