How did the Catholic Church become one of the most influential institutions in the world - a force capable of moving armies, inspiring saints, and shaping the lives of a billion members?
Explore these and other questions as you follow the development of this important institution in 36 informative, fascinating lectures. With Professor Cook by your side, you'll step into the world of the early church, witness the spread of Christendom, and learn about the origins of fundamental church institutions.
Your journey begins in the early years of the church, when Jesus's disciples developed the first communities of faith. You'll get a chance to delve into crucial ancient church documents and gain an intriguing glimpse into the lives of these early believers. From there, you'll trace the development and spread of this nascent religion throughout the world, covering crucial developments including the conversion of the Roman Empire to Catholicism, the schism between the Roman faith and the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Reformation.
As you delve into this fascinating saga, you'll quickly see that the Catholic Church actually takes many forms. You'll trace the many variations of worship and belief that evolved as Christianity spread all over the Mediterranean, and you'll witness how Catholic practice and faith have been transformed by the cultures and peoples it has touched. Professor Cook brings an unparalleled intellectual rigor to his presentation, balanced by a deep appreciation of the church's legacy and impact. Join him on this epic journey through Catholic history, and experience how this small gathering of faithful became one of the most powerful forces on the world stage - the "one holy catholic and apostolic Church."
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses
I really enjoyed this product but professor cook's insistence on saying that Saint John paul ii apologised for the crusades in the last few lectures bugged me a little, he apologised to God on the 2000 year of the church for anything members of the church might have done wrong in her history he didn't specifically mention any event person or crime in particular, at least that was my understanding of it. Having said that I recommend this lecture course it covers everything but I'd read some other stuff on the crusades
Although it says history, it is not presented in the traditional chronological way. Many times the author chose a topic and returned in time to give meaning to the history of that topic.
If I compare this book to the book: Beginnings of Judaism, both take the same way of narrating and analyzing history, but I liked the Catholic Church History book more.
The chapters on the early martyrs and saints, and on the various orders that supported the church in the 16th/17th century were excellent and moving.
This was apologetics as much as than history. The professor's own faith created a bias that was both unwelcome and illuminating. I understand better how the catholic church self edits its own history and identity from the extraordinarily tendentious narrative that I experienced in this course. It was also full of interesting information and has left me wanting to read further.
Yes absolutely. Leaving aside my criticisms of this particular course I have been listening to a number of titles around the themes of church and ancient history and found them to be a superb opportunity to access in depth information about subjects rarely presented to the public
Yes. It prompted me to turn to a lecture series on Socrates Plato and Aristotle whose input into church history and teaching was something Professor Cook explained well.
I listened to these lectures having finished a couple of audible titles concerning early church history, late antiquity and the early middle ages. This was a natural progression. I recommend some prior knowledge of church history before listening to this.
This started off quite fine. In the centuries where the Roman Catholic Church was 'the church' and there are no grounds for bias or inter-denominational dispute Prof Cook presents a perfectly acceptable history. However from the reformation period onwards the wheels start to fall off, and dramtically so. The author's bias becomes more and more obvious. His attitude to the whole of protestant history seems to be 'yes we might have had a few issues but nothing much and we would have sorted it'. As he moves into recent years it really becomes quite absurd. Pope and the Nazi's, no problem, Sexism and homophobia, no comment, sex abuse scandal, move along nothing to see here. His penultimate lecture on John Paul II is the most extra-ordinary thing I have listened to in quite some time, and has absolutely no place whatsoever in a supposedly accademic serties of lectures. He makes the man sound like the fourth person of the trinity.
Prof Cook, you want to spout this sort of thing, get ordained and deliver it from the pulpit. It is not acceptible in a supposedly objective lecture course. I was so fed up that even though I finished that I still almost asked for my money back.
I like the Great Courses. Philip Carey, for example, is a beast, his Luther curse is superb, and UNBIASED. But unless you are two weeks away from entering a seminary I advise you to stay clear of this one.
"Thorough history presented in a compelling manner"
As a college level course, the material presented is both thorough and interesting. I am on my second listening of the course because there is just such a wealth of information provided.
I love Father Robert Barron's Catholicism series and this course was a great addition to the material Father Barron presented. Obviously this course is a history while Barron's is not intended to be. Professor Cook was able to explain a lot of the "why" behind the evolution of the church while Father Barron continually showed its beauty. For those who really want to know about the Catholic church, this is a great asset.
