A Concise History of the Catholic Church PDF/EPUB ✓

A Concise History of the Catholic Church Expanded and updated for the new millenniumCovering the life of Christ, the election of Pope Benedict XVI, and everything in between, A Concise History of the Catholic Church has been one of the bestselling religious histories of the past two decades and a mainstay for scholars, students, and others looking for a definitive, accessible history of Catholicism With a clarity that will appeal to any reader, Thomas Bokenkotter divides his study into five parts that correspond to the major historical and epochal developments in Catholicism His authoritative, thorough approach takes readers from the Church s triumph over paganism, through the sound and fury of renewal, to a new section devoted to such topics as dissent and current developments in the ecumenical movement Informative illustrations throughout the book, new to this edition, enrich the reader s experience, and the addition of a wide ranging bibliography increases its value as a sourcebook I read this when I first got my CDL and drove End Dump Truck for the City of Minneapolis to do some bad weather clean up I got paid 18 dollars hour to read this over a week It was worth it It did nothing to convince me that the Catholic Church is anything but a cult based on tradition, guilt and most importantly blind faith. Thoroughly enjoyed this one Great book to read if you re Catholic and if you re not it never hurts to understand what others believe. Well this contained some history of the Church, but I would hardly call it concise It was short , in that the Catholic Church has a history spanning nearly 2,000 years, but that is not the full definition of concise it also needs to be somewhat comprehensive, all encompassing It fails on this count.It gives details about a few people whole chapters on St Jerome and St Augustine while giving the short shrift to others Aquinas and Albert are lumped into The Aristotelian Invasion Well this contained some history of the Church, but I would hardly call it concise It was short , in that the Catholic Church has a history spanning nearly 2,000 years, but that is not the full definition of concise it also needs to be somewhat comprehensive, all encompassing It fails on this count.It gives details about a few people whole chapters on St Jerome and St Augustine while giving the short shrift to others Aquinas and Albert are lumped into The Aristotelian Invasion and no mention of Joan of Arc, Francis of Assisi, or any number of other great Saints and heroes It glosses over huge swaths of time, mostly focusing on the times when certain people in the Church were corrupt or bad evil, while neglecting to note the historical context of those times It also flies right over the many challenges the Church faced e.g., the Moors in Spain and the Muslims in North Africa and how it was victorious against them And, once again, it joins the critics of the Church in painting the Crusades as an offensive to take over land, rather than a defensive counterstrike to retake land stolen in previous centuries.Aside from not seeming to give a fair shake to the Church, there is a definite bias toward liberalism and against traditionalism , including two whole chapters on liberal Catholics i.e., heterodoxes being squelched his word, right in the title of one of the chapters.As with most opinionated history books, the biggest portion of the book is devoted to our own time Because, after all, we are the most important people to have ever lived, and this is the most important time for the Church In a 530 page history book, 150 pages are given to the last 100 years shouldn t it belike 5% or 26 pages , includingthan 100 pages since 1976 well after Vatican II and Humanae Vitae , most of them about the promise of change since Vatican II, disappointment about JP2 and the election of Benedict XVI who, in the author s words, put the lash to heretics like Hans Kung and Charles Curran.An entire chapter about Luther and an entire chapter about Calvin is understandable, but not when there is no such similar chapter devoted to Gregory the Great or Thomas Aquinas Some famous saints like St Patrick and the Venerable Bede and events such as The Crusades are glossed over with a sentence or two, while other events such as the Spanish Inquisition are not even mentioned.All in all, an unsatisfying overview or 10,000 ft view of Church history with a definite bias toward the false presumption that Church teachings are mutable and can change with the times because they always have In fact, one would think that the author was not an authentic Catholic, but was actually a secularist hoping to reform the Church into a club he might want to join, rather than the institution founded by Christ to which we must all decide to be for or against The gate is narrow those who would enter the sheepfold any other way are thieves and murderers Rewriting history is a sad attempt at widening the gate.P.S Any ideas of better books about Church history I m thinking of reading the History of Christendom series by Warren H Carroll A good overview, particularly of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the conflict over Vatican II Lost the quality of its coherence in the last two chapters, which were both