Early Catholic History

How can i find out about early Catholic church history

What time period?

all of it i guess

This one is unique:


If you are looking for a dvd…


The Founding of Christendom by Warren Caroll

This covers the first 300 years.

read Eusebius"s history of the Church -can download to your Kindle

Acts of the Apostles covers the first 37 years of the Church.



Here’s a good book.



Highly recommend Professor Cook’s series…. For reading, I’d recommend “The History of the Church - from the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium” by James Hitchcock

Church history, first five centuries:


From my little library. Most of my books are rather old classics, but hey, you are talking about early Church history.

General church history
Henri Danile-Rops: 10-volume history of the church. (Excellent panaroma, if written in hagiographic style. Tells a wonderful story, with chapters covering the various parts of Christian life even if not as in-depth as a more narrow focus could bring. Could be out of print, though)

Early Church only
Duchesne: The Early History of the Church (Covers well all the great names (saints, heretics and emperors), heresies and schisms of the Church until about 400)
Bull: The Rise of the Church (Covers the life in the early church - scriptures, creeds, sacraments, customs, relations with Empire, etc - within backdrop of events)
Frend: The Early Church (until 461 only. More explanations on how events influenced the Church)

The following, while dealing with specific topics, will give you an insight into the early church, especially given the position of the Liturgy in the life of the Church.
Duchesne: Christian Worship - Its Origin and Evolution. (Well researched and with explanations how the liturgy also shaped the church hierarchy and position in society)
Talley: The Origins of the Liturgical Year. (Gave me an understanding of the continuity of the Church worship cycle from the Jewish. Could be a little technical)

Also, suggest that you read the following Apostolic writings

Didache, an instruction book for the early Christians
Apology of St Justin
Apostolic Constitutions (written later than apostolic times but still a good read to see how the Church has developed from the time of the Didache)

For me, understanding the early church gave me an understanding of how the Church got to where it is today. It wasn’t someone’s whims but many events that influenced her thinking, doctrines and customs. Happy reading.

Isn’t that heavily criticised for inaccuracy and bias?

Read the Early Church Fathers (ECF’s) in their own words http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/

Look for the following in the link above, that should keep you busy for awhile
Clement of Rome

Ignatius of Antioch


Justin Martyr

Irenaeus of Lyons

It’s a work of apologetics in historical form, that’s for sure. But it’s invaluable–it’s our only source for a lot of things, and in particular Eusebius preserves a number of earlier documents, which are generally regarded as authentic. Like all ancient sources, it must be used with caution.

Some good modern works are
J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines
Robert Louis Wilken, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought
Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (the best basic intro in my opinion–Chadwick wrote later works that are more detailed and up-to-date, but this one is a good starting point).

Anything by Peter Brown or G. R. Evans (or, of course, other works by the authors above)


This book was recommended by someone interviewed on EWTN by Marcus Grodi, he was a former baptist minister and said this history book read like a novel.

Triumph: Power and Blory of the Catholic Church by Henry Crocker

The Compact History of the Catholic Church by Dr. Alan Schreck, a tidy little book of 232 pages.

Bible History by Henry G Graham
Where we got the Bible

Although this isn’t a history of the early church, it is an early account of the church’s role in the books and care of the early bible and those Catholics who played a part in this.
A must read.

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