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The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (Oxford Paperback Reference) [Paperback]

J.N.D. Kelly , Michael Walsh
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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A Dictionary of Popes (Oxford Paperback Reference) A Dictionary of Popes (Oxford Paperback Reference) 5.0 out of 5 stars (2)
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Book Description

26 Jan 2006 Oxford Paperback Reference
This fascinating dictionary gives concise accounts of every officially recognized pope in history, from St Peter to Pope Benedict XVI, as well as all of their irregularly elected rivals, the so-called antipopes. Each pope and antipope's entry covers his family and social background and pre-papal career as well as his activities in office. An appendix provides a detailed discussion and analysis of the tradition that there has been a female pope. The entries are arranged chronologically making this a continuous history of the papacy over almost 2,000 years. It reveals how, for much of that history, spiritual and temporal power have been inextricably mingled in the person of the pope. A fascinating read for students of theology and history, as well as the general reader with an interest in Christian history.

Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; Updated Edition edition (26 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198614330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198614333
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 12.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,242,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"a fascinating volume ... handy, readable, illuminating ... Each entry is a little masterpiece." -- Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

J.N.D. Kelly is Canon of Chichester Cathedral, a Fellow of the British Academy, and since 1966 a member of the Academic Council of the Ecumenical Theological Institute, Jerusalem. He is the author of Early Christian Creeds, Early Christian Doctrines, The Epistles of Peter and of Jude, and Jerome. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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PETER, ST, APOSTLE (d. c64). Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Female Pope?!? 4 Aug 2001
Any book that deals with the topic of Pope Joan, the only female Pope, and does not do it with guffaws for comic relief, is a keeper in my library. It also includes a Pope whose four day papacy before his death, never gave him the time to be "sworn in"! Now that is a complete study. Feminism and curiosity aside, though, this is a valuable reference that is also enjoyable reading. My favorite attraction is that for each Pope, Kelly directs you to the best sources for more information on everyone of the Popes he has studied. As interesting groups of people go, it just doesn't get any more interesting than these guys!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quick guide to the Popes 8 Sep 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent little reference book on the Popes, benefiting greatly by being updated to include Benedict XVI.

This work presents each pope, and anti-pope, in chronological order, which enables the reader to have a continuous history of the papacy. Each pope or anti-pope is provided with a brief biography including birth and death dates, parentage, relationships to other popes or church luminaries, and their careers before and during (and sometimes after) their papacy. In some cases these biographies are surprisingly in-depth for such a work. At the end of each biography is a list of references which can be used to guide the interested reader to further reading on a particular pope or anti-pope.

The end appendix on the possibility, at least tradition, of a female pope is a good addition as well.

Handy to have on your bookshelf. Recommended
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mirabilis! 19 July 2004
By Eric J. Lyman - Published on Amazon.com
Without a doubt, this is the best available general resource source on papal histories, well referenced and organized with a no-nonsense writing style that makes it both an invaluable source of information for scholars and a fun book to just open to a random page and read.
The collection of papal mini-biographies here is the most complete I know of, including even the various anti-popes and the historically questionable Pope Joan. Where the available information is incomplete or contradictory, author, editor and researcher J.N.D. Kelly usually points that out. Other books give more information about specific aspects of the papacy, but none offers such a wide range of information between two compact covers.
My one complaint is a minor one: Mr. Kelly's judgments about what did and did not happen and who should and should not have been pope (regarding everything from Pope Joan and the anti-popes to conspiracy theories surrounding the unexpected death of Pope John Paul I in 1978) tend toward the official Vatican view more often than I'd like. But a book has to take some point of view, and if Mr. Kelly had done the opposite I'd probably be complaining now that he was a bit too antagonistic for my taste.
All in all, this is an irreplaceable resource for any theologian, religious scholar, or intellectually curious reader.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A needed scholarly overview. 18 July 2000
By David Zampino - Published on Amazon.com
The late Church of England clergyman and Oxford scholar JND Kelly has, in his "The Oxford Dictionary of Popes" provided a needed resource accessible to scholars, clergy, and laity alike, and is valuable for both Protestants and Catholics.
The "Dictionary" summarizes the life, important acts and writings, and controversies surrounding the Successors to St. Peter, and the various pretenders to that throne. He doesn't pull any punches -- several of the medieval and Renassiance era popes get the short shrift that they so desperately deserve! But these brief biographies are written without rancor, without agenda, and with good bibliographic references so the reader can identify the primary source material. Furthermore, Kelly seperates fact from fiction, debunking David Yallop's "In God's Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I" and the various legends surrounding the ficticious "Pope Joan".
All in all, a valuable reference text that belongs on the shelf of every historian, clergyman and theological scholar.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't need to be a Catholic to enjoy this book 4 Oct 2004
By Flemming Orth - Published on Amazon.com
- I'm not, but I did. A compelling collection of hard historical fact, complex theological issues and magnificent trivia, this is not only a great reference book but read cover-to-cover makes a great yet compact history of the Roman Church - and indeed of Rome, Italy, Europe, western civilization etc.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Theological Resource 3 Jan 2002
By rodboomboom - Published on Amazon.com
For the serious theologian, be it of the lay or ordained variety, this is a great resource.
Here, chronologically, the renowned historian Kelly provides insightful, concise historical background into the papacy.
One can be assured that his research is spotless, since his early church knowledge and expertise is renown. This is continued here.
Great to have the bibliographical resources for each entry, knowing that Kelly has sorted the possibilities out and provided valuable service in providing primary assets to investigate.
I'll be referring to mine often in historical research. Anyone who delves into this prominent area will want this valuable, economic resource in their library.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 21 Sep 2002
By Salvadore L. Crano - Published on Amazon.com
This book is excellent. I don't know where to start. Often, we study history with respect to different countries, geographical areas, or religions. This book draws them all together. It provides insight into what these men were thinking, and the personal and political influences they had to deal with. Really interesting.
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