Looking for a book on the The history of the Church and other Christian faiths

I looking for a book the will go into fairly great detail of how the separate branches of Christianity formed and what those churches believe in a comparative manner to the Catholic Church. I have a good amount of non-catholic christian friends and it makes for great discussions so it would be great to learn more. Any suggestions?

Thank you!
May the peace and love of God be with you

This is not a book but a DVD - “The Catholic Church: A History”
I highly recommend it. We just finished watching it in our adult education classes.

I would only buy something from this website or your local catholic book store the promo from the above video seems very misleading

How I learned what different denominations believed

  • I went to all of their web sites and joined thier forums
  • I read thier recent and older writings

Though the point of comparison is Orthodox rather than Catholic, a very helpful book for me in this regard has been Father Andrew Damick’s book Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy. This was originally a series of talks he gave, which can be listened to at Ancient Faith Radio. You’ll need to scroll down and use a drop-box to access the earliest entries.


I recommend Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church by H.W. Crocker III. I have been told that this concise history has propelled a number of individuals towards conversion. I highly recommend it for an overall history. You won’t regret it! :thumbsup:

Not sure if you were looking for something based from a specifically Catholic POV, or if you wanted a more detached, academic narrative.

If the latter, Diarmaid MacCulloch’s “The Reformation: A History” (2003) and “A History of Christianity” (2009) are both very good. While they of course do not present any one Christian group as being the “true church” they do a good job of outlining all the arguments asserted for each group’s existence and explaining why the various schisms occurred, with both sides believing themselves justified in their actions.

Thank you everyone for your responses!


Iraneaus and Eusibius are a good start.

One of the most respected (by Catholics and nonCatholics alike) writers of Church history is Jaroslav Pelikan, a Lutheran turned Orthodox.



Faith of the Early Church Fathers, or Early Church Fathers would be a help and bring you back to the earliest existing writings. Both include the canons of the councils and synods also. Here you’ll gain a wider perspective of all adjacent thinking in any period of history, in particular the early Church of the first 300-400 years.

Outside Christian history is also important, Constantine, temporal rulers, apocrypha writings such as the Gospel of James especially will give early tradition a better perspective.

Lot of reading, perhaps audio will help. You can also read the CCC and then research the footnotes which will relate back the Early Church Fathers. This imho is a much more difficult way to see a complete picture though. Though the CCC is a must read.

Good point Gary. I guess if one was looking for writings of the most unbiased viewpoints, the ECF’s would have to be it. Sure, everyone has bias but considering the time in which the ECF’s wrote the bias would have to be seen as strictly Christian without denominational bias, right? I think you would have a hard time finding a book today without some denominational bias.


Great book

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