Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes

Eamon Duffy, Author Yale University Press $48 (336p) ISBN 978-0-300-07332-4
In this lavishly illustrated and elegantly written book, Duffy, a church historian and fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, traces the history of the papacy from its establishment in the first centuries of the common era to the present reign of Pope John Paul II. Duffy explores the development of the institution of the papacy in each succeeding generation. In his first chapter, Duffy confirms that the tradition of tracing the papacy's roots to the Apostle Peter can be found even in early Christian writers like Ignatius of Antioch, but he contends that the institution of the papacy had its true beginnings in the ""monarchic episcopate,"" or the rule of a single bishop in Rome, of the second century A.D. Duffy offers a portrait of an institution experiencing the pains of growth through the great schisms and reform movements of the Middle Ages as well as an institution growing so powerful and influential that it has ""outlived not merely the Roman and Byzantine empires, but those of medieval Germany, Spain, Britain, and the Third Reich of Hitler."" In showing both the good and evil that he believes have arisen from the institution of the papacy, Duffy provides a balanced history that will be useful to people of all faiths. (Nov.) FYI: Saints and Sinners features 165 color illustrations and 50 b&w illustrations. The book is the official publication of a six-part TV series of the same title that is scheduled to appear in 1998 on the History Channel.
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Religion
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-300-07799-5
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-300-11597-0
Paperback - 500 pages - 978-0-300-20612-8
Open Ebook - 500 pages - 978-0-300-20708-8
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