Christianity is the most enduring and influential legacy of the ancient world, and its emergence the single most transformative development in Western history. Even the increasing number in the West today who have abandoned the faith of their forebears, and dismiss all religion as pointless superstition, remain recognisably its heirs. Seen close-up, the division between a sceptic and a believer may seem unbridgeable. Widen the focus, though, and Christianity's enduring impact upon the West can be seen in the emergence of much that has traditionally been cast as its nemesis: in science, in secularism, and yes, even in atheism.
That is why Dominion will place the story of how we came to be what we are, and how we think the way that we do, in the broadest historical context. Ranging in time from the Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC to the on-going migration crisis in Europe today, and from Nebuchadnezzar to the Beatles, it will explore just what it was that made Christianity so revolutionary and disruptive; how completely it came to saturate the mind-set of Latin Christendom; and why, in a West that has become increasingly doubtful of religion's claims, so many of its instincts remain irredeemably Christian. The aim is twofold: to make the reader appreciate just how novel and uncanny were Christian teachings when they first appeared in the world; and to make ourselves, and all that we take for granted, appear similarly strange in consequence. We stand at the end-point of an extraordinary transformation in the understanding of what it is to be human: one that can only be fully appreciated by tracing the arc of its parabola over millennia.
Terrific: bold, ambitious and passionate (Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads)
Tom Holland is fun to read, monstrously erudite, wickedly joyful, and ahead of the established consensus, on average, by four years, three months, and two days (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the Incerto (The Black Swan, Antifragile...))
This extraordinary book is vintage Tom Holland: history boldly and elegantly retold, with fascinating interconnections traced to create a narrative that cannot fail to stimulate, for it leads to a never-ending question (Diarmaid MacCulloch)
Holland is an illuminating guide on a journey from Ancient Athens to 21st-century gay rights (History Revealed)
Sustained with all the breadth, originality and erudition that we have come to associate with Holland's writing (Spectator)
Fizzing with insights and challenges, this is one history book that is timely and important, as well as a feast of intellectual entertainment (Christopher Hart Sunday Times)
Holland is an exceptionally good storyteller with a marvellous eye for detail (The Economist)
An all-absorbing story (Literary Review)
This book has ruffled feathers . . . lyrical, vivid (Evening Standard)
It's not often that you come across a book that completely transforms your understanding of the world (Spectator)