Recommend Church history books for newbie


I don’t know how to sum up what I am going after but I do know that I am not looking for a book on Saints or Scott Hahnn books. No offense to either i just need a change of pace.

Bring on the heavy stuff:thumbsup:… something that would make the Catechism almost appear light:whacky:
Key word “almost”


Introduction to Catholic Church History I would suggest:

The Catholic Chruch Through the Ages - Martin Harney, S. J.

Church Histroy - Fr. John Laux, M.A.

More in depth is:

The Christian Tradition Vol. 1-5 - Jaroslav Pelkan


The Compact History of the Catholic Church by Alan Schreck is a century-by-century account…just 189 pages. :smiley:


The two volume set “The Teaching of the Catholic Church” edited by Canon George D. Smith, D.D., Ph.D. Lots of doctrine AND history.


“Christ the King: Lord of History” one of my favorite books all time!


Here is another thread about Church History resources:

Most of them are online sources, which may or may not be of interest to you (but hopefully they are!)


Also, for a history of the Bible, check “Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger” by Gary Michuta. I can’t recommend highly enough!


You might want two different things. “Church history for a newbie” is best approached first by an overview, and something “heavy, and comparable to the catechism” could be enjoyed a lot more after that.

1-The perfect book on Church history for an overview is “The Catholic Church Through The Ages” by John Vidmar. Read the reviews at Amazon:

2-If you want an incredible in-depth history you want Warren Carroll’s series, the first of which is “The Founding of Christendom”.

Personally, I can’t recommend these two enough.


The History of the Church by Eusebius, written in the 4th Centruy. Available most anywhere, mine was on the shelf at Borders.


I’d second this, along with:

*Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church, by H.W. Crocker.


It is even available online for free!

Another good book would be the Didache series textbook: The History of the Church. It is over 800 pages long and is quite comprehensive. It has lots of cool pictures, too. :slight_smile: Even though it is a high school textbook, it is still intellectually rigorous. I know some parishes use the Didache series for adult faith formation.

Here is what one reviewer said:

I am a historian, a high school teacher, a college professor, and a CCD teacher of 20 years experience. I am always on the look out for Church histories that a high school student can use AND which teaches a Catholic point of view AND which is a decent history book and read. I found it! A joy to use, with primary sources, great art and maps, and with enrichment activities.


This is not a history book but I found it to be quite profound.

Frank Sheed’s Theology and Sanity.


Loved it!
I’d also recommend very highly One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic by Kenneth Whitehead for a very good history of the Early Church. Fabulous book!


Okey-dokey :thumbsup:

Church History Timeline, Vol. 1, by Mark Bonocore; it’s available here under Products:

The Church of Rome in the First Century by George Edmundson - this is out-of-print but available if you do a websearch.

Redating the New Testament by John Robinson

The Founding of Christendom (vol. 1 and following) by Dr. Warren Carroll

That will keep you off the streets for awhile. :wink:


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