God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism

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Viking Compass, 2004 - Religion - 336 pages
Perfectly suited to readers of Bernard Lewis and Karen Armstrong, God Against the Godsis a dramatic and eye-opening epic of the final struggle between monotheism and polytheism in the ancient world. It was a war fought by an Egyptian pharaoh, a Jewish king, and a Roman emperor—charismatic, visionary, and violent men battling in the name of the Only True God. Jonathan Kirsch demonstrates how the world of classical paganism was in fact based on religious liberty and diversity and how the advent of monotheism brought—in the name of true belief—holy war, crusades, martyrdom, and inquisitions.The last stand of paganism in the tumultuous fourth century is a rare example of a moment when two men—the Roman emperors Constantine, who initiated the Christian revolution that formed the future, and Julian, who later tried but failed to restore paganism—literally changed the history of the world. God Against the Gods, breaking a long-lived taboo, reveals monotheism’s dark side and polytheism’s bright one, illuminating the ancient roots of today’s most bloody conflicts as well as the cherished idea of religious liberty.

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User Review  - MarkBeronte - LibraryThing

The story of the suppression of polytheistic religions in the ancient world by the ever more powerful monotheistic religions is well known. Kirsch (The Harlot by the Side of the Road) offers his own ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

A superficial and boring account of monotheism and polytheism in antiquity. It doesn't even come close to living up to its fancy title. The book contains miscellaneous historical anecdotes but not any ... Read full review


What Did Pagans Do?
Terror and True Belief

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About the author (2004)

Jonathan Kirsch is a book columnist for the Los Angeles Times and author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed King David, Moses, The Harlot by the Side of the Road, and The Woman Who Laughed at God. He lectures and consults widely on biblical, literary, and legal topics and is a past president of PEN Center USA West.

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