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The Oxford Dictionary of Popes

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This biographical dictionary is an unrivalled source of information about the astonishing succession of churchmen who have loomed large on the world ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Oxford Dictionary of Popes

Overall customer rating: 5.000
DanZ

popes displayed

by DanZ on Oct 3, 2008

I ran into this book on the book table in a Unity Church. It is written by an Anglican Priest, Englishman. I am a Catholic, fairly well educatged. In college we learned about the traditional hostility against the Papacy by the Protestant world. I did not expect what I found. The material for the book was assembled over 35 years, filling file folders in a couple drawers of a file cabinet. Moreover, he traveled with Archbishop of Canterbury to the 2nd Vatican Council, and met popes personallhy. His history, chronologically organized, gives a sketch of the lives of all the popes, virtues, vices, warts and all. He includes those men who were not popes, but who some political sponsor, or his own efforts, made him a counterfeit pope. His presentation seems objective, accurate (as far as I can tell) and not at all polemic. One recurring scene paints some popes as virtuous, holy men, pastors of their people, but administratively inept. The other side of that coin are the popes who are administratively gifted, excellent political players, effective seclular rulers, but anything but virtuous. And after 2000+ years of these guys running things, or not running them, the Church is still there. Not a book to read straight through, but rather to be read like the Old Testament: a bit here, a bit there, looking for themes and connections. A great book beside the chair, beside the fireplace, in mid winter. Dan

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ghmus7

Unexpectedly Facinating

by ghmus7 on Dec 3, 2007

You woudn't expect a book like this to be facinating, but the history of the Holy See, with it's intrigues, political machinations, great Saints and sinners is more entertaining than a Harold Robbins novel. Each pope is included with a comprehensive biography. A great reference work and a fun book to read at random.

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