on 20 April 2016
I could not put this book down. It was phenomenal! Not only immensely readable, but mind-blowing in its depth and scope. After reading some chapters, I was so amazed that I doubted what I had read, and so went to see just how biased it was. It turned out that Professor Stark was in fact simply stating the truth, and I was behind the times! Whether you are studying history, theology, sociology or even science, this is a must-read.
on 3 December 2011
Stark has a natural flow to his writing that makes his work a pleasure to read. Initially I really enjoyed this book with a different although modern approach to early Christianity. Stark argues sucessfully that early Christianity and Roman/Graeco paganism co-existed for many centuries with temples even around in the tenth century in Greece. For anyone interested in the rise of Christianity from the birth of Christ should buy this with some understanding in mind. Which is that Stark's perceptions of Islam that it is a faith of intolerance. Although in part one may agree that Islam did spread into Christian territory with violence Stark plays down the co-existence between faiths in Spain for approx 700 years. After a period of time one must agree that Spain was not a Christian country occupied by Muslims, and more as a Muslim country with tolerance toward many faiths.
This book let me down by Stark trying to argue that the crusades in some way were justified, and not really about natural human elements as greed, power etc. Morover, Stark in this work teneded to be a apolegetic for Christianity, and his perception of Islam was very biased. However, saying that if one understands Starks position about Islam then this book is a descent read.