The Ransom of the Soul

Dear Ransom of the Soul,

We met at the wrong time, I don’t feel like I was able to give you the energy you deserved. I enjoyed our time together, but after coming off Iliad and Confessions I was tired of deep intellectual concepts. I’m sorry.

With Love,

P.S. Book Details
Author: Peter Brown
Book Length: 288 pages
Book Genre: History
Publication Date: June 2018
Awards: A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year; A Tablet Book of the Year
Synopsis: Marking a departure in our understanding of Christian views of the afterlife from 250 to 650 CE, The Ransom of the Soul explores a revolutionary shift in thinking about the fate of the soul that occurred around the time of Rome’s fall. Peter Brown describes how this shift transformed the Church’s institutional relationship to money and set the stage for its domination of medieval society in the West.


As I look at my reviews recently, I went into an intellectual hole for a couple books. Note to future self, no matter how interesting books are, do not start three time consuming books at one time. I began the Iliad, Confessions, and The Ransom of the Soul at one time… mistake, mistake, mistake…

However, this was an interesting book. I enjoy early church history, so I felt like I had some foundational information coming into the book. Ransom for the Soul begins with a comparison from where Brown was starting the book to where he wanted to end this book. I enjoyed this format, because it kept me engaged to see where he was going and I was able to track better with what he was saying. It was sort of like having a road map for where I was going in the book.

Brown had a couple main points and historical figures to follow (such as Pelagius, Augustine, and Gregory of Tours), he stayed on point and did little to no rabbit trails. As a reader, I appreciated his clarity and specification. I had one main takeaway, but most of the book was review. However, what I signed up to read was indeed the book’s content. Some history books, I have noticed, begin with a topic and then branch off into another area completely and I feel disillusioned as a reader. This was not the case with Ransom of the Soul.

If you enjoy medieval, early church, or Roman culture history, this may be an interesting book to pick up. Having been educated in this subject before, I didn’t feel the information was new and notable, but it was presented in a well-articulated fashion. It would be good for people entering into this topic, or for someone who likes a good refresh.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: