IN THE REVIEW

The Devil and the Flesh

The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity

by Peter Brown
In March 1971, the newly established Center for Byzantine Studies at Birmingham University held a seminar on the subject of the role of the ascetic in the early Byzantine world. At the end came what was apparently a second draft (the first having been read at Oxford) of a paper, …

The Triumph of Sin

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

by Elaine Pagels
Few revolutions in this century have had so profound an effect on humanity as the revolution in social attitudes. Since 1900 the status of women and ideas of sexuality, marriage, and divorce have undergone changes as far-reaching as they are irreversible. Accompanying these has been the progressive but by now …

The Lost Cause

Julian the Apostate

by G.W. Bowersock
Like other heroes of lost causes, the emperor Julian will always have his admirers. General Lee surrendering the Army of Virginia to Grant’s forces at the Appomattox Courthouse, Julian killed in battle against the Persians—both symbolized irrevocable defeat of the cause they had nobly championed. In Julian’s case, the cause …

The Gnostic Secrets

The Laughing Savior: The Discovery and Significance of the Nag Hammadi Gnostic Library

by John Dart

The Nag Hammadi Library in English

edited by James M. Robinson
The story of the study of early Christianity since the 1930s is the story of great archaeological discoveries. The Gnostic texts from Nag Hammadi, not far from Luxor in the Nile valley, take their place alongside the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Manichaean texts found by Karl Schmidt in a …

Christians vs. Christians

A History of Christianity

by Paul Johnson

Paul the Traveller

by Ernle Bradford
Will Christianity survive the year 2000 as a major religion of mankind? Two generations ago such a question would have been outrageous. On the one hand, Fortress Vatican presided over by the saintly Pius X, on the other, the great missionary conference held in Edinburgh in 1910 each in its …

Frustrated Father

Jerome: His Life, Writings and Controversies

by J.N.D. Kelly
In the final decades of the fourth century, Latin Christianity produced three great leaders, whose actions and ideas have influenced Western Christendom to this day. Ambrose of Milan’s excommunication of the emperor Theodosius I in 391 for allowing 7,000 innocent citizens of Thessalonica to be massacred by his troops asserted …

A New Jesus?

The Secret Gospel

by Morton Smith

Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark

by Morton Smith
Chance finds have played a significant part in revolutionizing the study of New Testament origins and the early Church. It was the German scholar Karl Holl, for instance, who in 1933 discovered the first manuscript texts within the Roman Empire of the sayings of the Persian heresiarch Manichaeus among the …

Success Story

Augustus to Constantine: The Thrust of Christianity into the Roman World

by Robert M. Grant

Religion and Society in the Age of Saint Augustine

by Peter Brown
When in AD 229 the historian Dio Cassius died, the Greco-Roman world was still materially and spiritually secure. “We live round a sea like frogs round a pond,” Socrates had told his Athenian friends, and seven centuries later this was still true. The outlying provinces of the Roman empire, Dacia …