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The Compact History of the Catholic Church [Paperback]

By Alan Schreck (Author)
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Item description for The Compact History of the Catholic Church by Alan Schreck...

"The Compact History of the Catholic Church" is a lively and readable guide to the life of the church through the ages. Designed as an introduction to the history of Catholicism, this convenient resource offers more than just names, dates, and places. Dr. Alan Schreck covers not only the topics and issues of each period but also skillfully guides us through the maze of politics, scandals, and heresies which have challenged the church both from within and without. Most importantly, he brings to life the people of God in each century who have faithfully loved and served the church, often at the cost of great personal sacrifice and persecution. From God's purposes for a covenant people in the Old Testament, through Christ's establishment of a new covenant people, to the Holy Spirit's powerful work revitalizing the Catholic church in the twentieth century--this convenient guide will inspire, instruct, and enlighten the general reader. In addition, it can be used as a resource for history and religion courses. Particularly helpful is the interpretation of the significance of the Second Vatican Council to the history of the church.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Servant Publications
Pages   189
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.52" Width: 4.51" Height: 0.54"
Weight:   0.27 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 28, 1987
Publisher   Servant Publications
ISBN  0892833289  
ISBN13  9780892833283  

Availability  0 units.

More About Alan Schreck

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! ALAN SCHRECK is professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. He is the author of numerous books, including The Essential Catholic Catechism and Catholic Church History From A to Z (Servant Books).

Alan Schreck currently resides in Steubenville, in the state of Ohio.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Roman Catholicism
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Church History

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

Reviews - What do customers think about The Compact History of the Catholic Church?

Filling a tall order  Jan 31, 2008
Covering 2000 years of history in the space of a pocket-sized book of less than 200 pages is a tall order indeed. Dr. Schreck pulls off this seeming-miracle somehow and fills that tall order with perhaps the most concise yet fact-filled history of the church yet provided.

Beginning with the Roman Catholic understanding of the church as a foundational chapter, Dr. Schreck then takes us on a whirlwind tour of the centuries. He begins the tour with a wonderful overview of the apostolic and early church fathers of the first 6 centuries. This is the time that truly defined how the church would be governed and the development of understanding her sacraments. Then, Dr. Schreck guides us through the two chapters devoted to the key people and events of the middle ages and around the rocks of schisms, reforms, and heresies. Dr. Schreck does not ignore the issues of crooked church leaders or the evils inherent in temporal powers too closely allied with the state. After this, Dr. Schreck guides us through the development of the church in the modern era of discovery, war, and challenging anti-theistic philosophies. In closing, he brings us to the post Vatican II church finding its identity in light of that council's focus. The final chapter summarizes key themes and gives us some insight into the veneration of Mary and her appearances and messages through church history. The close association of Mary with the church means that her messages at these sightings, though optional beliefs for individual catholics, will have an effect on the direction of the church as a whole. As our mother, she guides with the subtle loving touch of persuasion.

Dr. Schreck is immensely impartial in his coverage perhaps to a fault. For instance, he makes mention of Martin Luther's German translation of the scriptures leaving the reader to believe it to be the first of such translations. This sort of reporting has left many to conclude that the Catholic church actively suppressed translations into the vernacular as some insidious plot to keep the people ignorant. In the early church history, he refers to the confiscation of "Bibles" prior to the church defining a canon leaving the common assumption that the canon preceded and defined the church - when in fact, it was the persecution of which he writes that was a driving factor behind the determination of a canon of scripture in the first place. But, in all fairness to Dr. Schreck, an overview such as this cannot entirely cover all such misconceptions and falsehoods.

At first glance at the small size of this little book, I doubted it could be of much use in understanding the church's history. I was very pleasantly surprised at the depth of coverage Dr. Schreck managed in so few words. Many will find larger, more thorough works too daunting and so go on with little knowledge of the church's history. Dr. Schreck has given us a handy tool for understanding our Christian heritage - including our mistakes, heartaches, and successes as a continuous family of faith. As I read, I could not help but think of Dr. Noble's course, Popes and the Papacy: A History (Great Courses The Teaching Company), as a good resource to follow up this work. In addition, for the more stout of heart, Will Durant's History of Civilization series of books are unmatched in their depth and readability.

Dr. Schreck's work is a wonderful little book for the flyover view. He gives the student of history the signposts for what might interest them more within that 2000 year history. This work fills a tall order indeed.
Short but sweet  Jul 19, 2007
As Dr. Schreck states in the Preface, this book is a compilation of "a series of simple lessons on the history of the Catholic Church" for a group setting. Thus it "provides a non-technical introductory overview of the Catholic Church and its history." In this it delivers. For the uninitiated, it provides a very quick overview that can be comfortably read in an afternoon. For those with a genuine interest, they will not want to stop here; rather it will whet the appetite for more.

The first 100 pages cover the time up to the 20th century, the last 53 from the turn of the 20th century to 1986 when the book was written. The last chapter is particularly good because it allows for some reflections ("perspective," he puts it) by the author. There is a 15 page "Teaching Summaries" at the end that is helpful for a quick review any time it is needed.

As an introduction to the history of the Catholic Church this is a fine book. If you are past that stage, look to more in-depth treatments.
Good Place To Start Or To Organize.  Apr 6, 2007
"The Compact History Of The Catholic Church" is a very compact story of this most significant institution the world history. Viewed through the eyes of faith, Author Alan Schreck begins with an explanation of the Church. He explains the marks of the Church, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. He then takes the reader, chapter by chapter, through the period of the Apostles and Fathers, Middle Ages, Late Middle Ages, Reformation and Counter Reformation, the Confrontation with the Modern World, the Church in the Twentieth Century, from Vatican II to John Paul II, and concluding with a perspective on the Church and the Role of Mary.

I say that this book approaches its subject through the eyes of faith because history is examined with the recognition that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church. The author sees the direction of the Spirit in the turns taken by the Church through the centuries.

The one thing that I really liked about this book is the way it puts events in context. I have often read, in more detail, about specific events in Church history, but this book shows how they fit in order and relate to each other. I found definitions of heresies and sects, the role of philosophers both within and without the Church and the impact of social movements on the Church as resulting from the Church. I recommend it for anyone wanting to get an overview of Church history, or to organize the bits of history that they already know.
the history of christan church  Mar 12, 2002
this book is aneye opener to all catholic fathful all over the world.inshort the best sofar.
An excellent introduction to the history of Catholicism!  Apr 2, 2001
If you are looking for a short, yet informative, history of the Catholic Church, look no futher. This book gives the reader all the major details from the founding of the church up to the present day. Of course, in a short book such as this, a cursory examination is given each topic, but it is nevertheless a superb introduction to the history of the Catholic Church.

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