Paganism in the Roman Empire


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Ramsay MacMullen

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“MacMullen…has published several books in recent years which establish him, rightfully, as a leading social historian of the Roman Empire. The current volume exhibits many of the characteristics of its predecessors: the presentation of novel, revisionist points of view…; discrete set pieces of trenchant argument which do not necessarily conform to the boundaries of traditional history; and an impressive, authoritative, and up-to-date documentation, especially rich in primary sources…A stimulating and provocative discourse on Roman paganism as a phenomenon worthy of synthetic investigation in its own right and as the fundamental context for the rise of Christianity.”—Richard Brilliant, History
“MacMullen’s latest work represents many features of paganism in its social context more vividly and clearly than ever before.”—Fergus Millar, American Historical Review
“The major cults…are examined from a social and cultural perspective and with the aid of many recently published specialized studies…Students of the Roman Empire…should read this book.”—Robert J, Penella, Classical World
“A distinguished book with much exact observation…An indispensable mine of erudition on a grand theme.” Henry Chadwick, Times Literary Supplement
Ramsay MacMullen is Dunham Professor of History and Classics at Yale University and the author of Roman Government’s Response to Crisis, A.D. 235-337 and Roman Social Relations, 50 B.C. to A.D. 284  

"Ramsay MacMullen's new book adds another to what is now a substantial series of studies by him covering themes in the social and governmental history of the Roman Empire. . . . In my view it is his best book to date (one can safely assume that there will be more)."—Fergus Miller, American Historical Review

"MacMullen has an engaging flare for popularization laced with humour that should appeal to a wider public than just the specialist reader. . . . As a thoughtful and engrossing portrayal of the many faces of paganism, M's introduction to the topic deserves to become required reading for all who are interested in classical antiquity."—D. Fishwick, American Journal of Philology

"MacMullen's study is valuable in setting paganism within a context that illuminates and makes more understandable the rise of Christianity, which remains the principal event in the religious history of the Roman Empire."—John E. Rexine, The Classical Bulletin

"Anyone with an interest in the religious and social history of the pre-Nicene era will find this book most rewarding."—William D. Carpe, The Review of Books and Religion

"Marvelously lucid and vivid. . . . MacMullen's endnotes are frequently at least as interesting as the text. . . . The book is absolutely invaluable."—Eugene N. Lane, The Classical Outlook

"MacMullen possesses two strengths rarely seen in previous studies: an unrivaled knowledge of the inscriptional evidence. . . and an unswerving determination to interpret paganism on its own terms."—Choice

Ramsay MacMullen is the recipient of a lifetime Award for Scholarly Distinction from the American Historical Association (awarded Jan. 5, 2001). The citation begins, “Ramsay MacMullen is the greatest historian of the Roman Empire alive today.”
ISBN: 9780300029840
Publication Date: September 10, 1983
246 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Christianizing the Roman Empire

(A. D. 100-400)

Ramsay MacMullen

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