It is a widely accepted notion that Christianity started as a clandestine movement among the poor. Yet this is one of many myths that must be discarded if we are to understand just how a tiny messianic movement on the edge of the Roman Empire became the dominant faith of Western civilization. In this fast-paced, highly readable book, Rodney Stark brings a sociologist's perspective to bear on the puzzle behind the success of early Christianity. Not only does Stark have years of experience with the logic and methods of social science, but he also provides insights into why people convert and how new religious groups recruit members. The Rise of Christianity digs deep into the historical evidence to provide a vivid and unconventional account of early Christianity.