The Roman Catholic Church
An Illustrated History
- ISBN 9780500251324
- 25.50 x 19.90 cm
- 152 Illustrations, 58 in colour
- First published 2007
‘The most intellectually bracing short history of the Roman Catholic Church to have appeared for decades …’ – The Sunday Telegraph
‘… one of the most intelligent and provocative voices in the Church …’ – The Sunday Times
‘Stunningly beautiful to look at, lovely to the touch, and crammed with marvellously evocative illustrations … even if the text provokes and annoys, and it might, even if it has you purring in agreement, as it did, you can always wallow in the illustrations’ – New Directions
The history of the Roman Catholic Church is a gateway to understanding two thousand years of Western and, at times, world civilization.
Edward Norman’s beautifully illustrated account begins with how Roman Catholics understand the Faith, before telling the story of the ways in which their Church has shaped the lives and beliefs of Christians and non-Christians.
It is partly a story of remarkable people, from the greatest theologian of the early Church, St Augustine, to one of the greatest world figures of the modern age, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It is also rich in symbols, not least the basilica of St Peter in Rome, the most immediately recognizable church in the world.
Its focus is an historical account of epic proportions: in the first thousand years, how Rome’s Empire came to an end, but Rome itself became the heart of the Roman religion; the schism with Byzantine Orthodoxy and the transformation of the whole of Western Europe into Christendom.
Here you will find trenchant views of the Crusades, undistorted by today’s agendas, and of the Counter Reformation as the fruit of the venerable Catholic reforming tradition. And then the beginning of a new 500-year history, in which missionaries took their message to Latin America and the East. Today, the Catholic Church, once the defining institution in Europe, reflects the vision of the Second Vatican Council in 1962 and embodies Christ’s own injunction to ‘Teach all Nations’.
Edward Norman lectured in history at the University of Cambridge and is an Emeritus Fellow of Peterhouse. A former Reith Lecturer for the BBC, Dr Norman has written widely on the history of Christianity and his most recent books include The Victorian Christian Socialists, Secularisation, and The House of God: Church Architecture, Style and History, also published by Thames & Hudson.