Edward Gibbon (1737–1794) personifies the calm and dignified rationalism of the 18th century. He became world famous as the author of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a multi-volume work describing almost 1300 years of history in some of the finest English prose ever written. The present volume is taken from volume one and focuses entirely on the early Christian Church.
Gibbon does not mince words. He likes the religious toleration that prevailed in the Roman Empire prior to Christianity and describes it in his characteristically witty way: “The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful.” He further outraged orthodox believers of his time by saying that his entire work described “the triumph of barbarism and religion.”
Axios Press’s Essence of . . . series takes the greatest works ever written in the field of practical philosophy and pares them down to their essence. We select the best passagesthe ones that are immediately relevant to us today, full of timeless wisdom and advice about the world and how best to live our livesand leave behind the more obscure or less important bits. Our selections are not isolated: they flow together to create a seamless work that will capture your interest and attention from page one. And we provide useful notes and a solid introduction to the work.
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About the Author
Hunter Lewis is co-founder and former CEO of global investment firm Cambridge Associates, LLC and author of 11 books on economics and moral philosophy. He has contributed to the New York Times, the Times of London, the Washington Post, and the Atlantic Monthly, as well as numerous websites such as Forbes.com, RealClearMarkets.com, and many others. He has served on boards and committees of fifteen leading not-for-profit organizations, including environmental, teaching, research, and cultural and global development organizations, as well as the World Bank.
Table of Contents
XV. The Progress of the Christian Religion, and the Sentiments, Manners, Numbers, and Condition of the Primitive Christians
XVI. The Conduct of the Roman Government towards the Christians, from the Reign of Nero to That of Constantine