Best book on the history of the church

What books do you recommend on the history of the church. I am almost finished with the two I have so I am lining up some more books to read. Thanks!

Hello again NMHS

I had already recommended it to you in another thread but Warren Carroll’s series called the* History of Christendom* is a must buy if you are interesting in Church history. Here is volume 1

Also a great pick up is Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her own Words by Rod Bennett

A very quick and general over view of the Church’s entire history is Triumph: The Power and Glory of the Catholic Church by H. W. Crocker III


Happy reading

God bless

Thanks for the recommedations of all the books. I will look into these.

Have you read “A Concise History of the Catholic Church” by Thomas Bokenkotter

The Story of The Church (Her Her Founding Mission and Progress)
by Rev. Johnson, Ph.D., Rev. Hannan, Ph.D and Sister Dominica Ph.D.-(This one is 519 pages long but pretty easy to ready.)

Check out “Seton Home School” or some of the other home school groups- in their history section for high school age classes.

Call or check on the internet Christendom College, Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio and maybe Ave Maria College to see what they offer for history and bible books.

Good reading.:thumbsup:

I read Triumph by Harry Crocker. It was excellent.

I’m in Church History class right now, and my textbook is fantastic:

Lots of information, and it covers everything.

What about these three books, it appears they all have very good reviews.

The History of the Church: From Christ to Constantine by Eusebius

Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers

The Early Church (v. 1) by Henry Chadwick

Here are my Church History resource recommendations that I posted on another thread:

Online Church History Resources:

Catholic Bridge (
This website addresses many historical questions regarding the Catholic Church from an apologetics standpoint. It is run by a Catholic layman and is directed primarily towards an Evangelical Christian audience. The goal is to help increase understanding of the Catholic Church and encourage unity. Includes a helpful timeline of the first 500 years of Church history.

Catholic Educator’s Resource Center
This is an excellent resource to locate articles on a wide variety of topics relevant to Catholic education, including many great articles related to Church history.

Catholic Encyclopedia
Online intratext version of the 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia. Good source for information on many people, places, and events in Church history up through the beginning of the 20th century.
From their website: “ is a resource for students, teachers, researchers, and anyone interested in the history of Catholicism in the United States. Its purpose is to promote deeper and wider understanding of the place of Catholics and the Catholic Church in the history of the American nation.”
This is a directory of links to good articles on Church History from all over the internet. They have links to articles on many other topics as well as

Diocese of Steubenville Church History Web course
A overview course on the history of the Church.

Eusebius’ Church History
An online version of this classic book. It is a thorough look at the history of the Catholic Church from the beginning up to the time of Constantine (ca. 325 AD).

EWTN Document Library – Church History
Here is a database of over 150 articles related to Church history. EWTN also has a library of articles on a wide variety of additional topics at

Church History Books:

Aquilina, Mike. The Fathers of the Church. Expanded edition. Huntington, Indiana, Our Sunday Visitor, 2006. The first edition was published in 1999. This book is an excellent introduction to the most important writings of the early Church Fathers.

Aquilina, Mike. The Mass of the Early Christians. 2nd edition. Huntington, Indiana, Our Sunday Visitor, 2007. The first edition was published in 2001. This book does a great job of looking at the writings of the early Church Fathers to see what the Mass was like in early Church history.

Crocker, III, H. W. Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church. Roseville, California: Forum/Prima Publishing, 2001. A very readable, and sometimes humorous, overview of Church history.

Didache Textbook Series. The History of the Church. Woodridge, Illinois: Midwest Theological Forum, 2005. Very excellent High School textbook on Church history that is also great for adults.

Eusebius. The History of the Church: From Christ to Constantine. Penguin Classics, 1990. It is a thorough look at the history of the Catholic Church from the beginning up to the time of Constantine (ca. 325 AD). The text of this book is available online as well.

Laux, John. Church History: A History of the Catholic Church to 1940. Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books, 1989. A comprehensive look at Church history for upper high school and college courses and adult reading.

Madrid, Patrick. Pope Fiction: Answers to 30 Myths & Misconceptions about the Papacy. San Diego, California: Basilica Press, 1999. Though not a Church history book per se, this book covers a lot of history in answering many of the common objections to the papacy. It includes chapters on the popes in relation to Galileo, the Crusades, and the Inquisition.

Schreck, Alan. The Compact History of the Catholic Church. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Publications, 1987. A very brief, readable overview of Church history. Excellent for an introduction.

Wilken, Robert Louis. The Spirit of Early Christian Thought. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2003. An excellent look into the cultural climate in which many of the early Church Fathers were writing. More than just looking at what the Fathers said, it leaves the reader with an understanding of why they said it and for what reasons.

Bokenkotter’s book is good for the most part, but there are some questionable elements when he gets to the 20th century and starts talking about women’s ordination, and all the hot-button moral issues (contraceptions, abortion, etc.). He makes it sound like the Church could have gone either way on these issues, but then came down on the “traditional” side.

Not that one shouldn’t read the book for that reason, but it’s something to be aware of while reading it.

Thanks Joe. I have the Schreck book in my Amazon cart. I had just posted a question earlier on the history of the Catholic Church as I couldn’t bring up a thread and then found this thread. The textbook used in the high schools is another one I may eventually pick up but I wanted a quick start kind of book. This should do it! :slight_smile:

You’re welcome. :tiphat: This thread is five years old. You’re lucky I’m still here. :stuck_out_tongue:

Since this thread first started, the Didache textbook series actually expanded so that there is now a Semester edition (which is about half the size of the original – and a bit cheaper) and a parish edition that is due out this Spring (which will likely be even shorter and cheaper still – the parish editions of other subjects are all $14 paperbacks). So you have more options there.

Since you are learning about Orthodoxy, I would suggest THE ORTHODOX CHURCH by Metropolitan Timothy Ware.

Bishop Ware converted from the Church of England and his book is mostly about church history from the Orthodox point of view.

Glad you are still here Joe :slight_smile: I looked into the Didache series and they appear something I would be interested in and very thorough. The book by Schreck will give me a quick start and I’ll f/u from there. It should be arriving soon from Amazon along with 2 other books—Scott Hahn’s study Bible and Luis M. Martinez’s DEVOTION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT.

That’s great. :thumbsup: It’s good to have good books to read. :slight_smile: I’ve never heard of that book by Martinez. I’ll have to check it out.

I picked up a used copy of this book on Amazon not to long ago (for about $28 after shipping), and I like it so far; I’m only on page 10 or so, though, lol. I really need to buckle down and give it a good read!

And I guess I should thank u, too, Joe, for some of those links! There was a few there that look good that I hadn’t previously bookmarked. :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t be surprised if not all the links still work. :o I made that list a while ago. It’s a good thing Church history doesn’t change that much in five years. :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree. I just finished it and came to the same conclusion.

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