written for two separate revisions to address the last quarter of the twentieth century. a must have for any Roman Catholic that wishes to know how the faith historically came to be. This book provides an accessible and fascinating insight into 2000 years of Church history, a herculean achievement Some might grumble that he spent too little time on the Crusades and the Islamic conquest of North Africa and maybe too much time of the American experience of Catholicism, but I believe in order to write a relatively concise history, there would be inevitably some choices that are disputable I found he was even handed in his treatment of the early Church s blindspots, such as, i This book provides an accessible and fascinating insight into 2000 years of Church history, a herculean achievement Some might grumble that he spent too little time on the Crusades and the Islamic conquest of North Africa and maybe too much time of the American experience of Catholicism, but I believe in order to write a relatively concise history, there would be inevitably some choices that are disputable I found he was even handed in his treatment of the early Church s blindspots, such as, its monarchist vision and initial opposition to democratic impulses However, coming into the 19th and 20th century, I found his obvious biase towards liberalism jarring Thomism and Scholasticism, particularly in the 19th century, were depicted in very disparaging terms effectively as outdated, anachronistic and prejudiced, without offering a reasonable explanation for their popularity to this day The Church s cautious approach to the new theological biblical study known as the historico critical method was likewise depicted in villainous terms and its supporters as marytrs I found all of this too simplistic and lacked objectivity By the time he got to the 19th and 20th century American experience, it was clear where he stood in the highly polarised culture wars between liberals and conservatives Basically, in a nutshell, liberals are the good guys and their ideas are always right, whereas conservatives are the bad guys and their ideas always wrong The lack of grey areas between these two positions I found disagreeable and short sighted His obvious dislike for Pope John Paul II was evident in his every depiction, and who was obviously painted as the arch conservative Fr Curran was one of several liberals he speaks rosily of, without ever critically assessing the reasons why these were censored The only exception to this good cop bad cop oversimplification was in the re telling of the case of liberation theologian Buff, where for once the Church authorities come across as honest brokers I didn t find it convincing his moral or historical equivalence between supporters of the historico critical method and supporters of abortion rights However, I do find that in the overall arc of this history, you find a Church that is progressing and learning from its past errors, that may be slow to accept certain changes, but that catches up and embraces them It was a good and fruitful read, despite its flaws The Catholic church has influenced so much of our world s history that I thought I would learnabout it I carefully searched to try and get a history that wasn t written by someone who was against the catholic church This book was apparently written as a textbook to be used in college classes teaching Catholics about the history of their own church Because the book was written for Catholics, and I am not a Catholic, I had to decipher a lot of terminology and learn about a lot of Catholic The Catholic church has influenced so much of our world s history that I thought I would learnabout it I carefully searched to try and get a history that wasn t written by someone who was against the catholic church This book was apparently written as a textbook to be used in college classes teaching Catholics about the history of their own church Because the book was written for Catholics, and I am not a Catholic, I had to decipher a lot of terminology and learn about a lot of Catholic beliefs and practices This is okay, it was part of the purpose of reading, but this book didn t really explain these things because it was written for an audience that already knew them and so I had to search for help understanding elsewhere and most often I just figured it out from context after reading about something over and over again.It was a very thorough history, even though it was concise While it was concise in reference to two thousand years of history, it was perhaps not quite as concise as I had hoped.That said, I did learn a lot about the Catholic church and how it has influenced society I finally understood where the science vs religion debate originates from I ve never seen why there has to be a debate for me the two canor less complement each other Most interesting to me was the way that Catholic policy and doctrine was continually being changed by movements that came from the bottom up in the hierarchy, instead of as a decree from the pope I also learned about the struggle over whether the Pope or the Council should be in power.I was surprised by how little or no claim was made to revelation as an important part of the leadership of the church I m not sure if that was just this author s view or