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The History of Christian Theology | [The Great Courses]

The History of Christian Theology

In this 36-lecture course, you'll find an engaging way to explore profound religious questions and the many responses believers, scholars, and theologians have developed over more than 2,000 years. Through this series, Professor Cary reveals the enduring power of the Christian tradition-as both an intellectual discipline and a spiritual path.These lectures begin at the very dawn of Christianity, as you examine some of the earliest examples of scripture recorded by the first communities of the faithful.
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Publisher's Summary

In this 36-lecture course, you'll find an engaging way to explore profound religious questions and the many responses believers, scholars, and theologians have developed over more than 2,000 years. Through this series, Professor Cary reveals the enduring power of the Christian tradition - as both an intellectual discipline and a spiritual path.

These lectures begin at the very dawn of Christianity, as you examine some of the earliest examples of scripture recorded by the first communities of the faithful. You'll see how, over the centuries, these teachings developed into the orthodox teachings of the mainstream church as well as the divergent doctrines taught by splinter groups branded as "heretics." You'll explore the causes and outcomes of the split between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church during the Middle Ages and examine the explosion of the many Protestant groups that resulted from the Reformation in the 16th century. And finally, you'll come to the modern era, with a survey of the evolution of Christian thought in today's society - the ongoing story of how faith persists in an increasingly secularized world.

Each lecture illuminates the conceptual structure of Christian theology as it connects to spiritual practices such as prayer, worship, the use of sacraments, and the contemplation of religious icons. Through lucid and engaging explanations, they provide intriguing analyses of theological ideas in their unique historical, social, and biographical contexts to help you understand the power of each tradition within its particular time and place. The result is a sweeping survey that probes some of the most common questions about Christian faith over the centuries.

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.

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

What Members Say

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  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-25-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Been Waiting for This"

    This is a great course with a great professor. He covered a wide range of deep topics in an easy to understand way. I would definitely look for other courses by him. I also thought that he offered a number of fascinating insights about why these theological issues matter. My only criticism is that the course would be better titled History of Protestant Theology orbsomething- it does not cover Eastern Orthodox or Catholic theology past the point where Protestant history splits off, which was a little disappointing. Overall a GREAT course.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brendan Copley Madrid Spain 11-28-13
    Brendan Copley Madrid Spain 11-28-13

    Aelred

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    "Christian Theology through Protestant Eyes."
    Where does The History of Christian Theology rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I would have to rate it quite high for it`s clarity, listenability and overall informative-balance.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The History of Christian Theology?

    There were many insightful moments but my most memorable was the ending with reference to Hans Ur Von Balthasar.


    What does Professor Phillip Cary bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A warm human, informed and balanced connection.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    On one level yes, but on another level one sitting would not have enabled me to take it all in. I will definitely relisten to this book.


    Any additional comments?

    This is an excellent book for neophyte Protestants or for non-protestants interested in Protestantism and their view of Christian theology.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Edmonton, AB, Canada 05-17-14
    Barbara Edmonton, AB, Canada 05-17-14 Member Since 2010
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    "A MUST LISTEN"
    What made the experience of listening to The History of Christian Theology the most enjoyable?

    Dr. Cary put my thoughts and questions into words. His narrative voice is easy and pleasant. I've listened to this course four times and counting!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Hoffman 04-18-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Good Comprehensive and Balanced Course"
    Where does The History of Christian Theology rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This was my first Great Courses audiobook and I enjoyed the detail and the comprehensive knowledge of the professor.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the comprehensive nature of this series of lectures. I think it is important to put the modern church in its historical context. This course helped me better understand modern Roman Catholics, Eastern orthodox, pentecostals, fundamendalists, and my own progressive protestant church. It has given me a rich background to appreciate the challenges of modern theology and Christian community. It also gives perspective to parallel art, music, and political history.


    What about Professor Phillip Cary’s performance did you like?

    Professor Cary is very easy to listen to and engaging. He is not judgmental about the different variations of Christian theology. He is intellectual yet sympathetic to diverse doctrines in the church. He takes great effort to define terms well.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. This is something you want to soak up a little at a time. Like during long walks.


    Any additional comments?

    The material may be a little difficult to follow if you have no background in a Christian religion, but is easy to understand as a layperson. You may be disappointed if you want more history on Eastern orthodox traditions.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nathan Benbrook, TX, United States 03-21-14
    nathan Benbrook, TX, United States 03-21-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Impressed"
    If you could sum up The History of Christian Theology in three words, what would they be?

    Very good overview


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Professor Cary was very knowledgeable


    Which scene was your favorite?

    It was especially helpful the way Cary would compare and contrast throughout the course, such as the differences and similarities between the Eastern and Western churches, or those between Luther and Calvin to name a couple.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Each period of Christian thought was informative, but as my knowledge of medieval thought was especially sparse, Cary's lectures on Anselm, Aquinas, and others were particularly helpful.


    Any additional comments?

    Informative overview of the history of Christian thought.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dulce USA 06-11-14
    Dulce USA 06-11-14 Member Since 2010

    Avid reader until vision impairment set in. Now an avid listener!

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    "Didn't meet expectations, probably my fault"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would only if the friend was more interested in abstract philosophy than in the lived experience of Christianity over time. This is my overall problem with the lecture series. It's probably unrealistic to expect from a philosophy/theology professor, but I missed the social context. It's often the WHY, not the WHAT, that makes religious development so interesting. E.g., what were the influences on Augustine that sparked him to fashion a theology that was relatively more "rational" than Dionysus's heavily mystical version in the east? How did ordinary Christians assume these theological changes into their worship and everyday experiences? In other words, how did theological developments come about and what differences did they make?


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The History of Christian Theology?

    Honestly, I was too disappointed overall to be struck by any individual moments.


    What aspect of Professor Phillip Cary’s performance would you have changed?

    I wish his lectures had been less extemporaneous and more structured. He was often repetitious in ways that didn't aid understanding. Also I sometimes found his informality about the subject matter a bit jarring.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, just didn't care for it.


    Any additional comments?

    None of my comments are meant to detract from Professor Cary's knowledge and his obvious love of his subject. He is erudite and enthusiastic; just not my cup of tea.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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