Pagans and Christians in the City (Hardcover)

Culture Wars from the Tiber to the Potomac (Emory University Studies in Law and Religion)

By Steven D. Smith

William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 9780802876317, 408pp.

Publication Date: November 15, 2018

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Traditionalist Christians who oppose same-sex marriage and other cultural developments in the United States wonder why they are being forced to bracket their beliefs in order to participate in public life. This situation is not new, says Steven D. Smith: Christians two thousand years ago faced very similar challenges.

Picking up poet T. S. Eliot's World War II-era thesis that the future of the West would be determined by a contest between Christianity and "modern paganism," Smith argues in this book that today's culture wars can be seen as a reprise of the basic antagonism that pitted pagans against Christians in the Roman Empire. Smith's Pagans and Christians in the City looks at that historical conflict and explores how the same competing ideas continue to clash today. All of us, Smith shows, have much to learn by observing how patterns from ancient history are reemerging in today's most controversial issues.

About the Author

Steven D. Smith is Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego and serves as codirector of the university's Institute for Law and Religion. His other books include The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom.