Through the Eye of a Needle
Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350–550 AD
Princeton University Press, $39.95, 759 pp.
A visitor to the city of Rome in the year 300 A.D. could traverse it without encountering one single building identifiable as Christian. It wasn’t that the Christian community wasn’t sizeable—indeed, the bishop of the city was already administering a large staff, distributing food to the poor, and communicating regularly through letters and emissaries with churches in other regions. But in Rome, as throughout the empire, churches were modest buildings, often in the style of domestic...
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