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Publisher's Summary

Meet some of Christianity's luminary figures - the followers of Jesus who have practiced and preached their beliefs for centuries. Whether well known or obscure or even nameless, their actions and achievements, their abilities and energies have changed the course of history and the nature of belief.

These 24 inspirational lectures will inspire you by the many ways these figures found to live lives of faith. You'll stand spellbound in the crowd, listening to Bernardino and Augustine preach and teach. You'll visit the solitary cells and see the visions of Bernard, Clare, and Catherine. You'll witness the negotiations as Gregory VII and Leo IX reform the church. And you'll hear the verdicts of heresy against John Hus and against Martin Luther.

More than doctrine or theology or even prayer, Christianity, for many, is the daily effort to live one's faith in every time and place. Professor Cook introduces you to those who have done so over the centuries and shows the many paths they found.

If you seek your own path, their lives will inspire you. You will understand how Christians' faith has changed Christianity, and how these believers can help light your own way. And if you are wondering what Christians value and how they practice those values, you will see real lives that exemplify Christian faith in action.

Christianity didn't just change believers; it defined all of Europe, eastern as well as western, and set many of the world's nations on a course still apparent today.

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

©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses

What listeners say about The Lives of Great Christians

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Cherish able information

So nice to listen to a dedicated historian and lover. I thank you for enriching my life and challenging me.

3 people found this helpful

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The Last Word Is Love

This is the best book ever, to learn about Great Christians over centuries from different parts of the globe from Protestants to Catholics to Orthodox. I could listen to this teacher ALL DAY, William Cook. He puts his lectures into words you not only HEAR but also FEEL. And by my reckoning, that's the ONLY way to teach. You'll LOVE this Book. !

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Analyzed the Question: What Makes a Good Christian

Helps you think about what does being a good Christian really mean. Very thoughtful course.

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Great listen, very informative

Once again, professor cook is super informative without being boring. The lectures and engaging and easy to follow and I really enjoyed the great sampling of notable Christians he provided from across the last 2000 years.

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Well written and delivered

I have a broad interest in different spiritual traditions Andi found this course delightful. He brought out the human story of each person, with just enough historical and theoretical context to give me a feeling of getting oriented to who they were. I'd love for him to do another round and pick a dozen more Christians to discuss! More women, for example, and St Columba and Celtic saints...

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Superb

In all respects, historical, contextual, rich for contemplation and prayer as well as for academic curiosity and pursuit.

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Wonderful brief biographies; excellent like all of professor Cook’s courses

Enjoyed the detail and perspective of Professor Cook’s lessons. The flow and information contained in the course was enjoyable and contained insights that you may not typically get in 30 minute lectures on these great Christians.

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Love your work, but

It is my understanding that St. Irenaeus identified the author of the fourth Gospel as St. John the Apostle. He does so based on the instruction of his teacher, St. Polycarp, who himself was a disciple of St. John. 

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Good course. Wish it was deeper.

Good content and presentation. Necessarily a little bit of a fly by. Would recommend the course.

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Truly outstanding!

This series is outstanding amongst the Great Courses and finds the perfect balance between comprehensiveness (breadth) and detail (depth). Moreover, it is delivered with a passion and sincerity that greatly enhances its impact.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-16-18

A tour de force. Highly recommended

One of the few Great Courses lectures I keep coming back to again and again. And I am inspired every time.

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  • R. Kendall
  • 08-15-17

Interesting, informative and inspiring

I much enjoyed this sweep through the history of Christianity, learning about the lives of many great Christians; some familiar and others less so. For me it has served as a good starting point to explore further.

The content is interesting from a historical point of view, but also it is personally inspiring.

Through the lives and stories of those people considered, the course also served as a good introduction to the Christian faith. I would recommend it to anyone.

I was not a fan of the canned applause and fanfare music that began and ended each lecture, but it didn't stop me enjoying the content.

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  • Maincaur
  • 04-04-15

Very interesting selection

It has been illuminating to follow the sequence of people and groups in space and time. Well threaded together often compelling accounts of lives and teachings. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-16-20

Great Overview

Great overview of Christianity & historical figures.
I Like the selective characters chosen and ideas presented. Not a theology course but reviews on historical people that walked their faith and understanding of God. A great course for any seeker of truth & godliness.

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  • Dudley
  • 06-28-18

A fantastic account

I only wish I had Prof Cook as my teacher. He is the most wonderful, decent, gentle, exciting teacher. He even sings!

This is a wonderful account. Get it and listen.