Dominion Book Summary By Tom Holland

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If you're looking for an in-depth account of how Christianity has shaped the Western mind over the centuries, then you'll want to check out Dominion (2021).

This book is a comprehensive look at how this dominant belief system has grown and adapted to the changing times, from its Aristotelian roots all the way up until its peak in pop single hits in the twentieth century.

The author takes readers on a journey through history as they trace the evolution of Christian thought, giving a fascinating glimpse into one of the most influential movements of modernity.

Through insightful analysis and engaging narrative, you’ll come away with a better understanding of just how powerful Christianity can be for shaping our thoughts and beliefs.

Dominion Book

Book Name: Dominion (How the Christian Revolution Remade the World)

Author(s): Tom Holland

Rating: 4.5/5

Reading Time: 30 Minutes

Categories: History

Author Bio

Tom Holland is an incredibly well-recognized historian and author, boasting several awards to his name.

He has won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History in 2004 with his book 'Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic' and then again won the Anglo-Hellenic League’s Runciman Award in 2006 with the publication of his book 'Persian Fire'.

With a long list of books published, it's no surprise that Tom Holland is one of the most famous authors in history!

Exploring The Impact Of Christianity Through History


The story of Christianity is one of a grand, dramatic sweep of how faith and the world changed together.

Dominion examines this history in detail, taking you through a journey that starts with the primordial soup in antiquity and continues up until the late twentieth century.

You’ll learn about the culture that had invented crucifixion, why Galileo was put under house arrest for his studies of the universe and even why Hitler changed his opinion on Christianity.

All these revelations will give you insight into why Christianity remains relevant to this day after such a long period of time.

Paul’S Transformation Highlights The Power Of Forgiveness And A Personal Connection To God

The foundation for Christianity to emerge rested on the culturally diverse beliefs systems of ancient Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Jews.

In the Persian belief system, the ruler was believed to be divinely sanctioned to dispense justice by punishing those who chose unwisely.

Greeks’ outlook of an order cascading from a universal god established hierarchy of humans over other species, and men over women.

Roman philosophy that heaven’s order was governed by mathematical phenomena created a standard in which everyone could observe right vs wrong.

Finally, through Moses’ Ten Commandments given on Mt.

Sinai established a covenant between Jews and their one god relationship with Him.

In an already meticulously crafted world built entirely on early political structures, Paul dedicated himself to stamping out this cult called Christianity until one day he himself converted and become one of its apostles.

Taking into account such powerful ancient influences makes it clear how Christianity transcended despite fierce opposition that remains relevant even today.

Paul’S Teachings Of Love And Redemption Offer People An Escape From The Pain And Death Of Ancient Rome

Paul had a deep faith in Jesus as the son of God, which he spread around the Mediterranean.

His teachings offered an attractive identity to people living in cities like Corinth – regardless of where they were born or what school they attended.

Paul argued that despite coming from humble beginnings, Jesus showed any person can be redeemed through his death on the cross.

Paul’s Jewish background, Greek philosophy-based education and respect for Stoic conscience served as founding principles of his new religion.

He was also appalled by Nero’s immoral behavior, leading to many Christians being sentenced to death for their beliefs.

This extreme persecution sparked revolts and martyrdom all over the Roman Empire, spreading Christianity even further and causing Paul’s teachings to become doctrine throughout Europe.

People were fascinated by the idea of Jesus willingly sacrificing himself for humanity and this morbidly macabre tale struck a chord with those who had grown disillusioned by Roman culture at the time.

As a result, Paul interpreted Jesus’s story in a way that counteracted Roman society‘s faltering morality and connected with people searching for something more meaningful than just material gain could offer.

The Unity Of God: How Christianity Transformed Ancient Times And Established A New Power Structure Of Wealth And Holiness


When the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 CE, it had a huge influence on the religion.

Rather than being a faith of humble individuals who gathered around Christ’s teachings and morality, Christianity was beginning to take on the trappings of bureaucracy.

