Item description for Keepers of the Keys of Heaven: A History of the Papacy by Roger Collins...
Overview Looks at the history of the papacy, from the time of St. Peter to the present day.
Publishers Description One of the most enduring and influential of all human institutions, the papacy has also been amongst the most controversial. No one who seeks to make sense of modern issues within Christendom--or, indeed, world history--can neglect the vital shaping role of the popes.
In "Keepers of the Keys of Heaven," eminent religion scholar Roger Collins offers a masterful account of the entire arc of papal history--from the separation of the Greek and Latin churches to the contemporary controversies that threaten the unity of the one billion-strong worldwide Catholic community. A definitive and accessible guide to what is arguably the world's most vaunted office, "Keepers of the Keys of Heaven" is essential reading for anyone interested in the role of faith in the shaping of our world.
Citations And Professional Reviews Keepers of the Keys of Heaven: A History of the Papacy by Roger Collins has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Choice - 02/01/2010
Kirkus Reviews - 01/01/2009 page 21
Library Journal - 02/01/2009 page 75
Chronicle of Higher Education - 03/06/2009 page 18
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Studio: Basic Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.82" Width: 6.48" Height: 1.84" Weight: 1.9 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2009
Publisher Basic Books
ISBN 0465011950 ISBN13 9780465011957
Availability 0 units.
More About Roger Collins
Roger Collins is Research Fellow of the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh. The author of numerous books and articles in the field of religious history, he lives in Edinburgh.
Reviews - What do customers think about Keepers of the Keys of Heaven: A History of the Papacy?
We have a Pope! Oct 19, 2009
This is a quite comprehensive review of the men who have held the papacy from almost the beginning of the Church. It's very well-written and quite easy to understand. Given the vast period of time (almost 2000 years) with which the author has to deal, he has been able to give the reader a lucid account of the good, the bad and the ugly.
My only quibble is that, at times, the book wanders back and forth about certain popes and events, and that can get a bit disconcerting. Other than that, I found this book very interesting and informative, and would recommend it to anyone interested in church history, and the men in charge.
Relatively balanced and dispassionate history Oct 14, 2009
A readable and dispassionate history of the world's oldest continuous office. Though from an Anglican background, the author does not delve into anti-Catholic rhetoric but just provides the historical facts while avoiding controversial theological debates. In a way, this is somewhat disappointing in that it is a truly rich history must include the theological questions that are tied so closely to the papacy. A few passing comments concerning infallibility without defining either the protestant or catholic understanding of the term is a bit less than satisfying. Yet, at the same time, it is refreshing that the author keeps us on the path of history and away from distractions that might mire us in the tar pits of our own presuppositions. Just the history without the theological hot button issues - that's what the author gives us. The theological questions are an interesting and important topic in themselves but they tend to distract us from a more detailed historical study. As it is, 2000 years of history cannot be boiled into a few hundred pages without skimping on quite a lot. Sadly, there are portions where we are wishing to dig deeper.
A solid introduction to a very broad topic. Well done. For a good followup to this work, we would also recommend Popes and the Papacy: A History (Great Courses The Teaching Company).
Disappointing Sep 2, 2009
This is a disappointing book just briefly summarizing each papacy and implying that popes behaved just like kings and emperors, grasping for money and power and killing off rivals. It offers little treatment of theology, evidently implying that most popes were not very interested in the subject. Some historical controversies are rather briefly mentioned, with none really treated in any detail. There is virtually no consideration of the relationship of popes with ordinary Catholics, the author implying that most popes had no such relationships. But even if the popes were virtually totally isolated from the masses, the author should have examined how the papacy was viewed by the average person - with veneration, indifference, hatred? I read this book because I wanted to know more about the impact of the papacy in history. Unfortunately, I gained little real insight.
"Thou art Peter,and upon this rock I shall build my Church" May 22, 2009
The Papacy is one of the oldest organizations in the Western World.In this excellent work, Roger Collins has condensed the history of the Papacy down to 566 pages.That in itself is a monumental task.I have read several other books on the Papacy and will probably read several more;because no matter how much one reads on this subject ,one only scratches the surface. Before even starting to read this book;be sure you are aware of "The List Of Popes" ,starting on page 499.It lists all the popes and and Antipopes from the beginning to the present,including their dates.Because of the long time period and individuals covered ,this history is very complicated and convoluted;thus this "list" is very helpful in sorting things out. The thing that makes the history of the Papacy so complicated is that the Papacy has not existed in isolation ;but has always been intimately connected and affected by what has taken place around it.First of all, there are all the aspects of faith and religion and how man has tried to understand and impliment the teachings of Christ and Christianity.Then there are all the other religions that have existed ,either peacefully alongside Christianity,or in opposition to it.Then there are the various factions and interpretations that have taken place and even caused great schisms.Then ,above all that,Christianity has had to deal with all the weaknesses and strengths of man and how that has impacted Christianity and the Papacy for over 2000 years. As if the religious aspects were not enough,govrnments,monarchies,tyrants,dictators,politics,ideologies,wars,pandamics,famines,and every other part of society has impacted on the Papacy. Because of all this,it is very difficult to understand the history of the Papacy,without also understanding the historical events that took place during the time.Naturally,as one reads this book,things are often very sketchy;but it would take countless volumes to understand or outline all the whys and wherefores of what happened at any time. The author tries to stick with the facts and does not appear to be prejudiced in his ideas as he writes this history. I guess the thing that came across most clearly to me in reading the history of the Papacy is how it managed to endure all the forces that it has been subjected to and still managed to survive to the present time. In spite of everything,and the changes that have taken place in western civilization;the Papacy is probably in as great shape today,as at any time in its long history. In other words,after all the wars,religious and otherwise,empires that have developed,became all powerful and disappeared,great monarchies that have come and gone,religious sects that have come and gone,social and economic societies and systems that have come and gone,countries that have come and gone---yet, The Papacy ,with all its problems,all of which have been man made,has endured through it all.
"Learn how to be a policeman,because that cannot be improvised.As regards being pope,you will see later.Anybody can be pope;the proof of this is that I have become one." Letter to a young boy. From Wit and Wisdom of Good Pope John XXIII