And Man Created God: A History of the World at the Time of Jesus

And Man Created God A History of the World at the Time of Jesus A groundbreaking history of the age when empires used religions to become powerful and religions used empires to spread their message At the end of the first century BC the world was full of gods Tho

  • Title: And Man Created God: A History of the World at the Time of Jesus
  • Author: Selina O'Grady
  • ISBN: 9781250016812
  • Page: 224
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A groundbreaking history of the age when empires used religions to become powerful and religions used empires to spread their message At the end of the first century BC, the world was full of gods Thousands of them jostled, competed and merged with one another In Syria ecstatic devotees castrated themselves in the streets so as to become priests of Atargatis In Galilee,A groundbreaking history of the age when empires used religions to become powerful and religions used empires to spread their message At the end of the first century BC, the world was full of gods Thousands of them jostled, competed and merged with one another In Syria ecstatic devotees castrated themselves in the streets so as to become priests of Atargatis In Galilee, holy men turned oil into wine and claimed to be the Messiah Kings, queens, and emperors were riding on the backs of these religions to increase their power.And Man Created God considers how and why religious belief has had such an immense impact on human history by identifying the roots of belief within societies O Grady looks at the whole world during one short period and asks a specific question Why did Christianity grow so quickly and become the predominant world religion The beliefs held by a tiny Jewish sect in an obscure corner of the then mighty Roman Empire would have seemed doomed to disappear within a few generations Instead, they became the official religion of the Empire What was it about Christian ideas that appealed to people in so many different cultures at that time Beginning in Rome, expanding her review out to Gaul, Germania, North Africa, the Near East, Persia, and beyond to China, the author sifts through the economic, political and sociocultural facts to understand why some ideas die and others thrive in a thrilling new work of history.

    One thought on “And Man Created God: A History of the World at the Time of Jesus”

    1. BIAS ALERT: I am the author's literary agent. I love both the book and the author. That is why I represent them. So please don't annoy me by expecting objectivity.

    2. I thought this book was really well written and engaging, but it was just too much. As a religious studies minor, I would say this book was a semester long class, crammed into one book. She did try to keep the chapters and the different countries/religions linked in a way that made sense to the narrative, but it got choppy at times. She spent a lot of time in China and barely any in India when both should have been fleshed out equally. Also, the subtitle of adding Jesus was a good gimmick, but J [...]

    3. The book gives a nice overview of religions in the world at the time of Jesus. The main idea behind the book is to describe how empires and religions use each other to prosper. I don't really need to be convinced that this is a reasonable idea, but I don't think I would be more convinced because of this book. For that, it is a bit too shallow. There are, however, some ideas that seem self-evident, like how some religions are more compatible with empires than others. For instance, universalist re [...]

    4. My pleasure in this work betrays my attraction for works which in some way help contextualise specific times in history. In this case, the period in question is “the time of Jesus”, an ambiguous phrase — it could refer specifically to the time the so-called historical Jesus is supposed to have lived on earth (i.e. from ca. 4 BCE to ca. 33 CE) while others could argue that it refers to the whole of the Common Era until the present, and continuing into the future. O’Grady uses the traditio [...]

    5. This is more miss than hit, a book with a nice idea, whose development of said idea can't be trusted.The premise is to show the rise of some world religions at the same time that much of the "Old World" outside of sub-saharan Africa was under the dominion of just a few large empires.However, O'Grady has several historical and other mistakes that undercut her claims to pursue this thesis in depth.They include:1. Believing that Zoroaster was a historic person;2. Believing Christian myths about the [...]

    6. This book contains frequently interesting historical facts within a completely incoherent logical framework. It's full of unnecessary repetitions and baffling inconsistencies. Definitions are stipulated then ignored. Claims are asserted without argument, then later contradicted. It reads like the first draft of a dissertation: one its supervisor rejected and sent back for further revision.In general, I very much like the idea of interested amateurs engaging with 'scholarly' subjects. I don't min [...]

    7. Actually i have not finished the book, since i had to return it to the libraryI hope to get it back in a few weeks (playing "place a hold")but I am about 60% through it and I liked it. I am not sure if the author is going to come up with some grand theory or the other at the end, but the narrative till now is really snappy and interesting and well researched. I learned new things about Rome and Parthia and India every few pages and I was not totally ignorant going in. Worth a read

    8. The world has in many ways been so utterly defined by the 'Religions of the Book' - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - particularly in the West, that it's important to remember that it wasn't always so and that such a dominance was never inevitable or indeed, at the time of Jesus' birth, even probable. The story of why people turned away from many gods to the worship of one supreme god is as interesting a tale as how it happened, and that is what Selina O'Grady sets out to explore in this book, a [...]