Under Constantine’s direction, religious scholars were summoned to Nicaea in 325 CE in an effort to settle heated questions among Christians.

These included theological inquiries such as whether Jesus was mortal and practical matters like deciding which rituals should be followed.

The results of this meeting fused Christian beliefs with Roman administrative techniques and standardized various aspects of the faith.

It also shifted attitudes toward charity from one of neglect to one that championed charitable works as part of the Christian identity.

These developments created a new power structure in Western European societies where money played a pivotal role for both warlords and churchmen alike.

In doing so, wealth became intertwined with faith, especially for wealthy Christians who tended to believe their riches were a gift from God – meant for sharing with the less fortunate through almsgiving and other social welfare programs.

Charlemagne’S Forced Conversion Of Pagans To Christianity Laid The Groundwork For A Christianized Europe

As Christianity began to solidify itself, Christians started to see those who practiced other religions or faiths as inherently evil.

And as this growing fear took hold of Christian leaders and their followers, their response was one of increasing violence.

It was in the remote parts of Europe that people still held to the old pagan faiths, and it sparked the ire of many Christians.

Monasteries and convents were founded in those locations with the mission of stamping out paganism, while gaining new converts in the process.

When Jewish people refused to accept Jesus Christ as their savior, they were also seen by Christians as an existential threat – a viewpoint enhanced further with the emergence of Muslim forces expanding across Europe and Middle East.

This led to forced conversion efforts under Charlemagne, who used military force and death threats against pagans.

At his instruction though, these same people were offered education from priests once baptized into Christianity.

The strategy worked – and within generations those brought up into Christianity such as Otto The Great had saved Europe from numerous invasions by pagan Hungarians – for which he was rewarded with the title of Holy Roman Emperor.

Through such efforts it was clear that Christianity had made a sizable dent in consolidating its power across much of Europe.

Pope Gregory Vii’S Plan Reformed Europe And Dismantled Women’S Rights

Under Pope Gregory VII, the Papacy established itself as the ultimate arbiter of morality.

Gregory had a plan to assert control and advance the power of the Church: he declared that heretics and those suspected of heresy could be burned alive.

Those witnessed such executions had no option but to be obedient to the Church.

Gregory’s rigorous theology encompassed separating faith from politics, requiring priests to stay celibate, and revising traditional family responsibilities.

Through his actions, Gregory shifted power away from families who used marriage alliances to maintain strength, giving it instead directly to the Church in an essentially pan-European superstate.

Gregory also proclaimed sexuality as sinful and regulated it by positioning marriage as a suitable context in which sexual impulses could take place; this law was soon strongly opposed by many Europeans.

With all these extreme measures, through his strategy of asserting the Papacy’s authoritative role in determining morality, Pope Gregory VII successfully recast himself and his office as leaders in faith for Europe’s Christian population.

Revolution In The Christian World: How Martin Luther Sparked A Reformation

Christian World

The fifteenth century brought new challenges to the Papacy, as Europe faced increasing levels of disease, war and external threats from the Ottoman Turks.

To combat these issues, Christopher Columbus proposed a journey to discover a new route to India that would bring money and resources to take back Jerusalem from Arab rule.

However, this provided an opportunity for the Spanish Conquistadors to drive efforts toward Christian conversion within the Americas.

Hernán Cortés even believed that he was providing salvation for “barbarians” by massacring and enslaving their people.

These underhanded and cruel methods of conquest began to spark discontent among Christians across the world who became aware of what was really driving it: greed and not Christian goals of love and mercy.

This uproar manifested itself in Europe with rising financial demands placed on the Papacy by its own people which led to reformations spearheaded by Martin Luther in 1517.

Unfortunately, any attempts at revolution were quickly crushed by violent responses from Church-loyal armies resulting in over 100,000 Protestants killed within a year’s time.

The Age Of Enlightenment: Dispelling The Mystique Surrounding Christianity And Promoting Inquiry And Reason

The late 16th century saw an enormous rise in the Protestant movement, which sparked violence all over the world.

