• The Modern Scholar: Upon This Rock: A History of the Papacy from Peter to John Paul II

  • By: Thomas F. Madden
  • Narrated by: Thomas F. Madden
  • Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (118 ratings)

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The Modern Scholar: Upon This Rock: A History of the Papacy from Peter to John Paul II  By  cover art

The Modern Scholar: Upon This Rock: A History of the Papacy from Peter to John Paul II

By: Thomas F. Madden
Narrated by: Thomas F. Madden
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Publisher's summary

In this compelling series of lectures, widely esteemed author and professor Thomas F. Madden illustrates how the papacy, the world's oldest institution, gave birth to the West.

Since Jesus Christ instructed the foremost of his Apostles, Peter, that he would be the rock upon which Christ would build his church, the papacy has survived the rise and fall of empires while continuing to assert an undeniable influence on world events. The men who have served as pope are a fascinating collection of larger-than-life personages who have touched millions of lives, changed the course of history, and even launched crusades that have altered the balance of global politics.

With a learned approach and incisive analysis, Professor Madden not only provides a history of the papacy, but sheds light on the personalities of the popes and the flavor of their pontificates. At the same time, Madden demonstrates how the papacy has survived the tumultuous cauldron of history and offers a studied commentary on the future of this resilient institution.

©2006 Thomas F. Madden (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC

What listeners say about The Modern Scholar: Upon This Rock: A History of the Papacy from Peter to John Paul II

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not warts and all

This series of lectures has much to recommend it. The lectures are clear and informative. The discussions of the theology is clearly presented.
The lectures are very pro-pontiff. All actions of the popes are presented as either political ("He did this because policy demanded it") or as necessity. The morally reprehensible things done by the popes is glossed-over or not presented. We can perhaps understand that, for example, Pius V's encouraging English Catholics to revolt against Elizabeth or his encouragement of the persecution of the Hugenots is not presented but this kind of omission over 2000 years then makes assertions about the pristine behavior of Pius XII during World War II less credible.
Despite that, the lectures are informative and for those wanting to get an overview, they are useful and well-presented. Just bear in mind that it is a one-sided view.

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15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A synthesis

If one has all his other lectures on the Catholic Church, one can skip this one, because it would sound awfully repetitive. On the other hand, this lecture does make a good synthesis of his other lectures on church history.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Strong but not incredibly Detailed

This lecture series was excellent overall. Still, because it covers such a large span of time it is difficult to really get very detailed. It would jump so quickly through different popes, decades, and even centuries, it was difficult to follow. All in all, very educational and a great listen.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An amazing history

I'm not Catholic, but this history is fascinating. As the professor says, the Papacy has lasted about 2000 years, and is the oldest human institution in the world. When you consider the different societies in which it has functioned, from the ancient Roman Empire, through feudal Europe and into the modern secular world, to see how it has responded to all these changes and challenges is interesting. I was especially interested in what he had to say about Pius XII's conduct during the Second World War, as I had heard more negative assessments. Given only 8 hours, the professor could not cover every topic of interest in depth. But, like a good meal, it left me wanting more, and I'll certainly do more reading.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

wonderful intro to the history of the papacy

Mr. Madden has done his homework. This work is a fine introduction to the long and sometimes sorted history of the papacy.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Informative

I thought this was very informative and I have a degree in medieval history.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful professor and interesting topic

Pros:
- interesting, well-organized lectures
- enjoyable speaking voice, especially as I wind down in the evening
- professor with a dry sense of humor
- interesting topic even for non-Catholics

Cons:
- a pro Catholic, slightly conservative slant, which didn't bother me but I wanted to note
- not enough time in this course to get into as much of the early church and medieval history as he tackles in some of his other series; if that's your interest, I would start with another lecture series

Overall, highly recommended. If you are just starting with Prof. Madden, I would start with his audios on Venice or his two-part series on the medieval world.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

learnt alot

well detailed, balanced and nuanced. the author really is qualified for the level at which he speaks.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Super solid. Orthodox. Historically accurate.

this was very well-constructed and very faithful to church teaching while remaining objective in its historical accuracy. I'm very grateful to have had it to listen to in the car.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great overview of Papal history

It gave a great historical understanding of Catholic Church history and the impact on the world. It didn't shy away from the negatives, but also showed the reality of the Catholic faith in Christ and how it has positively impact the world.

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