The History of the Catholic Church: Tradition and Innovation

Podcast-style audio & video course - 24 Topics
Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
Professor of History, Kean University
(15 customer reviews)
Audio Download + Subscription
$0.00
Audio Download + Subscription
$0.00
Includes Free Study Guide
Audio Download + Subscription
$0.00

Audio Sample:

Take an unforgettable journey through the entire span of Church history.

The chronicle of Catholicism can seem daunting, full of names, dates, places, and phrases. To get ahold of such a rich and diverse history requires guidance and a skillful approach.

In this brilliant survey course, you’ll explore the interaction between traditions of belief and innovate ways to describe, share, and live that faith. With award-winning historian Dr. Christopher Bellitto as your guide, you’ll look at the major periods of Church history: early, medieval, reformation, and modern. As you take this journey, you’ll examine what remained the same and what made a particular period unique.

In “Early Church,” you’ll see how a small group of believers spread the faith in a hostile pagan world. Then, in “Medieval Church,” you’ll see how popes and kings, bishops and local lords fought to control the Church

Audio Sample:

Take an unforgettable journey through the entire span of Church history.

The chronicle of Catholicism can seem daunting, full of names, dates, places, and phrases. To get ahold of such a rich and diverse history requires guidance and a skillful approach.

In this brilliant survey course, you’ll explore the interaction between traditions of belief and innovate ways to describe, share, and live that faith. With award-winning historian Dr. Christopher Bellitto as your guide, you’ll look at the major periods of Church history: early, medieval, reformation, and modern. As you take this journey, you’ll examine what remained the same and what made a particular period unique.

In “Early Church,” you’ll see how a small group of believers spread the faith in a hostile pagan world. Then, in “Medieval Church,” you’ll see how popes and kings, bishops and local lords fought to control the Church as believers in the pews and plazas rediscovered the human Jesus of the gospels. Meanwhile, religious life adapted as Christianity encountered new cultures. “Reformation Church” considers how the Church recovered from its late medieval controversies and bridged the gap between science and religion. Finally, “Modern Church” explores how Vatican II has transformed Catholicism as she strides into her third millennium.

Dynamic and insightful, this course is a must-have resource. By understanding the history of the Church, you will understand its fascinating past as we journey into the future.

* This is a second edition with completely re-recorded and updated lectures.

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Your Free Electronic Study Guide! When you order this course, we will send you a free electronic study guide that you can access in 3 convenient ways:

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$57.99$79.99

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Dr. Christopher M. Bellitto, Ph.D., is an award-winning historian and Professor of History at Kean University in New Jersey. He received a Ph.D. in History from Fordham University. He is the author of ten books and the co-editor of six others; his writing has been honored by the American Catholic Historical Association and the Catholic Press Association. A frequent public speaker and media commentator on Church history and contemporary Catholicism, he has appeared on the History and Travel channels, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and other radio and television stations. He has received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant and is on the Fulbright Specialist Roster.Dr. Bellitto’s books include Ageless Wisdom: Lifetime Lessons from the Bible (Paulist Press, 2016), 101 Questions and Answers on Popes and the Papacy (Paulist Press, 2008), The Living Church and Church History 101 (Liguori Publications, 2011, 2008), and the companion volumes Renewing Christianity: A History of Church Reform from Day One to Vatican II and The General Councils: A History of the 21 Church Councils from Nicaea to Vatican II (Paulist Press, 2001-2002). His articles have appeared in Catholic Historical Review, Church History, Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique, Cristianesimo nella storia, America, Commonweal, U.S. Catholic, and other journals and magazines. Dr. Bellitto also serves as series Editor-in-Chief of Brill’s Companions to the Christian Tradition.

Praise for Christopher Bellitto

“Christopher Bellitto is one of the most compelling and accessible Church historians working today. He brings together the skills of a journalist with scholar’s expertise.”
– Dr. C. Colt Anderson, Dean, Fordham University“One discovers in Professor Bellitto that all too rare combination of scholarly expertise and exquisite communicator. His lectures weave humor with erudition, prophetic challenge with passion for the people of God, and historical objectivity with deep care for the Church.”
– Dr. Elena Procario-Foley, Iona College“Dynamic and accessible, Professor Christopher Bellitto breathes life into Church history in ways that resonate with the experiences of contemporary audiences. Weaving solid scholarship with engaging stories he brings fresh perspectives to the events and people that influence the rich diversity of the Roman Catholic tradition.”
– Dr. Carmen Nanko-Fernández, Catholic Theological Union“Prof. Christopher Bellitto is an outstanding scholar who is widely admired for his great clarity as well as for the depth and breadth of his knowledge. Prof. Bellitto is an excellent guide in all matters of church history, and has a special gift for presenting complex realities in a compelling and clear manner.”
– Mary Doak, University of San Diego“Master teacher, expert scholar, and superb communicator, Bellitto presents exquisitely masterful interpretations of the significance of the various eras of Church history that enlighten and delight. Media commentator on all things papal and episcopal, Bellitto captures the importance of the meaning of the past for the Church in the contemporary moment.”
– Elena Procario-Foley, Iona College“Prof. Bellitto is one of the best contemporary historians of Christian history. His profound knowledge of the subject matter, decades of teaching, eloquent and effective communication skills, make his work an indispensable reference for anyone interested in the thousand year-old Christian story.”
– Ines Angeli Murzaku Ph.D., Seton Hall University