But at the same time, it was also responsible for sparking a whole new wave of intellectualism in Europe.

With people looking to escape bloodshed and war, many turned to America for hope.

The passengers of the Mayflower not only sought a refuge from religious persecution but also wanted to live a pure life and called themselves Puritans.

To establish their settlement, the Puritans felt it was their “sacred duty” to convert anyone living on their ancestral land who did not share the same faith as them, often resorting to violence if those people “threatened” their settleme

The French Revolution Showed That Violent Change Is Needed For Progress, But Also Led To A Scramble For Souls And Resources Across The Globe

In the 18th century, Europeans began using Christianity as a source for defining their values.

This was inspired by the Protestant Revolution, which encouraged concepts such as human rights and equality for all people irrespective of religion or background.

The French Revolution was a major example of this in action: it declared that human rights were no longer connected to Christianity and would be upheld by the revolution itself.

The spread of progressive ideas continued after the French Revolution, culminating in a pact between France and Britain to abolish the slave trade in 1814.

It’s an impressive example of how Europe embraced Christian philosophy to create universal morality and values, even if they had not necessarily been enforced until then.

The same could be said of America’s new republic: based on Protestant beliefs and Enlightenment values, it championed life, liberty, and happiness as God-given rights.

And this movement soon impacted other countries; Britain saw it fit to challenge slavery outside its own borders by sending missionaries abroad in a bid to “win souls” – but also gain wealth – through their colonial expansion efforts.

Clearly, in the 18th century Christians had begun taking ownership of their legacy and looking to its teachings to define what European values should look like moving forward.

In The Face Of War And Tragedy, Religion Becomes Relevant Again


At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Christian faith was on increasingly shaky ground.

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was seriously questioning Christian dogma, as it seemed to contradict core Christian beliefs such as strength in weakness and victory in defeat.

The rise of industry giants who believed that charity was misplaced only furthered this belief.

In 1914, World War I began and the horrors of war caused many veterans to turn away from religion and towards Friedrich Nietzsche’s declaration that “God is dead…and we have killed him”.

But, at the same time, for some people faith became more important than ever.

The image of Christ suffering on the cross became a powerful symbol for them as they could relate to it due to their own traumatic experiences during the war.

Religion also helped families cope with news about their lost loved ones during WWI.

By the start of 1900s, Christianity had started to falter and its future looked uncertain.

Christianity Re-Emerges As A Powerful Force Of Light And Love After The Dark Days Of World War I

Christian ideas remain relevant to this day, no matter the choices that some have made along the way.

Though Adolf Hitler initially said he supported Christian ideas, by 1933, his mission went in a different direction.

He thought Germans would never fulfill their racial destiny if they remained committed to the compassionate ideals presented by Christianity.

In a world torn apart by violence and hate, The Beatles brought the message of unconditional love and people responded with optimism and joy.

At its core, Martin Luther King’s nonviolent resistance was a call for love – and his faith heavily focused on this message throughout African American movement across America.

Nelson Mandela inspired decolonization with lessons taken directly from scripture finding strength and guidance through religious beliefs.

Christianity has played an instrumental role in helping shape our world and as we move into modern times, its teachings are still incredibly important today.

We must learn from our past mistakes and work towards creating a safe space for everyone using faith as our guide, embracing forgiveness rather than punishment.

Wrap Up

In the book Dominion, readers are presented with a clear and concise message: Christianity is still one of the most influential forces in history.

Even in our modern world, as people become more secular in their beliefs, Christian ideals and principles remain deeply embedded in societies across the globe.

Religion itself has been a source of inspiration for revolutions in politics, philosophy, and science throughout history.

At its core, Dominion conveys the idea that everyone – regardless of religious belief – can be impacted by Christian values on multiple levels.

From its place at the forefront of global change to its lasting presence in society today, this book offers an insightful look into Christianity’s impact on past and present.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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