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History of the Catholic Church: From the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium Hardcover – 4 Feb 2013

4 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 580 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (4 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586176641
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586176648
  • Product Dimensions: 3.9 x 18.4 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 469,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This book, by one of the premier American Catholic historians, is clearly addressed to a broad audience. It is apologetic in the best sense, written from the point of view of a practicing Catholic, and addresses the various questions that would occur to a lay reader inevitably influenced by views found in the larger culture. The book is well written. It is not burdened down with details or many footnotes, but is attached to a strong narrative line centering on meaning. It would therefore be appropriate to study groups. --- Glenn W. Olsen, emeritus Professor of History, University of Utah

James Hitchcock is one of the few historians alive today with the background and ability to present the two-millenium history of the Catholic Church. In this remarkable volume Hitchcock brings a lifetime of insights and research to this important subject. It is a work of erudition in which the reader will discover not only the importance of the Catholic Church in past centuries, but in our own time. --- Thomas F. Madden, Ph.D. Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Saint Louis University

The gap in knowledge of history and current events sadly extends to us Catholics in our grasp of the Faith and the rich history of the Church. In his ambitious new work, History of the Catholic Church from the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium, James Hitchcock has given us an accessible tool to better our understanding...and love for the history of the Church. To love the Church, we must understand her history. As Blessed Pope John XXIII remarked, History is our best teacher.' Thank you, Dr. Hitchcock, for this timeless gift to the Church for the Year of Faith. --- Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York

About the Author

A remarkable achievement that synthesizes a lifetime of learning, James Hitchcock's History of the Catholic Church is also a signal service to twenty-first century Catholicism, a religious community in which controversy and contention are often the by-products of severe amnesia. The Church of the New Evangelization has to know its own story, and that story is told here in full. - George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C. For years, James Hitchcock has been our premier historian - a dissident from conventional wisdom, well-armed and solid. Here he pioneers a new method for presenting a long sweep of history: an orderly and altogether fascinating series of vignettes - of arguments, movements, distinctive persons, and concrete events. There is just enough narrative in these sequences to carry the reader along, but without involving her in excessive interpretation. This book provides both a great resource for easy reference, and a stimulating definition of a Christian humanism that holds in tension the transcendent and the down to earth, the holy and the sinful. This is a tension which Hitchcock maintains throughout. - Michael Novak James Hitchcock has a well-earned reputation as an outstanding scholar, insightful commentator and lucid, accessible writer. All of these skills come together and shine in hisHistory of the Catholic Church. It's a masterwork: exhilarating in scope and a joy to read. If you want an unforgettable account of the fullness and drama of the Christian story, read this book. +Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia The gap in knowledge of history and current events sadly extends to us Catholics in our grasp of the Faith and the rich history of the Church. In his ambitious new work, History of the Catholic Church from the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium, James Hitchcock has given us an accessible tool to better our understanding...and love for the history of the Church. To love the Church, we must understand her history. As Blessed Pope John XXIII remarked, History is our best teacher.' Thank you, Dr. Hitchcock, for this timeless gift to the Church for the Year of Faith. - Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York James Hitchcock is one of the few historians alive today with the background and ability to present the two-millenium history of the Catholic Church. In this remarkable volume Hitchcock brings a lifetime of insights and research to this important subject. It is a work of erudition in which the reader will discover not only the importance of the Catholic Church in past centuries, but in our own time. - Thomas F. Madden, Ph.D. Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Saint Louis University This book, by one of the premier American Catholic historians, is clearly addressed to a broad audience. It is apologetic in the best sense, written from the point of view of a practicing Catholic, and addresses the various questions that would occur to a lay reader inevitably influenced by views found in the larger culture. The book is well written. It is not burdened down with details or many footnotes, but is attached to a strong narrative line centering on meaning. It would therefore be appropriate to study groups. - Glenn W. Olsen, emeritus Professor of History, University of Utah


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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Prof. Hitchcock presents a modern, comprehensive and very interesting view on Church History, enriched by his clear and solid Catholic faith.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Hitchcock's opinion that Christ discovered Himself to be the Son of God during His baptism by John is wrong.The Epistles and the Gospels reveal that although the apostles and disciples failed to recognise Jesus as the Second Person of the Trinity until after the resurrection, Christ Himself was fully aware throughout the whole of his earthly life that He was both man and God.

The history of the Catholic Church cannot be separated from its Divine origins and spiritual revelation. No historical account of the Church which ignores the conscious Divinity of Christ from the Incarnation is worth reading. Or writing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading about it on the CWR website, I bought a copy of this for my father, who has a nose for inaccuracies and unorthodox writings about the Church and its teachings. He has not stopped singing its praises as a wide-ranging and authoritative work.
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Excellent, accessible history.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa1c88624) out of 5 stars 122 reviews
121 of 124 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1adaf44) out of 5 stars A great one volume history of the Catholic Church. 25 Jan. 2013
By Jeffrey Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A one volume history of the Catholic Church is quite an undertaking and to do it in a bit over 530 pages is not a simple task. Writing only 500 pages on any century of the Church would be a difficult task. Creating a one volume history imposes many expected limitations, but if done well can provide a very valuable service. There are several one volume histories of this type, although I have mainly read either the multi-volume sets such as The History of Christendom by the late Warren H. Carroll or histories covering specific area.

What James Hitchcock has pulled off if quite exceptional. This is a summary history that sweeps through the ages of the Church. While it leaves you wanting to know many more details of the history described, still you are given the best overview possible for this format.

