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Publisher's Summary

Meet some of Christianity's luminary figures - the followers of Jesus who have practiced and preached their beliefs for centuries. Whether well known or obscure or even nameless, their actions and achievements, their abilities and energies have changed the course of history and the nature of belief.

These 24 inspirational lectures will inspire you by the many ways these figures found to live lives of faith. You'll stand spellbound in the crowd, listening to Bernardino and Augustine preach and teach. You'll visit the solitary cells and see the visions of Bernard, Clare, and Catherine. You'll witness the negotiations as Gregory VII and Leo IX reform the church. And you'll hear the verdicts of heresy against John Hus and against Martin Luther.

More than doctrine or theology or even prayer, Christianity, for many, is the daily effort to live one's faith in every time and place. Professor Cook introduces you to those who have done so over the centuries and shows the many paths they found.

If you seek your own path, their lives will inspire you. You will understand how Christians' faith has changed Christianity, and how these believers can help light your own way. And if you are wondering what Christians value and how they practice those values, you will see real lives that exemplify Christian faith in action.

Christianity didn't just change believers; it defined all of Europe, eastern as well as western, and set many of the world's nations on a course still apparent today.

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

©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses

What listeners say about The Lives of Great Christians

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Great Overview

Great overview of Christianity & historical figures. I Like the selective characters chosen and ideas presented. Not a theology course but reviews on historical people that walked their faith and understanding of God. A great course for any seeker of truth & godliness.

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A fantastic account

I only wish I had Prof Cook as my teacher. He is the most wonderful, decent, gentle, exciting teacher. He even sings! This is a wonderful account. Get it and listen.

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  • Pamela Rafdal
  • 06-01-2015

Cherish able information

So nice to listen to a dedicated historian and lover. I thank you for enriching my life and challenging me.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Christy Continued
  • 26-01-2018

The Last Word Is Love

This is the best book ever, to learn about Great Christians over centuries from different parts of the globe from Protestants to Catholics to Orthodox. I could listen to this teacher ALL DAY, William Cook. He puts his lectures into words you not only HEAR but also FEEL. And by my reckoning, that's the ONLY way to teach. You'll LOVE this Book. !

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  • Margaret A. Field
  • 18-11-2017

Analyzed the Question: What Makes a Good Christian

Helps you think about what does being a good Christian really mean. Very thoughtful course.

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  • Bort
  • 25-08-2017

Great listen, very informative

Once again, professor cook is super informative without being boring. The lectures and engaging and easy to follow and I really enjoyed the great sampling of notable Christians he provided from across the last 2000 years.

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  • Alexander Muir
  • 27-10-2016

Well written and delivered

I have a broad interest in different spiritual traditions Andi found this course delightful. He brought out the human story of each person, with just enough historical and theoretical context to give me a feeling of getting oriented to who they were. I'd love for him to do another round and pick a dozen more Christians to discuss! More women, for example, and St Columba and Celtic saints...

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  • Patrick
  • 02-09-2016

Superb

In all respects, historical, contextual, rich for contemplation and prayer as well as for academic curiosity and pursuit.

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  • Edward Sibley
  • 30-08-2020

Love your work, but

It is my understanding that St. Irenaeus identified the author of the fourth Gospel as St. John the Apostle. He does so based on the instruction of his teacher, St. Polycarp, who himself was a disciple of St. John. 

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  • Rubylev
  • 29-03-2019

Good course. Wish it was deeper.

Good content and presentation. Necessarily a little bit of a fly by. Would recommend the course.

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  • Rev. David B. Smith
  • 23-04-2017

Truly outstanding!

This series is outstanding amongst the Great Courses and finds the perfect balance between comprehensiveness (breadth) and detail (depth). Moreover, it is delivered with a passion and sincerity that greatly enhances its impact.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 16-01-2017

Excellent Background Info

What did you love best about The Lives of Great Christians?

Well researched, well presented, good, solid character presentations, good selection of people on whom to present the topic, very good development of some important, though less well known individuals in Church history, good explanations of the contributions and impact of each individual, very little fluff, and an enthusiastic presentation, as always, by Professor W. R. Cook.

Who was your favorite character and why?

This topic does not, and need not elicit favorites. The importance rests on the well-rounded presentation of all characters as parts of the whole picture.

Which scene was your favorite?

As with characters, so with scenes. These questions may apply to novels, not to history courses.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

N/A. Please do not ask the same questions about novels and about history courses.

Any additional comments?

Prof. W. R. Cook's entries in the Great Courses series almost never fail to achieve perfection.

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