1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Popes and the Papacy: A History  By  cover art

Popes and the Papacy: A History

By: Thomas F. X. Noble,The Great Courses
Narrated by: Thomas F. X. Noble
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $34.95

Buy for $34.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses

What listeners say about Popes and the Papacy: A History

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    243
  • 4 Stars
    98
  • 3 Stars
    34
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    239
  • 4 Stars
    81
  • 3 Stars
    22
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    5
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    215
  • 4 Stars
    91
  • 3 Stars
    28
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Informative, yet apologetic, study of papacy

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.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Series

As always Dr. Noble presents an excellent series of lectures. In this series he covers a large period of history and navigates the interesting and sometimes convoluted world of the Papacy. He does it with his usual skill and humor. He is able to make difficult topics understandable for the average person. This series is highly recommended for anyone interested in one of the most important and interesting subjects in Western History.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator of this book is Unbelievable

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes

What was one of the most memorable moments of Popes and the Papacy: A History?

I think when he discussed the move to Avignon.

What about Professor Thomas F. X. Noble’s performance did you like?

His lecture skills are truly amazing. The way Dr. Noble was able to take a large amount of content and explain in a way that was educational, informative and very very interesting. I've listened and been at many lectures and he is easily the best I have ever heard.

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

I think the Henry VIII Fiasco with trying to legitimatize a male heir was very entertaining.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

More on the political history then the individuals

Any additional comments?

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.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Skips the Early Years; Lingers on the Recent

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I really was curious to learn about the early years of the church, but that didn't happen. Fortunately, I have a reference book "The Popes: Histories and Secrets"by Claudio Rendina. I had to read 250 pages of that book to supplement how this professor glossed over the first 1,000 years of this course. I wanted to know about priestly celibacy, non-existant role of women, etc. He covered the first millelium in a lecture and half; whereas he talked about the popes in my lifetime (68 years) in the last 5 lectures. Very disappointing.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Don't tell me what I already lived through.

What does Professor Thomas F. X. Noble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

As a professor from Notre Dame, I guess he has to speak glowingly about the recent popes and gloss over the early dissention and in-fighting.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No

Any additional comments?

Very disappointing; however, I'm sure devout Catholics would like it. This is not history; it's propaganda.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Engaging Professor - Easy listening

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. It offered a good history of the Papacy with an incredible amount of detail on many of the Popes. It also engaged the listener in areas of theology and church history.

Any additional comments?

A great presentation by an enthusiastic teacher. I was hoping for a neutral, scholarly perspective and was encouraged in the beginning when he raised the fact that there are questions of whether or not Peter was ever in Rome, let alone be its first bishop. But he seemed to become more and more of a "company man" as the teaching progressed. He kind of lost me when he tried to suggest that the Roman Catholic Church was not wealthy. He even suggested that the artwork was nothing the church would ever sell. I wanted to talk back to him and ask him one question: "What about all the real estate it owns around the world?" But don't let that deter you from listening to him. He does a great job even if his bias becomes very clear as time goes on in his teaching.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An excellent, non-apologetical overview

If you could sum up Popes and the Papacy: A History in three words, what would they be?

Fascinating, engaging, impressive

Who was your favorite character and why?

Innocent III, because he represented the zenith of the papacy's influence on faith, politics, and culture.

What does Professor Thomas F. X. Noble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A broad perspective that doesn't get bogged down in the too-fine details, but rather keeps an eye on the overall themes and trajectory of the papacy's influence and reaction to developing Western Civilization.

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

His even-handed description of the Second Vatican Council, which has had the most impact on the Catholic Church in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Any additional comments?

This was my first Great Courses presentation, and I will most certainly be going back for more!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Course

What did you love best about Popes and the Papacy: A History?

I found this an excellent survey of the papacy and helped in placing popes in their historical context

What about Professor Thomas F. X. Noble’s performance did you like?

He has an easy to listen to style.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Basically a reading of the Popes in order

I was really disappointed with how little real detail there was in this course. The lecturer essentially just lists off the Popes and says a few things about each.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Solid Summary

Just wish the lectures were able to go more into depth with older popes as well as an update to Benedict XVI's reign as well as Francis's. However the lecturer was well spoken and it was an enjoyable listen.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for HollyL
  • HollyL
  • 11-24-22

informative

The lecturer speaks very well, its an easy listen and a great overview of a complex religio political system and why it is what it is and the major themes and events and popes that contributed to how the system turned out.
I am already looking for other lectures in done by The Great Courses.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Paul M.
  • Paul M.
  • 10-23-22

Excellent

This is an excellent course. My only criticism is that if anything it is a little short! Given that it spans 2000 years and 265 incumbents, it understandably moves quite quickly.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kindle Customer
  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-26-22

Excellent series

Brilliant. Informative and so well presented.

Understandable and I learnt a lot about the Papacy that I did not know.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ian
  • Ian
  • 04-28-16

Is what it is

Would you listen to Popes and the Papacy: A History again? Why?

Yeah, but it was really clear the first time around

What about Professor Thomas F. X. Noble’s performance did you like?

He's really knowledgeable and enthusiastic. If he has ideological biases, it doesn't bleed through. He touches on controversies (some centuries old), but he presents both sides fairly.

Any additional comments?

It's a perfect intermediate level history of the papacy. Each unit could probably also use a lecture series, but that's no the point of this. He also ties the papacy into concurrent events very well.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Susan Dear
  • Susan Dear
  • 12-27-18

Absolutely loved it!!

I am so thankful that I discovered The Great courses on audible. Another amazing series on lectures about the Popes and the Papacy. As a non-Catholic I have always been fascinated with the history of the Roman Catholic Church and the way the papacy works. This starts from Peter all the way to Benedict XVI. I would definitely recommend it!

2 people found this helpful