This book belongs to a seven-volume series, the first of which, Life of Jesus, is the most
famous (or infamous). The Reigns of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, the sixth volume,
tells the story of Christianity during reigns of two of the 2nd century’s Roman emperors.
The book details the development and expansion of Christianity after the more intense
persecution of the previous century had ended. No longer facing open persecution,
Christians grew in number faster than before along with their various heresies, as Renan
explains. The historian’s account reflects his background in 19th century German higher
criticism of the Bible.