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An Introduction to Catholicism (Introduction to Religion) Paperback – February 16, 2009

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An Introduction to Catholicism (Introduction to Religion) + The Catholic Church Through the Ages: A History
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Product Details

  • Series: Introduction to Religion
  • Paperback: 295 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (February 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521608554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521608558
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #689,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'One of the foremost expositors of Catholicism, Lawrence Cunningham writes with a remarkable clarity and a comprehensive grasp of the Catholic tradition, its history and theology as well as its popular expressions. His book is a rich resource, full of useful information.' Professor Thomas P. Rausch, S. J., Loyola Marymount University

'It is the merit of Lawrence Cunningham's book that Roman Catholicism is portrayed as a multi-faceted phenomenon, offering the reader many perspectives in which to investigate the rich theological and historical character of the Catholic tradition. Cunningham's attention to both the broad outlines of Catholic belief and ritual and to the particularities of Catholic identity as culturally constructed through history, make this a valuable study for students interested in understanding Catholic Christianity. He takes the reader through the chapters at a gentle canter, exploring the ways that Roman Catholicism embodies religious faith today.' Professor Mark Bosco S. J., Loyola University Chicago

'In this text Professor Cunningham offers the mature insights of a lifetime's study and teaching. His book provides a balanced, perceptive, and trustworthy account of Catholicism that any intelligent reader can gain from. The breadth of sympathy and of sustained informed engagement is worthy of the subject matter, and the carefully selected short bibliographies at the end of each chapter offer further riches and illumination. This is a gem of a book by a fine scholar. He shares, compassionately, an open-eyed honest engagement with the historical complexity of Catholicism. It will remain a standard text for years to come.' Dr David Bernard McLoughlin, Newman University College, Birmingham

'Practically informative in a way that gives a genuine feel to the tradition(s), this book will not only expertly orientate undergraduates to the richness of that tradition(s), but the clarity and ease of its style is also certain to inform and be enjoyed by all literate enquirers.' Theology

'An Introduction to Catholicism is an authoritative, clear and useful guide that is written by an open and fair-minded adherent ... Overall, a highly recommended book.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History

Book Description

The beliefs and practices shared by one billion Catholics around the globe form the focus of this essential textbook. It guides the student through the complex, diverse world of 21st-century Catholicism, explaining doctrinal formulas, institutional structures and patterns of life and worship as evolving responses to historical and social contexts.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Caitlin on May 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for selfish reasons.

I have recently started dating an amazing boy. Only problem: He is Catholic. After 10 minutes of talking with him, I realized how LITTLE I understood about Catholicism. After all of the books I read for my classes in college, I still didn't even come close to understanding his religion.

I am not one to make judgments without at least attempting to understand things (which I mistakenly thought I did). So... off I went to attempt to understand Catholicism.

To reiterate: I know nothing about the practice and beliefs of religion (I am not religious at all). I have sorta read the bible once for a class (so you know I didn't internalize any of it) and I have a good understanding of the history/origin of Christianity.

That being said, this book was incredibly informative. It opened my eyes to WHY he felt the way he did on certain issues.

Well-written and easy reading (finished the book with annotations in 5 hours)
Good summaries every chapter
Amazing sources/further reading

This book was incredible easy to read and presented material in a concise and efficient manner (lots of bullets, etc). It had extensive further reading (AWESOME). Lots of direct quotes from letters/Catechism in regard to Catholic belief.

Mostly Partial
Lack of Citations

Overall, (except a couple places.. pretty easy to figure out where) it sought neither to condemn nor praise the Church's ideology or actions. I would have really liked to see his citations (Would NOT use as a textbook...
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By Jesus on January 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I am a Roman Catholic, and therefore I will be biased about the content of the book. However, I am also an academic in the fields of Anthropology and Religious Studies, and as such approached this book with skepticism and a very critical eye. After reading this book, therefore, I can honestly say...that I absolutely love it!

The author is a Roman Catholic, as well, but does an excellent job of giving full disclosure and keeping his description of Catholicism, its history, its beliefs & practices, etc. professional and unbiased. He does not shy away from the controversies, past and present, which have plagued the Church (though critics will likely say that he doesn't linger on these problems long enough - to which I would reply that this is not the aim of the book to begin with; this is an overview of a few thousand years of history, belief, and practice). The text is written for an undergraduate audience, meaning that the text is very comprehensible and approachable; it is also very engaging and enjoyable, to boot. Cunningham has managed to expertly achieve the very difficult task of writing an introductory text which is neither too shallow or broad in its description and subject matter, nor too bogged down in detail and academic theory. If you are a student of Religious Studies, history, Christianity, Catholicism, or merely interested in learning more about one of the largest and most influential institutions in the history of humankind, I would highly recommend this book!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yamilka Fradera on August 3, 2014
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