The Faith and the Power: The Inspiring Story of the First Christians and How They Survived the Madness of Rome

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When Jesus left this world he left behind a faith and power that sustained his followers in a treacherous, turbulent world. This stirring account of the first forty years after the crucifixion digs into the bedrock of early Christianity, rediscovering the strengths that empowered the apostles in the darkness of a debauched Roman Empire.The Faith and the Power brings readers face to face with the period's most powerful personalities - Peter, Paul, Caligula, Nero, Herod Agrippa, Josephus - and how they influenced each other's destinies. It illuminates Acts of the New Testament by unearthing such important new insights as why emperors purged the early Christians and why Nero's insatiable greed forced the Judaism into a suicidal rebellion. And it shows why Rome itself nearly self-destructed and in that process gave rise to a more powerful message of a loving, gracious God.
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Editorial Reviews

Snyder's imaginative account is...neither history nor fiction, but an entree into the mood and ethos of the early Christian and Roman worlds that testifies to his conviction of Christianity's truth.
Church Libraries Magazine
A gifted journalist without theological training has written a gripping account of the years between Jesus' crucifixion and the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. His structure is most interesting. Each of the 16 chapters reflects the events of two to four years. Most of the chapters begin with an account of Roman history during the years covered and end with what the Christians were doing.

Snyder tends to rely on questionable traditions for his account of the deaths of Peter and Paul and the later years of the other apostles...but anyone who thinks church history is boring needs to read this book

Snyder examines the first century of Christianity: the period directly following the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and preceding the fall of Rome. Posing the question of how Christianity survived in the predominately pagan Roman Empire, he interweaves Biblical, Jewish and Roman sources, chronicling the turbulent, often violent, era subsequent to the death of Octavian Caesar Augustus. From A.D. 30 to A.D. 71, Christians lived in flux and peril, yet they managed to persevere and even to thrive in an extremely hostile environment. Paradoxically, the very chaos that threatened Christianity also provided members of this new faith with both a focal point and the opportunity to band together in opposition to a common enemy. Arranged chronologically, this digestible account provides a comprehensive overview of a transitional juncture in church history.
Midwest Book Review
The Faith and the Power is an informed and informative history of the early Christians who struggled to survive a series of bitter and lethal persecutions in Rome during the first century A.D. Highly recommended reading for both scholars and non-specialist general readers, The Faith and the Power integrates Biblical text with historical accounts by early Jewish, Roman and Christian writers, forming the basis of a scholarly, chronological documentary that accessibly explores the fascinating era of nascent Christianity.
Library Journal
Eschewing the "wide brush" approach to history, Snyder (a journalist and amateur historian) offers 40 years of ancient Roman and Christian history in 363 pages more than nine pages of historical scrutiny per year. Snyder also shuns the conventional academic apparatus of copious footnotes (only 113) and, in his words, "lengthy scholarly asides that so often detract from the main story." What remains is an intensive yet breezy consideration of first-century Apostolic history with a decidedly Roman flavor, colored by the interpretations of the author. Despite the scholarly nature of this subject (Ancient Roman and Near Eastern history, c.30-71 C.E.), its intended audience seems to be the biblical reader seeking a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the politics and culture into which Christ came and the developments immediately following his death. In this, Snyder succeeds, offering a readable account, aided by pages of maps, readings, and people identifiers. Scholarly readers will not find much new here, but for the more serious student of biblical history, this work provides a good entry point into a turbulent period of history. Sandra Collins, Duquesne Univ. Lib., Pittsburgh Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780967520025
  • Publisher: Pharos Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 415
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Writing and reporting have been at the heart of Jim Snyder's life since he graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 1958. After receiving a master's in political science from The George Washington University he would serve as Washington correspondent or feature contributor to more than 100 magazines ranging from business periodicals to names such as Parade and The Harvard Business Review. More recently he served as chairman/CEO of a company that founded several business periodicals and related conferences.

Having also served as a Presbyterian elder and church officer for many years, Snyder has had a deepening interest in early Christian history that led him to visit and study nearly all the first century places mentioned in this book.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
A.D. 30-32 1
A.D. 33-36 25
A.D. 37-40 41
A.D. 41-July 44 72
A.D. July 44-46 96
A.D. 47-48 109
A.D. 49-50 123
A.D. 51-53 141
A.D. 54-55 152
A.D. 56-59 180
A.D. 60-61 209
A.D. 62-63 224
A.D. 64-65 244
A.D. 66-67 259
A.D. 68-69 292
A.D. 70-71 336
Epilogue 364
I Endnotes 371
II Suggested Reading 375
III Modern Names & Locations of Ancient Places 380
IV Who's Who List of Historical Figures 387
V Maps 408
About the Author 416
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2002

    A Penetrating Look at the Birth of Christianity After Jesus

    At Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA I vididly recall being taught that to more fully understand the meaning of Scripture, one would also need to investigate the 'sitz-en-laben' - the German phrase for 'the setting or situation in life.' Fort example, to fully understand the words of Jesus on paying taxes to the existing authorities, it was essential that one understand the background which brought about both the Jewish and Roman - often inflexible - positions on the matter. The Faith and the Power, as it chronologically traces the three fold persceptive of Christian, Jewish and Roman histories, enables the reader to have a far clearer understanding of the intertwining of the who, what, when, where and how of those turbulent forty years of history, than any other source known to me. However, I also found the book easy to read. Its use of taking all events in a chronological style of reporting assists the reader in maintaining a mental awareness of the sequence of events. By combining the three histories, the book offers new and enlightening information to anyone except, perhaps, scholars whose studies have immersed them in this critical period of history.

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