The Rise of Christianity
History, Documents, and Key Questions
by Kevin W. Kaatz
December 2015, 212pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-807-8
$76, £59, 67€, A105
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-808-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Not many modern-day Christians are familiar with the early history of this religious movement.

An outstanding resource for high school readers and first-year college students, this book explores early Christianity from its beginnings in the first century through the fourth century when Christianity went from a persecuted faith to the only legalized faith in the Roman Empire.

How did Christianity become one of the most widespread religions as well as one of the most influential forces in world history that has shaped politics, wars, literature, art, and music on every continent? This book contains more than 40 entries on various topics in early Christianity, 15 primary documents, and 6 argumentative essays written by scholars in the field. The breadth of materials enables readers to learn about early Christianity from a number of different viewpoints and to come to their own conclusions about how historical events unfolded in early Christianity.

This single-volume work focuses on the first four centuries of early Christianity, including topics on Jerusalem, Herod the Great, Paul, Tertullian, Mani, The Arians, Constantine the Great, and many others. Readers will be well equipped to answer three critical questions that scholars of early Christianity deal with when they study this period: Why was Christianity popular? Why were Christians persecuted? How did Christianity spread?


  • Provides readers with a broad understanding of early Christianity from the time of Jesus to the fall of Rome and an appreciation for how early Christian communities spread throughout the Empire
  • Examines a number of key topics that relate to the varied communities that made up early Christianity
  • Provides readers with multiple primary documents in order to better understand early Christianity and offer opportunities to apply their critical thinking skills
  • Supports NCHS World History content standards for Era 3, Standard 3B
Kevin W. Kaatz is assistant professor in the Department of History at California State University, East Bay Campus, Hayward, CA. He is editor of Greenwood's Voices of Early Christianity: Documents from the Origins of Christianity; author of Praeger's Early Controversies and the Growth of Christianity; and coeditor of Hegemonius, Acta Archelai ("The Acts of Archelaus"). Kaatz has also written a number of articles on early church history and in the field of neurology.
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