Looking For Solid Church History


I enjoy reading Church history. Can anyone give me some Author/historians and/or book titles that I can read that are solid and integral. Pretty much any era or subject. I have to get my stuff thought the library mostly and their system doesn’t really seperate the anti-catholic literature from the real history that was actualy reaserched /sigh.
Thanks much for your help


Christopher Dawson would be a good bet. His books are a bit of a slog, but I found The Formation of Christendom very accessible. There’s a followup to that book I want to get called The Division of Christendom, which is about the reformation.

Here’s the first one: amazon.com/Formation-Christendom-Christopher-Dawson/dp/1586172395/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252333225&sr=1-3

Church History in Plain Language by Dr. Bruce Shelley


Dr. Shelley is a Protestant. His book helped me, a former Protestant, to make the decision to become Catholic. As I read it, I realized for the first time that the early church was the Catholic Church.

I’ve not read the 3rd edition yet, but I’ve read the 1st ed. three times cover to cover, and I refer to it constantly.

I actually brought this book along with me when I enrolled in a church history class done at our parish and taught by a Catholic professor (another convert). I compared what the professor said with what is in Shelley’s Protestant version of church history. There was no conflict, no difference. Dr. Shelley writes facts, not opinions. Dr. Shelley does not write anti-catholic jargon. His book is completely fair to Catholics. And his version of the Reformation is not a glowing account of how the “true Christians” overcame the Catholic usurpers. On the contrary, Dr. Shelley just present the facts, that’s it. No anti-Catholic stuff.

The book is very readable and easy to follow and even enjoyable, written like a story rather than a boring list of dates and places. You do not have to be knowledgeable about world history to understand it. (Some history books refer to other historical events that they don’t bother to explain, and so you get confused and give up.)

Give it a try.

This topic seems to come up a lot. :slight_smile: Here are my recommendations that I recently posted in another thread:

I would recommend Church History by Fr. John Laux as nice moderate size account of Church history (600+ pages), though Laux’s book only goes up through about 1944.

If you’re looking for short, sweet, and to-the-point, then you can’t do better than Dr. Schreck’s The Compact History of the Catholic Church.

If you’re looking for a very readable, somewhat humorous account of Church History, H. W. Crocker’s Triumph: The Power and Glory of the Catholic Church is excellent.

If you’re looking for a super swanky, full color church history book with maps and pictures galore, you can’t do better than The History of the Church textbook that is part of the original Didache Series. This title may be going out of print soon as the publisher (Midwest Theological Forum) is now producing a Didache Semester Series, which will include a Semester edition of this church history textbook due out in early 2010.

There’s plenty of other good stuff, but these are always my top recommendations. :thumbsup:

If you have any particular areas of interest, there are many topical books out there as well.

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