    10. Selina O'Grady's And Man Created God describes how life in the 1st Century was shaped by religion and the ancient empires' use of various religions to maintain power. Greatly informative regarding the creation of the Roman Cult and it's impact on the Roman Empire and its citizens, O'Grady uses the Roman Cult as the foundation for the understanding of every other religion discussed in the book. The reasoning for why different cultures adopted the religions they did and rejected others was well pr [...]

    11. This is a good Historical and Political examination of five of the six world religions. The period of the study is around the first Century C.E. It does not include the sixth major world Religion Islam because it did not exist yet. The book talks about how religious beliefs and practices of time in the Roman Empire and its surroundings and India and China had political advantages and disadvantages for both believers, for Rulers of those people and in these religions ability to spread to new conv [...]

    12. I have not read many of this type of book, so I'm probably not a good judge. However, I thought the book was fascinating - and I want to learn more about the time period this book focuses on (@50 B.C. to 100 A.D.) During this time period, many religions were vying for existence/dominance, and politicians either used them or attempted to destroy them, depending on whether they helped or hindered the politician's ability to rule.The book is full of fascinating details on how religious figures and [...]

    13. Titles can be so misleading, don't you think? In this case, I feel that it is all too true but, again - in this case, that's a good thing.What I feel this work is really about is, how does a ruling power maintain control of its empire when the wars are over and peace leads to1) the rise of a merchant class,2) rapidly expanding cities due to 3) massive immigration within the empire (and some from without) and 4) the concomitant introduction of many religious beliefs into those cities.O'Grady does [...]

    14. Wonderful information on how religion was created to serve politics. The book is very thorough and spans the whole ancient world for quite a few centuries. The main problem with this book is that it feels that it has never been edited. There are so many repetitions of the same ideas that at one point I had to double check if my e-reader was still working well, as it seemed that I was reading the same pages over and over again. Please somebody edit this book, trim it down to the great research th [...]

    15. Interesting and wide-ranging examination of the various religions, sects, and cults in existence at the time of Christ, focusing on why Christianity succeeded and others did not. Discusses how states and religions used each other, why universalism and inclusivity was necessary for a religion to spread, as well as the need for a personal relationship with the divine being."We need a way of viewing the world in which we recognize and celebrate the value both of the universal and of the particular. [...]

    16. Superbly written and researched. Author Selina O'Grady exposes how the needs of the ruled shape the latter's beliefs; and how those beliefs in turn get co-opted by rulers as means to control the ruled.This book takes no position for, or against, belief, god(s) or religion. It's focus is on the undeniable connection between the style of state and shape of the dominant religion of the governed. The one shapes the other. Truly fascinating and well-argued.

    17. Learned a lot but it was a struggle at first to figure out what the author's overall goal of the book was about. She seemed to get too deep at times while at other spots I couldn't see how what she was discussing related to topic of the book. It was worth reading but had a hard time getting really into the book.

    18. This is a very comprehensive treatment of the religious movements that we contemporary to Jesus ministry in Israel. Little is added to the origins of Christianity, however, the treatment of the deification of Roman Emperors is well covered. Some of the longest sections deal with the palace intrigues China's emperors. It feels as if the author got lost in his material and I did as well.

    19. A great review of how cultures and governments throughout history have used religion to meet their own purposesSome sections are a bit confusing because there are too many details crammed in too few pages, but overall, I think it is a great starting point for determining what you want to study next.

    20. I find useful information in it, but it is journalism and derivative rather than a scholar's work. Some of the sweeping statements are not well supported. She cites so many scholars who certainly do not all agree, yet her book is written with authorial assurance. I wish it were more honestly hedged where knowledge is uncertain and disputed.

    21. It is a good book linking religion with political-economical conditions of the State in question. In particularly, that author created a very convincing narrative for why Pauline Christianity became the victor among various competing religions of Roman Empire in the first few centuries. Will re-read when I am more informed in comparative religion of that era.

    22. The clear strength of this book is the evocative style in which the micro-historical contexts are described. The sociological analyses of why things happened seem a bit shallow in contrast. A fun read, but a far cry from a profound one.

    23. Interessante verhandeling over religieus klimaat ten tijde van Jezus waarin het universele tegenover het particuliere wordt gezet. Interessant hoe de opkomst van het christendom een trendbreuk is geweest. Aanrader.

    24. Very scholarly tome about various gods, messiahs, and prophets around the time of Jesus. The book offers a view of the political, cultural and religious climate.

    25. A 'good read,' a little dry at times. When she pulled all the threads together at the end it was beautiful. : )

    26. Amazing book. I read a lot about that time period and discoverd a lot of new information. Some chapters weren't that well written but at the end: a good book about politics and religions.

    27. Well-written survey of the Eurasian world in the first third of the First Century CE. Interesting insights on the relationships of religion to the state, and the elites and masses.

    28. Interesting look at ancient history from a religious perspective. I read it between several other books- would have been better to read it straight through.

    29. well-written narrative and a fascinating treatment of history and religion worldwide. Definitely enjoyed it!

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