History of the Origins of Christianity. Book VII. Marcus-Aurelius.
by Ernest Renan
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This book belongs to a seven-volume series, the first of which, Life of Jesus, is the most
famous (or infamous). Marcus Aurelius, the seventh volume, concerns the development
of the church during the reign of Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius. The historian
argues that Marcus Aurelius, famous for his evenhanded rule and contributions to
Stoic philosophy, influenced early Christianity greatly. During the emperor’s reign,
Christianity adopted Stoic systems and standards of morality that have since survived
into the present. Renan’s account reflects his background in 19th century German higher
criticism of the Bible.