if it reflects the general view.The most interesting part for me was when the Catholic church was reaching for, attained, and fell from being the most powerful European influence during the medieval times.While there are many areas where I do not agree with the Catholic church, I do see that there are many good people within it trying to figure out what God wants and follow it It is pretty amazing that the Catholic church has survived all it has gone through, especially the simple passage of so much time This book is an interesting although deeply flawed look at Church history over the past 2,000 years It is less a history than a collection of moments in time without a true feel for the flow of events In addition, many prominent events are simply ignored or passed over with barely a mention Let me give a few brief examples Little is said of the collapse of the Church in North Africa where it was thriving Saint Augustine was a bishop in Hippo until it was replaced by Islam The Crusades are This book is an interesting although deeply flawed look at Church history over the past 2,000 years It is less a history than a collection of moments in time without a true feel for the flow of events In addition, many prominent events are simply ignored or passed over with barely a mention Let me give a few brief examples Little is said of the collapse of the Church in North Africa where it was thriving Saint Augustine was a bishop in Hippo until it was replaced by Islam The Crusades are barely discussed and their effects on relations with the peoples of the Middle East aren t discussed at all The Thirty Years War is given a single paragraph This is surprising because this war turned Europe from a continent of nations based on religion into a continent of nations where national loyalties wereimportant than religious loyalties The loss of power of the religious leaders in Europe can be traced to that war.This is fairly typical of the book It discusses many prominent people such as Saint Augustine and Saint Jerome in some detail but fails to put their lives into a perspective of overall Church history The flow of the book is often interrupted by jumps ahead and then back again so sometimes it is confusing because it isn t clear as to what events have occurred and which are still to come There is also a tendency in the book to move too fast at times and introduce characters with a sentence and then never mention them again.All that being said, the book is not a complete failure Taken from a Catholic viewpoint, the book is an acceptable, although incomplete, introduction to Church history The author does not try to hide the bad acts of the Church that led to the Reformation, for example, and instead points out the critical failures of the Church His discussion of some key Protestant leaders such as Luther and Calvin will enlighten those who knew little of their lives In fact, the book is at its best when the author ignores trying to write a history and instead gives us short biographies of key figures in Church history.The last part of the book covering the period since Vatican II was the most disappointing to me The author abandons any attempt to write a history and instead turns the book into an editorial about the Church s failure to become modern in the last 40 years Strangely, this is the longest part of the book I m not sure how a book claiming to be a history can discuss 1,960 years of Church history in 400 pages and then the remaining 40 years are giventhan 100 pages Overall, the book is fair as an introduction to Church history until about 1900 but a failure as an editorial on the current Church This book covers a huge amount of history in a concise yet detailed manner It was rather thorough and often shared differing points of view I was bothered by the fact that Protestants Martin Luther and John Calvin had longer sections each an entire chapter devoted to them then anyone else in the book It also bothered me that it never really acknowledged the spiritual component of the church The author would describe politics involved in situations but would never acknowledge that Catholics This book covers a huge amount of history in a concise yet detailed manner It was rather thorough and often shared differing points of view I was bothered by the fact that Protestants Martin Luther and John Calvin had longer sections each an entire chapter devoted to them then anyone else in the book It also bothered me that it never really acknowledged the spiritual component of the church The author would describe politics involved in situations but would never acknowledge that Catholics believe the Holy Spirit is at work in the church It might be what others believe, it might not be what the author believes, but the Catholic church believes it For example, when the cardinals vote for the next pope, Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding the vote that is why unexpected or compromise candidates suddenly get elected While I do not expect the author to explain this as fact, I do expect him to at least acknowledge the belief system of the church Especially when he does acknowledge the spiritual beliefs of people like Martin Luther and John Calvin


About the Author: Thomas Bokenkotter

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