Publisher description for God against the gods : the history of the war between monotheism and polytheism / Jonathan Kirsch.

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Perfectly suited to readers of Bernard Lewis and Karen Armstrong, God Against the Gods is 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.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Monotheism -- History.
Polytheism -- History.