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This is a comprehensive history that traces the development of various ancient religions and how they interlaced with Christianity.
Carpenter delves into the root of the Christian religion, both in terms of its psychological and ritualistic origins. He argues that fear and uncertainty are at the core of the search for religious meaning and that pagans and Christians use similar rituals and devices to overcome it. Though Carpenter was an avowed socialist, he treats religious practice with respect while penetratingly analyzing its origins.