CANCELLED Books and Bridges: Jason Combs, The Rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire

Our Books and Bridges for the month of April will be held on April 9 at 6:30 PM.

In April, Jason Combs, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Brigham Young University, will share his insights into the rise of Christianity from Jesus of Nazareth to the Roman Emperor Constantine. Scholars have long theorized which religious, political, or societal factors contributed to the rapid growth of Christianity. How might we account for the rise of a small Jewish sect and its transformation into the dominant religion of the Roman Empire? Many early Christians were themselves aware of their rapid growth and developed their own social, political, and religious explanations. Dr. Combs will discuss three of these explanations: (1) the role of public proclamations of faith and martyrdom in earning the empathy and respect of non-Christians; (2) access to healings, visions, prophecy, and the miraculous; and (3) a trust in the triumphant destiny of Christianity through God’s work in the world. Such explanations can be found in the writings of Christians from Paul to Perpetua and from Origen to the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles. Combs will evaluate these explanations within the broader context of Greco-Roman religious history. While no single factor can fully account for the success of Christianity, the study of its early development helps us better understand the religion’s continued impact on the lives of billions worldwide today.

A Q&A and refreshments will follow. The lecture is free, open to the public, and made possible by a grant from Utah Humanities.

This event is organized by Books & Bridges — a community institute of ideas and conversation. Our mission is to facilitate discussion on the best of human thought. We explore the wisdoms of the world and apply them to modern life. We have no political, religious or ideological affiliation. In a society divided by uncivil discourse, the beauty of the humanities—novels, history, philosophy, poetry, ethics and epics—lifts us to our better angels. In our busy world we need space for friends and fellow learners to do a little more heart-to-heart and mind-to-mind.

Event date: 
Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
607 Trolley Square
Salt Lake City, UT 84102