The papacy, not withstanding its controversies, is arguably the most influential, enduring, and important institution in the history of Christianity. In this book, Roger Collins, a scholar and author, brings to life each of the popes throughout history. Readers will take away a better understanding and appreciation for this often misunderstood institution.
One of the most enduring and influential of all human institutions, the Papacy has also been among the most controversial. From the founding of the Christian Church in the first century AD to the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe in the late twentieth century, the Popes have been central players in the history of Europe. In Keepers of the Keys of Heaven, eminent medieval and religious scholar Roger Collins presents the entire, grand arc of papal history in an objective, accessible single volume. From the separation of the Greek and Latin churches to the contemporary controversies that threaten the unity of the many-million-strong Catholic Church, Collins shows how no one seeking to make sense of the modern world can neglect the vital role of the popes.
Roger Collins is an Honorary Fellow at Edinburgh University. He has published widely on medieval Europe and is on the advisory board of The Journal of International History. His books include Early Medieval Spain¸ The Basques, The Arab Conquest of Spain, Early Medieval Europe, and Charlemagne. He lives in Edinburgh.
Alexander McCall Smith
Keepers of the Keys of Heaven is an immensely readable treatment of one of the world’s most important institutions. Few historians write as engagingly and wittily as Roger Collins. There is not a dull word in this spectacular triumph of accessible scholarship.”
Drawing on Vatican archives, accounts from papal ambassadors, spies and historians, the character and policies of the popes, from the obscure to the celebrated, are explained. Collins also addresses the crisis of the Reformation and current debates on the future of the Church, and presents an objective, revealing account of the impact and growth of the pope’s power.”
The book is a good read; its prose is vigorous and limpid. [Collins] has a good eye for some types of narrative detail, such as delightful factoids of papal history, the ins and outs of papal elections and the maneuverings of cardinals.”
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