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The Great Heresies [Paperback]

By Hilaire Belloc (Author) & Belloc (Author)
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Item description for The Great Heresies by Hilaire Belloc & Belloc...

Here the great Catholic historian Hilaire Belloc analyzes 5 of the greatest heresies of all time: Arianism, Mohammedanism (Islam), Albigensianism, Protestantism, and "the Modern Attack," showing that the world would be vastly different today if Arianism or Albigensianism had survived--and how it is different because Protestantism survived. He predicts the re-emergence of Islam; explains how the Modern Attack is the worst threat to the Catholic Church ever.

Publishers Description
The Great Heresies is possibly the greatest book written by the famous Catholic historian Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953). Calling upon his vast knowledge of history, Belloc outlines in simple terms the meaning and influence of five of the greatest heresies against the Catholic Church: Arianism, Mohammedanism (Islam), Albigensianism, Protestantism and the "Modern Attack." He conjectures that these five attacks contain all the principal thrusts against the Church that are possible. He discusses in full the impact of each of these attacks upon Catholic orthodoxy-showing how the world would have been vastly different had Arianism or Albigensianism survived, and how it is vastly different because Protestantism has survived. Writing in 1938, he gave two solid historical reasons for the rapid re-emergence of Islam. But most importantly, he analyzes the "Modern Attack" (which he equates with "Anti-Christ"), showing how this heresy, though remaining largely nameless, represents the worst threat ever to the Catholic Church because it is waging a fight to the death-in which the enemies of God and His Holy Religion intend to leave no influence of the Church intact, in any area of man's life. The Great Heresies is a precisely worded, profoundly insightful book that will reward the reader with an accurate appreciation for the direction of history-as we are living it today.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: St. Benedict Press & TAN Books
Pages   151
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1938
Publisher   T A N Books & Publishers
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0895554755  
ISBN13  9780895554758  

Availability  0 units.

More About Hilaire Belloc & Belloc

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Hilaire Belloc was born at St. Cloud, France, in 1870. He and his family moved to England upon his father s death, where he took first-class honors in history at Balliol College in Oxford, graduating in 1895. It has been stated that his desire was to rewrite the Catholic history of both France and England. He wrote hundreds of books on the subjects of history, economics, and military science, as well as novels and poetry. His works include The Great Heresies, Europe and the Faith, Survivals and New Arrivals, The Path to Rome, Characters of the Reformation, and How the Reformation Happened.

Hilaire Belloc was born in 1870 and died in 1953.

Hilaire Belloc has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Liberty Fund Classics on Liberty

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Reference > General
2Books > Subjects > Reference
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History

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

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Great Heresies?

Prescient and Compelling  Oct 28, 2007
Excellent book. Straightforward and lucid grasp of history.

The section on Islam alone is worth the the small cost of this book many times over.
Aftershocks  Oct 1, 2007
Mr. Belloc never leaves one doubting his opinion. His direct and authoritative style might anger those who disagree or thrill the faithful. Either way you will be led through the reasoning Mr. Belloc took to draw his conclusions which will drive you to think the same matters through to your own. In this work, Mr. Belloc does not provide an in-depth theological background on the heresies cited but instead gives a rough sketch of each and categorizes each as a type. Then, using this typology approach he carries each to their logical conclusions to convey their affect on the societies they infected. Mr. Belloc provides the superstructure for understanding other heresies by giving us the essential root of Arianism, Islam, Albigensianism, Protestantism, and Modernism. Through each description he also draws some interesting parallels to the various heresies. Of course, as a Roman Catholic, Mr. Belloc will step on some Protestant toes in particular since they will be the most likely to read his book outside other Catholics.

Mr. Belloc's approach is opinionated and he writes as an expert without always providing the evidence for his opinions. At the same time, there is enough evidence in the form of his logical approach to give one the opportunity to explore his opinions more themselves. Mr. Belloc was one of the great philosopher-historians of the early 20th century and his thoughts will always be valuable to the seeker or any one wishing to improve their critical thinking skills through practice. In this key work, he reminds us how ideas, and particularly, theology has consequences to society. It is not a topic to ignore or think only the realm of the theological hair-splitters. Our culture today has the marks of the theology that created it and upholds it. Mr. Belloc helps us focus on those aftershocks in theology that have shaped our culture.
A Vital Piece of History  Feb 9, 2007
Hilaire Belloc begins his book by justifying its existence. Modern education and thought largely ignore religion, particularly the parts that unfolded in what we label "The Middle Ages". But Belloc has some inconvenient facts for us. The history of civilization is the history of religion. A society rises or falls by the strength of its individuals; those individuals rise and fall by the strength of their religion. To understand the past, grasp the present, and know the future, we must know religion. The one religion that has stood at the center of human history is the Catholic Church. And to take the measure of that religion, we must look at the challenges it has faced and overcome.

