Study of Church History?


If this has been covered elsewhere, would someone kindly direct me to the spot? I’ve tried searching the forum and not found what I am looking for; however, my computer skills are not of the best so I may have missed it.

I would love to make a systematic, in depth, study of church history for my own good and to be able to answer questions when needed. I live in a rural area so have no access to a college and I don’t have alot of money to buy books indiscriminately (besides I want to skip the dubious ones). Although I’m a cradle Catholic, my exposure to Church History has been piecemeal and there are real gaps.

Could I get some recommendations on authors, titles, websites, etc. to get me going?

Thank you and God bless you all.



I took a two part course in church history through my archdiocese formation towards Christian ministry program, and the text we used for a portion of the instruction was People of God The History of Catholic Christianityby Anthony E. Giles. ISBN # 0-86716-363-1

At only ~ 200 pgs, it’s an easy read. I especially appreciate the time line in the back of the book.


Triumph: The Power and Glory of the Catholic Church by H.W. Crocker. A great start for anyone looking into Church history.

Paul Johnson: A History of Christianity You might also want to consider his History of the Jews.

Pope Benedict XVI Jesus, the Apostles and the Early Church

Hans Kung: Short History of the Catholic Church Short, well yes, about 200 pages. More of an essay rather than a history and one that is rather self-indulgent. Still, a bright priest and theologian though barred from being a Catholic theologian. Read the first three then consider this one to test your understanding.


Thank you both for the recommendations:) . They should get me started.:thumbsup:

God bless you and yours,



Here’s my recommendations:

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.


Hi Carol,

I have been recently looking for good Church history sources as well. I have also found that the search feature on the forums does not give very good results, so I usually use google to search the site.

This link gives the results of searching the CA Forums with google using the query “church history books” and there are quite a few threads it shows which have recommendations.

One of the recommendations that stuck out to me was “The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine” by Jaroslav Pelikan. It comes in 5 volumes, but you can buy them separately. The amazon link to the first one is:
He is Lutheran but apparently gives a very historical account of the Church looking not from a single side. And in fact I learned that he passed away a couple years ago, but not before converting from Lutheranism to the Orthodox church, so that is also interesting.

And here are some threads which were given by the google search i mentioned earlier. You will find tons of resources listed…perhaps too many to sift through and make sense of :slight_smile:

Good luck! I hope you post in this thread again if you do read something and can comment on how you found it :slight_smile:



You can get a fairly good audio of Church history from the beginning to the present at the following website:

The .mp3 files are about $1 each (great bargain!) and are very well done. You can either burn them to CD, copy them to your MP3 player, or just listen to them on your PC with Windows Media player that comes with the operating system.

Note: I have no affiliation with this website. I just found it and really liked the material there.


:thumbsup: THANK YOU all!!! This is so neat! It’s like looking up one’s family history big time. I’ll post again on some of my favorite findings.:slight_smile:

God bless you all.



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