More than a billion Roman Catholics throughout the world today look to the pope for guidance and leadership. Despite the papacy's enormous influence, how much do you really know about this ancient and powerful institution?
Catholics and non-Catholics alike will enjoy these 24 illuminating lectures about this remarkable institution. Professor Noble gives you priceless insights into the dramatic history of the papal office and the lives of the men who represented it.
You'll follow four critical strands of papal history over 2,000 years: the history of the "Petrine" idea; the history of an institution; the history of popes and antipopes; the history of Western civilization; and you'll look inside the Vatican's doors and discover fresh views on the institution's people, ideas, traditions, and routines, as well as the important roles played by organizations like the Curia and the Secretariat of State. You'll investigate the mechanisms by which the church not only ministers to its worldwide flock but also deals with the practical realities of its administration.
Filled with interesting stories and remarkable insights, this course promises to educate, enlighten, and entertain you.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses
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First, the positive:
Professor Noble is an engaging lecturer and clear cares and knows a lot about his subject. I order this lecture hoping for a more biographical approach to the different popes. However, this series is more about the politics, structure, history and form of the papacy. Even the the subject is more more complicated than I expected, I continued through the series, carried on the professors enthusiasm. I learned quite a bit, and even though I was a novice to the subject, I didn't feel the subject was presented above my head.
For the less negative:
The main problem I had with the lecture was that the professor approaches his subject from a very apologetic point of view. He is sympathetic to the pope's point of view and will relate good intentions to popes throughout history without evidence. He also somewhat glosses over the more corrupt history of certain popes, though to his credit, he does not ignore them entirely.
I find the morally challenging aspects of history to be the most interesting, so in this way, I was disappointed. However, my main goal of listening to this lecture was to learn more about Catholic history, which I can say I did.
This course is more about the papacy as an institution, and how it evolved and effected the world and political climate about it then it is about individual popes. It does mention specific individuals, of course, but when it does, it's usually just limited to how they affected the office and the church. As others have mentioned, it heavily leans towards the apologetic side, glossing over anything negative and quickly pointed out and emphasizing the positives of even the most corrupt popes.
It does ended with Pope Benedict, before he retired, and it is rather amusing to hear the professor attempt make several predictions about the directions the said Pope might take.
I found this an excellent survey of the papacy and helped in placing popes in their historical context
He has an easy to listen to style.
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