Belloc's spare, straightforward prose takes us through a whirlwind tour of five heresies that the Church defeated. The Arian Heresy denied the full divinity of Jesus. It was rejected by Church leaders, but survived in the Roman Army for much longer. The Albigsenean attack came later, during the High Middle Ages. It was an attack not just on theology but on the fundamental nature of reality. The end product of denying reality was an obsession with intense experience, such as bizarre rituals involving fire-worship. Fortunately for us, both of these notions passed into the dustbin of history.

The chapter on Islam is the longest and the most illuminating. Belloc begins it by unerlining the fact that Islam was a heresy. It was not a brand new religion, but a corruption and oversimplification of the Christian doctrine that the Prophet Mohammed learned in Syria. But more importantly, Belloc focuses on the social environment where Islam first rose. A massive underclass in the decaying Persian and Byzantine Empires toiled under the restrictions of the upper class. Among these oppressed, the nascent Islamic movement found willing support for its doctrine of total equality and total submission to God.

We all view Islam as decaying, stagnant, and backwards-looking. We rarely remember that until about three centuries ago, Islam dominated the world with the most advanced technology, thought, and political systems. Belloc does. He enjoins us to remember that almost into the 18th century, the Muslim hordes were knocking on the doors of Central Europe, and that Vienna was only saved by a last-minute intervention by the Poles. (It happened, in a delightful historical twist, on September 11.) In 1938 Belloc saw an Islam that was down but not out; he predicted that it would soon be knocking impolitely on Europe's door again. A far-fetched prediction at the time, this has now come true, and Belloc knows why. Islam thrives on social injustice; when westerners decided to prop up oil-wealthy shieks throughout the Arab world, they created the exact conditions in which the Muslim message can rally the masses.

Thr fourth and probably least popular chapter is "What was the Reformation?" Belloc acknowledgeed that by the 16th century, the Catholic Church was badly in need of a correction. Yet the cure, as so often happens, may be worse than the disease. He emphasized that Martin Luther aimed to fix the Church from within. It was only John Calvin who insisted on breaking away and forming a new church with a radically different theological basis. Belloc predicted that the Protestant world would lose its vitality and join the secular world. Again, time has proved him right; Protestantism remains strong in the USA but throughout northern Europe the churches are disintegrating.

And that leads us to the final chapter, "The Modern Attack". Secularism is the first heresy to try overthrowing all the building blocks of Christianity. In denies not only the supremacy of God but also the need for justice, equality, joy, and love. It replaces morality with self-interest, education with job-training, freedom with tyranny. And yet, awesome as this final attack may have seemed, Belloc saw the seeds of the Church's victory already sprouting. Time has proved him right yet again. Pope Jonh Paul II stood up to lead the defense against communism. Now Christianity regains it strength in the former Soviet block and also throughout the third world, and there are tantalizing signs that Western Europe will soon be Christian again. And so Belloc finishes the book with tempered optimism. Christianity will survive; we have Jesus's word on that. How it will look in the future remains to be seen. But in any case this book gives a spirited look at parts of world history which our schools now ignore totally, and for that alone it's more than worth reading.
Insightful and Prophetical  Jan 6, 2007
As Belloc argues in his other book Europe and the Faith, Europe is the Faith and the Faith is Europe, referring of course to Christianism. The development of Western Civilization is inseparable from the Christian religion and its ideology.

As every Civilization is built upon a certain ideology, in order to understand our Civilization, its history and the challenges it faces today, one must understand its ideology. And in this, it is important to know also the views that have arisen within or in the fringes of Western Civilization, that go against the Christian ideology. On this, The Great Heresies by Belloc does a very good job.

And on the issue of Islam as a threat to our civilization, in the 1930s Belloc asked himself if Islam would again present that threat. He believed it would. And in that, we now know that he was, as in much everything else, extraordinarily clear and correct.

This book is a must-read.

Spans the centuries with truth we need to hear.  Aug 20, 2006
Fantastic book! An amazing summary that rings so true you can feel it in your bones. Particularly stark and foreboding is his warning that Mohammedism will be back to try again to destroy us - and here they are now! Anyone who thinks if we only ignore Islamofascism it will go away needs to read this book. Belloc understands the threat and categorizes it within the broad expanse of human history. Ignore him at our peril!

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