For the most part this is a sequential sweep through the history of the Church from its birth to the present. While mostly the history is sequential some of the chapters are focuses on specific areas and can contain large sweeps of history regarding that topic. I was hooked from the introduction on. The information is presented in topic focused paragraphs with a topic title displayed to the right or left of the text. The topics are usually only a couple paragraphs in length. I really liked the format of the book because I will be using it in the future as a reference. Besides the lengthy index the topic headings next to the text make it very easy to scan and find specific information you might want to go back to.

I have heard complaints about Harry Crocker's one volume history "Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church" for being triumphalistic (doesn't that go with the title). So you might wonder how James Hitchcock presents the history of the Church. Well to sum it up the history of the Church can be described using Charles Dikens' start of "A Tale of Two Cities".

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way.

The Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes starts off "The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age." This history displays that tension and does not whitewash the history of the Church. He does not gloss over serious evils that occurred. This history is nicely balanced as a presentation and this is certainly the way I prefer it. Really the history of the Church is sort of a proof for the Catholic Church. If it was just up to us Catholics the Church would be a historical footnote by now. If she were not a divinely given institution she would have passed like all man-made institutions. It does the Church no good to minimize what has happened and it is always a temptation to do this. For example some apologists will minimize witch-hunting as something that mainly occurred among Protestants. As he states witchcraft persecutions were an "activity carried out by Catholics and Protestants with equal zeal." So while the low points are not left out, neither are the glories of Christendom reduced.

This is simply a great history of the Church that gives a topological summary giving you the birds-eye view. I really like how he crafted the topic summaries to pack in the information. This succinctness I am sure took some serious work to pull of. I also like that there is little editorializing of history while still delivering some fine insights. Plus peppered throughout were little details at times that added to the enjoyment. At times I thought that perhaps he might have left something out only to find it a couple of paragraphs later or separated into one of the more topic focused chapters.

To sum it up I think this is a quite a major work and just a great one volume look at Church history. There was only one time in the whole book where I scratched my head a little where a footnote regarding Joan of Arc read "She was canonized in 1920. Her sanctity is problematical insofar as she acted merely as a French patriot, but her canonization was based on her heroic virtue.". Although if you can go through 500 plus pages of a book of Catholic history and only have one quibble, that is a pretty amazing accomplishment.
71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1ae942c) out of 5 stars Readable compelling history 30 Dec. 2012
By EWebb - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
There is a fine line that an author of any historical work has to use between being too factual and dry and telling a story in an interesting way. Hitchcock knows how to walk that line.

After receiving as a Christmas gift I didn't know before I glanced through it whether it was for me but when I picked it up I was pleasantly surprised. Hitchcock explains the history of the church and mixes in stories that are turning points in the church's history to make this flow correctly. The flow reminds me a lot of one of the David McCullough books.

Hitchcock gives an excellent summary of the early church and lets the next 20 centuries flow from there

He also doesn't fall into the trap that many historians fall into of being a cheerleader for the subject or person they're writing about. He is balanced throughout and lets the reader decide his feelings on the matters at hand.

I would have liked to see a summarical timeline at the end of the book but otherwise excellent.

I'm sure there are scores of more detailed histories of the history of the church and many eras during that time but for someone wishing to read an well written and factual summary this is a good choice.
54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4f59ec4) out of 5 stars Excellent Overview of History of the Catholic Church's 6 Jan. 2013
By LexOrandi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book for everyone to read about the history of the Catholic Church. The book is very informative and interesting to read. There is always a balance between being scholarly and yet maintain the ordinary persons interest. This author hits the right balance. So much has occurred since the time of Christ is it very difficult to write a book that tells the whole story. To fully appreciate Church history you need to be able to understand the world the Church was existing in. The author does an excellent job of bringing this additional information to the readers attention. I found that by reading this book it opened up new areas that I would like to explore. This book is excellent in allowing the reader to see where he or she would like to do further research. I have two graduate degrees in theology and I have studied Church History on the graduate level but I found the book still very interesting. Again the author does a great job of giving information but also being very readable and understandable.
I highly recommend this book.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1af5840) out of 5 stars One of the best. 17 Jan. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is, by far, one of the best works on the history of the Catholic Church. As a fairly new Catholic, I find it important to understand the intricate history of not just Christianity as a whole, but by Her Church, the Catholic Church. James Hitchcock has written a wonderful, thick, exploration of the Church that is accessable by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. For the Catholics, it is always important to understand the history of one's own Church, how the Church came into divine being (from Christ to the Apostles to the Father of the Church all the way down through the ages, through the good and bad times, to today). For the non-Catholics, it helps to put into perspective the sometimes complicated reasons why we are Catholic (after all, as a Southerner, I've heard many a times people speaking against the Church when they themselves do not understand the Church first and foremost). I love this book and I suggest everyone should read it...even if you in the end still disagree with the Church herself, at least I hope that the book will create in you an open-mind toward why the Church is as she is.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1af59d8) out of 5 stars A bit of a disappointment 12 Jun. 2013
By Johnny Curedents - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read Dr Hitchcock's articles over the years with great enjoyment and profit; I expected to like this book as much. But it wasn't to be. The problem with this book is the style, what I call the "US History high school junior year" approach to writing history: fact after fact arranged in chronological order. I applaud Hitchcock's willingness to display everything about the Church's history including the warts (of which there are many -- I found myself saying repeatedly, "Things aren't so bad today after all !"), but there was far less analysis than I had hoped for. This book would be a valuable addition to the library of anyone who knew little about Church history and wanted a handy encyclopedic reference on his shelf. As an enjoyable read, well....
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