Feb 18, 2013

Vote: Re Reading on Religious History

Interest was expressed at the last meeting of the History Book Club in reading a book on the history of the Catholic Religion. In the past the club members have chosen not to read books on religious history.

If you voted yes, please express an opinion as to which of the following books you would prefer:

Here are links to the pages for the books on the Amazon website (more complete than the Barnes and Noble website):
Of course you may add a comment if you wish to share your views.


  1. AW commented by email:
    Not too keen on a book about religion and would prefer the Roger Williams book, which traces the history of the separation of church and state. However, I can recommend the following if the group wants to read a book about religion: Whose Bible Is It?: A Short History of the Scriptures by Jaroslav Pelikan

  2. IK commented by email:
    There's a good deal more to the history of the Catholic Church than the papacy and the Protestant split, which the first & last book on the list address, such as monasticism, the Crusades, medieval theology, the Inquisition, Reformation, French Revolution, the nineteenth century, and the Church in the United States.

    John Vidmar is a Dominican priest who was based at the Dominican House of Studies (a seminary) in Washington, D. C. when he was working on his book, the time when he taught me church history during my theological phase. He's a very good lecturer, and I would guess that much of his personality would come through in his writing. At the time he was noted for his late night mass at Catholic University, which featured very little singing and very short sermons; and students came in droves because they could get in and out fast and back to their studies or recreations.

    Some of the Amazon reviewers said the book was easy, accessible, and readable. The reviewers who did not like the book thought it was too defensive of various of the Church's errors.

    Vidmar is now at Providence College, and I could probably ask him about other books, since he is familiar with the literature on the subject.

  3. CK commented by email:
    Whose Bible is it? looks very interesting, and I'd like to read it. It is a history with a wide based interest for our group, I think. Perhaps we can consider it over the more limited book on the history of the Papacy.

    Many very positive reviews, though the last criticizes the grammar! How could everyone else like the book so much? Though I go with all the positive reviews.

  4. DR commented by email
    I like the reviews of the Vidmar book. 2 of the others are so short, I wonder how they can do enough justice to the subject. Thanks for looking for something on this subject.

  5. The Roger Williams book is by John M. Barry who wrote "The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History". The club read that book seven years ago and liked it very much.

  6. I am not voting in support of a book on "the Catholic religion", I am interested in reading a book on the history of the Catholic Church.