I have watched and listened to Professor Cook's course on The Great Cathedrals. He is a compelling and enthusiastic lecturer who presents material in a straight forward manner. I thought this course was quite good as an audiobook, while the course on cathedrals obviously needed the visual information. I plan on purchasing other courses by Dr. Cook.
One need not be Catholic to enjoy this thorough history. Professor Cook knows his material and presents it in an enthusiastic and compelling manner.
"Wonderful! I learned so much!"
I learned so much about my faith! I want to listen to it again! Wonderful!
"Well researched; Well presented"
The clearly structured presentation of a complex topic kept the listener focused on what happened (past), what happens now or at this stage (present), and what will follow (future). Professor Cook knows how to present a difficult topic. He also has the obvious enthusiasm to share what he enjoys doing.
We live this story, so how can we not love it.
The unquenchable enthusiasm of a researcher/professor/expert-in-his-field.
It made me take deep breaths at numerous intervals, plus countless "AHA! moments."
Every Christian should listen to this Audible Great Books course. Anyone interested in Christianity or even critical of Christianity should hear the unvarnished truth from the mouth of an expert.
As a catholic who knows their history, it was great to see a truthful look at our faith and church. Great job
"Way too much of an apologist to give this course."
I was looking for a history, and I got one...kind of, but also a lot more that I didn't want. Prof Cook did an excellent job of building the course but he spent too little time on the impact of stamping out heresy, global conflict in the name of God and Jesus as well as so little on the impact of paedophilia on the position of the church in today's society. He focused on Mother Teresa and the "pious" people way too much. Unbalanced.
"Educational and interesting without being boring!"
Professor Cook's narration and presentation of the course is the best part of this experience. He takes the dry historical facts that I'd never be able to make it through in textbook or Wikipedia form and constructs a really interesting and compelling series of lectures by adding asides, reflections, and making sure to fully flesh out the context of events.
So. Much. Education. I now know so much more about Church history than I ever thought I would be able to fit in my head.
He's a fantastic lecturer. I've been to university, and I can tell you horror stories about professors who stand at the lectern and deliver aural valium, ensuring you absorb next to nothing of the content. Professor Cook's delivery is upbeat and excited, as though he's eager to share these facts and stories with us, and that really keeps you focused and learning.
Not really, since it's a series of lectures and each has a topic and logical start/stop points. It's much easier to digest this way since listening to 20+ hours straight is... impractical. ;)
Fantastic lecture series for anyone interested in the Catholic Church or even simply the history of the western world in general, since the two were so intertwined.
"Great listen, really loved the professor"
In the lecture category its in the top 5
This is the first theological history I've listened to, but the other great courses options are the most similar
I have not but he was really great
There were many instances that I was just really impressed or inspired.
I'm not Catholic (I'm actually a Mormon) and just wanted to learn more about the Catholic church to help me better understand European history but the lecture was very easy to follow, I don't think I ever felt lost or confused and not only do I have a clearer picture of European history, I also have a greater appreciation of the similarities between our two religions and I feel motivated to listen to lectures on other religions.
"Concise History of the Universal Church"
The Catholic Church A History is by one of the professors of Dante's Comedy, clearly Catholic. He goes through the primitive church up till the Schism with Orthodoxy and the Reform, and all the way up till modern American Catholicism. The professor knows his stuff very well and shares it well. The course shows the validity of the claim that the Catholic Church is the Church that Christ founded, although it's not an apologetics course but rather focuses on what happened, how, and why.
The very first lecture of the course is a MUST for anyone who wishes to know about Christianity and the role that the Catholic Church has had in the world. Though it has been a center for controversy, it's also a strong force of good to the world, so anyone who wishes to be objective when discussing religion, should listen to at least the first lecture.
A very interesting overview of Catholic history. Less chronological than some other lecture series available. Dr. Cook instead follows movements and ideas and groups his lectures by them. So for instance lecture 27 looks at American Catholicism as a whole, but then he jumps back to the Age of Reason in lecture 28, examining overlapping time scales through different lenses. This can make it more difficult to follow for some. Still it's very informative.
"good stuff: too much an apology"
I learned plenty listening to this fine historian. Really, there's a lot to recommend these lectures. Negatively, the lectures come across as too much of an 'insiders' Catholic history. also, seems a little triumphalistic in the Vatican II and John Paul II and modern ecumenism, but maybe (as a contemporary Roman Catholic)that's what he should be.
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