Most historians agree on the basic methods and reasons for the evangelization of the Roman Empire, but each brings a different emphasis. (All the in-print books can be ordered from Books Now at 1-800-962-6651 ext. 1248 or

On the evangelists

Michael Green's Evangelism in the Early Church (Eagle, 1995; distributed in North America by Harold Shaw) dwells on both the New Testament and later periods. As the advisor on evangelism to the archbishop of Canterbury, his zeal for spreading the gospel shines through his well-researched history.

Another fascinating read by a nonhistorian is Rodney Stark's The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History (Princeton, 1996), which applies the discoveries of modern sociology to the study of ancient history. Historians don't agree with all his conclusions, but the work sparkles with insights.

Michael Walsh also highlights the legacy of the first century church in his accessible The Triumph of the Meek: Why Early Christianity Succeeded (1986, out of print), which contains over 100 photos.

The resource we are probably most excited about is the newly revised Encyclopedia of Early Christianity (Garland, 1997), edited by Everett Ferguson. At $187.50 for both volumes, it's pretty expensive for the average reader. But since it is one of the top reference works on the subject, demand that your local library purchase a copy.

On the evangelized

The most comprehensive book on this topic, Pagans and Christians by Robin Lane Fox (Knopf, 1986), is out of print but well worth hunting down. It is a challenging read, and sometimes a tad too reductionistic, but each of its 800 pages is crammed with facts you never knew about early Christianity and Roman paganism. ...

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