  • Introduction: Why Bother with Church History?
  • Ecclesiology: What Do We Mean by “Church”?
  • The Jesus Community
  • Christianity and the Roman Empire
  • Explaining Christianity: Councils and Creeds
  • Living Christianity
  • An Emerging Papacy
  • Converting Europe
  • Charlemagne’s Vision
  • Papal Monarchy: Pros and Cons
  • Twelfth Century Renaissance: Living the Gospel
  • Universities and Scholasticism
  • Religious Orders: Reform and Innovation
  • Crusades: Encountering "the Other"
  • Avignon Papacy and the Great Western Schism
  • Martin Luther Thinks About Reform
  • Protestant Pathways
  • Popular Piety and the Council of Trent
  • Spreading the Faith in a Widening World
  • Challenges to Religious Beliefs and Structures
  • Living the Faith After the Enlightenment
  • Vatican II: Background and Event
  • Vatican II: Interpretation and Implementation
  • Catholicism Today: History Lessons for the Future

15 reviews for The History of the Catholic Church: Tradition and Innovation

  1. Gerard

    The course gives an outstanding introductory background.

    Without the knowledge of the history of the Catholic Church, one does not know the Church. The course gives an outstanding introductory background. It is not as detailed as H. W. Crocker III’s Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church, but it is quite satisfactory.

  2. Ray

    Professor Bellito gives a factual and interesting history without taking sides on the various developments in the Church’s history.

    Professor Bellito gives a factual and interesting history without taking sides on the various developments in the Church’s history. He is out to inform, i.e. to promote thought but not controversy. This course is a good basis from which to continue one’s study in areas of special interest.

  3. Lynn Ann

    Highly engaging!

    Highly engaging. Huge topic in digestible sections. Balanced presentation of strengths and weakness of Church leadership throughout the ages. Led to fantastic small group discussions.

  4. Anonymous

    Fall Survey: October 2016

    Professor Bellitto is a dynamic speaker and it is obvious that he is not only very learned but passionate about the subject.

  5. Anonymous

    Fall Survey: October 2016

    Professor Bellitto is a dynamic speaker and it is obvious that he is not only very learned but passionate about the subject.

  6. G. Bai, NY

    Spring Survey: April 2017

    History of the Catholic Church’ is full of wonderful information & Dr Belitto’s delivery is clear & engaging. He provided wonderful insights & great examples to explain the material. Love his voice!

  7. G. Bai

    Spring Survey: April 2017

    History of the Catholic Church is full of wonderful information & Dr Belitto’s delivery is clear & engaging. He provided wonderful insights & great examples to explain the material. Love his voice!

  8. Fr. Michel L., Canada

    Spring Survey: April 2017

    This synthesis of the History of the Church interested me very much. The teacher was excellent and dynamic. I learned a lot about the History of our Catholic Church. That gave me a greater love for the Church and I was able to admire more than before how God sustained His Church through so many vicissitudes.

  9. Fr. Michel Legault

    Spring Survey: April 2017

    This synthesis of the History of the Church interested me very much. The teacher was excellent and dynamic. I learned a lot about the History of our Catholic Church. That gave me a greater love for the Church and I was able to admire more than before how God sustained His Church through so many vicissitudes.

  10. Fred T., OH

    Summer Survey: July 2017

    Prof. Bellitto explains details and facts explaining how the Church evolved in a fascinating, factual way. An explanation the most of us never hear, except misinformation given by non Catholics. Very enlightening and faith reaffirming.

  11. Fred Thomas

    Summer Survey: July 2017

    Prof. Bellitto explains details and facts explaining how the Church evolved in a fascinating, factual way. An explanation the most of us never hear, except misinformation given by non Catholics. Very enlightening and faith reaffirming.

  12. Gloria B., NY

    Summer Survey: July 2017

    This course is super informative, & Dr Belito’s delivery is clear & flows smoothly. It is clear he knows the material & shares it a manner that is easy to understand.

  13. Gloria B.

    Summer Survey: July 2017

    This course is super informative, & Dr Belito’s delivery is clear & flows smoothly. It is clear he knows the material & shares it a manner that is easy to understand.

  14. Anonymous

    2017 Christmas Survey

    Bellitto enjoys the evolution of the Catholic faith throughout the ages: Apotolic, Patristic etc.

  15. Anonymous

    2017 Christmas Survey

    Bellitto enjoys the evolution of the Catholic faith throughout the ages: Apotolic, Patristic etc.

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