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The History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch

Narrated by: Molly Worthen
Length: 17 hrs and 49 mins
Categories: History, World
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

Non-member price: $61.45

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Publisher's Summary

When you think about Christian history, you might think of the first thousand years - the events of Jesus' life, the acts of the apostles, the establishment of the church, and the various councils that established theological doctrine. But the history of Christianity from the Reformation to the present is equally dramatic and profoundly relevant. It's a story about people as much as theology - our cultures, our politics, our relationship to the world.

The History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch picks up where The Great Courses' first history of Christianity left off: with the Protestant Reformation. Over 36 fascinating lectures, Professor Molly Worthen of the University of North Carolina traces the story of Christianity as it transformed from a relatively homogenous entity at the end of the Middle Ages through the diverse global religion of today.

While Professor Worthen gives you plenty of insight into theology, her primary focus is to place Christianity in its historical context. She personalizes history with stories of individual players and blends their narratives with larger trends give you the full history of momentous events, including the formation of myriad Protestant denominations, the Catholic Counter-Reformation, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, the Cold War, and the spread of Christianity to Latin America, China, and South Korea.

As you'll discover, Christianity has been at the center of momentous transformations around the globe and is now the largest religion in the world. Professor Worthen is a marvelous storyteller, and brings history to life through the stories of people across history - scientists and theologians, revolutionaries and social justice warriors, commentators and ordinary people living out the great drama of Christian history. From Martin Luther's 95 Theses to Latin American liberation theology, this is a magisterial course, and a must-have for students.

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

©2017 The Teaching Company, LLC; 2017 The Great Courses

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Profile Image for Cecilia Mills
  • Cecilia Mills
  • 31-03-2018

A history from someone who takes Christianity seriously

What I really liked about this was the absence of condescension towards believers: Worthen tells a very comprehensive story and never forgets that these experiences are extremely important and often life changing. Also the global orientation was very refreshing: Christianity is much more than American televangelists and the series provides excellent coverage of contemporary Christianity in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Catherine
  • Catherine
  • 12-12-2017

History of Christianity

An amazing overview of ~500 years of Christianity from a most articulate and concise professor. Never once was the awful "But we don't have time for...." uttered! This story is a global tale, woven together with insight, connecting very many strands of Christianity over time. I have learned very much but also that no church denomination, break-away group or national church is known mainly through the centuries for its unrelenting demonstration of love. There is more to do!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Hendrick Mcdonald
  • 24-04-2018

Christianity Around the World

A good review of Christianity around the world, in Latin America and the church support of dictators for their own gain, Africa and its fight against apartheid, Russia and China’s efforts to shut down religion, America and the Baptist revivals, and some on the reformation at the start.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Corrie
  • Corrie
  • 27-07-2018

Better than expected, & I had high expectatations!

I like "The Great Courses" (usually) and have bought several of them in the past. Some are fantastic, and some are just good. Once or twice, I didn't enjoy what I got, but it was never due to quality. It was usually more because I had anticipated the content to be something different to what I got.

This particular course though, was a really great surprise. It far surpassed all my expectations and hopes.

I had previously gotten the one on the history of the Catholic church (different instructor, but still "The Great Courses"), and that one was really fantastic too, but I'd never been interested in all the history from the reformation onward. I was just disinterested and thought it was more or less a boring period of development.

But wow, was I wrong! This course and its subject matter was INCREDIBLY interesting, well worth at least another two listens, and the instructor Molly Worthen was an outstanding teacher, reader, writer.... everything.

Highly, highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chuan
  • 24-04-2018

Good overview of the history of Christianity

A good account of the progress of history of Christianity till today. A bit more about China would be good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Tommy D'Angelo
  • Tommy D'Angelo
  • 06-11-2019

Fell Short

Loved the concept of this course and thought for the most part the professor did a good job of splitting up and organizing the lectures. But I just don't think she was effective in making this course enjoyable. Unfortunately, too many times I found myself zoning out. Professor Worthern was unable to capture my attention and retain it.

I understand politics and religion have been intertwined throughout history but most of the course seemed to be one long diatribe on politics, economics, and ideologies in different regions of the world and not enough Christianity itself. I know this wasn't a course on theology but it also felt like we missed out on a lot of it.

There were shining spots: lectures 10 (Eastern Orthodoxy), 18 (The Mormons), 24 (Apocalyptic Faith), 25-26 (Russian Revolution and the Cold War), and 33 (Prophetic Religion in Africa) were great listens. If your interests lie in those topics then I recommend this course. Outside of that I have a hard time thinking this was a worthwhile 18 hours to invest. If you are interested in the events of the Reformation and wars of religion of the 16th century, I found "The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations" to be a much better course (even though I am in the minority). These are certainly topics Professor Worthen did not do justice in my estimation.

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  • Mak Kubeisy
  • 14-10-2019

The best lecture series I’ve heard

Truly wonderful in every way. Essential for understanding the context and evolution of our modern world.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-09-2019

Awesome overview!

This was an awesome overview. Thanks for providing this material. I look forward to listening to more of your lectures.

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Profile Image for Bror Erickson
  • Bror Erickson
  • 07-08-2019

Great History

Molly Worthen does just a phenomenal job with this course. We may be in a post Constantinian society, we may not be yet. As Dr. Worthen shows the history of Christianity is one that defies odds time and again. Still, understanding Christian history is necessary to understand cultural and national history in the United States. It is necessary for us as Christians to understand where we are and how we have gotten here as Christians. A study like this also does wonders to see how the church has navigated these waters in the path.
Worthen understands the history. Starting with proto-reformers such as Savonarola, to Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, the English reformation and the Boxer rebellion, she covers not only the history of Christianity in the west but also the orient and southern hemisphere. She discusses the trends of liberal protestantism, and conservative Catholicism bringing just absolutely incredible insight to the history of the faith in every turn. I cannot recommend this series of lectures enough.

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Profile Image for Adam Gadomski
  • Adam Gadomski
  • 23-08-2018

Inaccurate

When you make constant minor mistakes on the particulars of history (one example of many: Henry VIII wanting a divorce rather than an annulment), it's hard to trust the rest of what you have to say.

3 of 13 people found this review helpful