Doing History a Second Time Around: Co-Director of Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion Will Present Lecture

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Nov. 28, 2011

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Dr. Rodney Stark, Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and co-director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion, will present a lecture, "Doing History A Second Time Around," at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, in Kayser Auditorium of the Hankamer School of Business on the Baylor University campus.

The lecture, presented by the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR), will be introduced by Baylor President Ken Starr. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Stark will discuss his book, "The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion," which was released in October. He will explain why another book was needed on a topic that already has generated thousands of volumes.

The book is a follow-up to Stark's 1996 release "The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries," which sold thousands of copies and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Over the years, as he continued to write historical studies, Stark became dissatisfied with the book. He believed it started too late, not until around the year 40, and ended too soon, with the reign of Constantine. Thus, Stark decided to try again with "The Triumph of Christianity."

After receiving his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Denver in 1959, Stark began his career as a newspaper reporter. Following a tour of duty in the Army, he received his doctoral degree in sociology from the University of California-Berkeley in 1971, where he held appointments as a research sociologist at the Survey Research Center and at the Center for the Study of Law and Society.

Stark joined the Baylor faculty in 2004. He has published 30 books and more than 140 journal articles on subjects such as prejudice, crime, suicide and life in ancient Rome, but his main focus has been religion. He is a former president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and of the Association for the Sociology of Religion.

Hankamer School of Business is at 1428 S. Fifth St.

Register online or call (254) 710-7555. For more information, contact the ISR at (254) 710-7555 or email

About the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

Launched in August 2004, Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. ISR's mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history. It also embraces the study of religious effects on such things as prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. While always striving for appropriate scientific objectivity, ISR scholars treat religion with the respect that sacred matters require and deserve.

by Katy McDowall, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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