Popes and the Papacy: A History : The Great Courses: Christianity

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Thomas F. X. Noble
  • Series: The Great Courses: Christianity
  • 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

More than a billion Roman Catholics throughout the world today look to the pope for guidance and leadership. Despite the papacy's enormous influence, how much do you really know about this ancient and powerful institution?
Catholics and non-Catholics alike will enjoy these 24 illuminating lectures about this remarkable institution. Professor Noble gives you priceless insights into the dramatic history of the papal office and the lives of the men who represented it.
You'll follow four critical strands of papal history over 2,000 years: the history of the "Petrine" idea; the history of an institution; the history of popes and antipopes; the history of Western civilization; and you'll look inside the Vatican's doors and discover fresh views on the institution's people, ideas, traditions, and routines, as well as the important roles played by organizations like the Curia and the Secretariat of State. You'll investigate the mechanisms by which the church not only ministers to its worldwide flock but also deals with the practical realities of its administration.
Filled with interesting stories and remarkable insights, this course promises to educate, enlighten, and entertain you.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Informative, yet apologetic, study of papacy

First, the positive:
Professor Noble is an engaging lecturer and clear cares and knows a lot about his subject. I order this lecture hoping for a more biographical approach to the different popes. However, this series is more about the politics, structure, history and form of the papacy. Even the the subject is more more complicated than I expected, I continued through the series, carried on the professors enthusiasm. I learned quite a bit, and even though I was a novice to the subject, I didn't feel the subject was presented above my head.

For the less negative:
The main problem I had with the lecture was that the professor approaches his subject from a very apologetic point of view. He is sympathetic to the pope's point of view and will relate good intentions to popes throughout history without evidence. He also somewhat glosses over the more corrupt history of certain popes, though to his credit, he does not ignore them entirely.

I find the morally challenging aspects of history to be the most interesting, so in this way, I was disappointed. However, my main goal of listening to this lecture was to learn more about Catholic history, which I can say I did.
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- Christina "Say something about yourself!"

Excellent Series

As always Dr. Noble presents an excellent series of lectures. In this series he covers a large period of history and navigates the interesting and sometimes convoluted world of the Papacy. He does it with his usual skill and humor. He is able to make difficult topics understandable for the average person. This series is highly recommended for anyone interested in one of the most important and interesting subjects in Western History.
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- David I. Williams

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses