Chapter 3: History of Christianity
Religions of a Single God - A Critical Introduction to Monotheisms from Judaism to Baha'i - Zeba A. Crook
Zeba A. Crook [+]
Zeba A. Crook is Professor of Religious Studies at Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada. He is a specialist in early Christianity and Graeco-Roman culture, but was drawn to the study of religion more broadly, and the study of these three religions in particular by teaching it. That his course on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam at Carleton University has attracted an average of six hundred students per year since he arrived there in 2003 shows the enduring interest in this material among young adults.
Christianity has been the largest religion in the world for over 1500 years, currently accounting for 31.5% of the global population, or 2.2 billion people, compared with 1.6 billion Muslims, and 14 million Jews. This chapter attempts to explain how a movement of fourth century Christ-followers scattered around the Mediterranean went on to become the largest of all religions in the world. First, we must establish how these groups of Christ-followers become Christianity, and from there we can discuss how the twists and turns of history, politics, geography, and piety combined to establish the wealth, power, unprecedented and unpredictable global presence of Christianity.