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Cities of God:
Cities of God goes beyond an ordinary revision of history by an in-depth analysis of quantitative data. Since early Christianity was primarily an urban movement, the thirty-one cities of the empire having populations of at least 30,000 as of the year 100 serve as the basis for testing hypotheses about the early church. Cities of God demonstrates how quantitative methods resolve many debates about early church history and can lead to the discovery of unanticipated relationships. Where we have traditionally thought Christianity was spread by mass conversions due to St. Paul-s sermons and force of personality, we learn that it-s spread was, in fact, gradual and logical. Whereas many recent scholars want to argue for Gnosticism as a suppressed competing form of Christianity, Stark argues that it was, in fact, a form of paganism and died a natural death from lack of converts. For the first time, a scholar has collected the hard data that challenges the common beliefs about the earliest days of how Christianity spread to become the largest religion in the world. [via]