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Publisher's Summary

Hilaire Belloc examines the five most destructive heretical movements to have affected Christian civilization: Arianism, Mohammedanism (Islam), Albigensianism (Cathar), the Reformation (Protestant), and the modern phase. Belloc describes how these movements began, how they spread, and how they continued to influence the world up until the time of his writing (1936). The chapter on Islam is especially relevant today; in it Belloc accurately predicts the renewal of jihadist aggression towards western civilization.

©2015 Cavalier Books (P)2016 Cavalier Books

What listeners say about The Great Heresies

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Good Historical Analysis

The book contains excellent historical analysis, but I have never heard a work so badly performed. It sounded like the narrator had never met many of the words in the book before.

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  • Ricardo Aaron Karstensen
  • 2019-02-12

Great

Spot on, great and accurate in history, great narrator. I love the writer, the understanding of the catholic church being undermined for so long.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-12-28

Scholarly But Sobering Take in Church and History

A very impressive but at times confusing account of impact and importance of historical events. At one point I thought maybe author had bitten off more than could be chewed. But that more aptly goes to my ability to discern and fully comprehend all he covered in this sobering book.

I couldn't help but wonder or take issue in my own mind with the author's frequent use if the word catholic as seemingly the agreed upon universal ly accepted church authority. He does make passing reference to the Eastern Church (Orthodox) and the schism, even to say to be dealt with in some other time and place. But the use throughout is to deny or obscure the theological underpinnings of the division of the church into Roman catholic and Eastern orthodox. Up until that unfortunate event, it was One Holy and Apostolic Church. Later on the author gives a hint ad to why..."the ancient religion is now ignored". I take issue with that assertion.

This book has completely disturbed the notion of some sort of unification of the church in some grand reconciliation for the greater good and to challenge the anti-Christ. It probably is an unrealistic wish in the end anyway, and the manner in which the author describes the internicene battle between catholicism and protestantism seems it irreconcilable. I have never really held THAT pessimistic belief. I have chosen to think a civil historical debate done with humility could win the day at an ecumenical level to be explained and justified to the masses of the faithful Christian community and over time be accepted. The author has eliminated that possibility all together. He is probably correct.

I think this work can be summarized and simplified by the teaching of my parish priest, who has described the historical events covered in such detail by the author as follows: The history of Christianity can be likened to a pendulum. The excesses of the hierarchical church (Roman catholicism) swung the pendulum way past it's home base in one direction. That begat the challenged by Martin Luther (in large part indulgences). Luther simply wanted the Church to return to it's original doctrinal moorings (the center point of pendulum). Instead he was dismissed and excommunicated and the Protestant Reformation was birthed. That over- reaction to the excesses produced the solo scriptural doctrine of individualistic interpretation of the Bible and rejection of central authoritative religion via a hierarchy of priests and bishops ((Patriarchs and Pope in Rome). That was the pendulum swinging back thru the center equilibrium point to the other side, also an extreme.

I find it sad commentary that the division in the Body of Christ can not reconcile itself in a unification of sorts at some point in the future. The author would put such event, if at all possible, too little too late I would think.

I fully enjoyed listening to this audible book, even if much if it was a bit over my head and an intellectual matter.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-08-19

A must listen for any modern Catholic

Belloc is a brilliant historian. I had wanted to get his take on the major historical heresies along with his views on modernism which we are still living through. It was well worth the listen. He is a hopeful realist on the point of the Church offering two competing visions. He predicts today from 1939. The narration was solid as well, making it an easy listen.

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  • Peter J. Gruber
  • 2018-03-15

Could not hold my attention

An excellent book, but the reader could not hold my attention. He did not read with an understanding of the material. I lost a little bit of respect for the reader when he pronounced “beatitude” as “beautitude”.

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  • Claudia S.
  • 2017-07-29

Classic and timeless

This book describes with important facts and details the five main Christian heresies, a classic piece of Church history. It is timeless because even if it was written in 1930's, it still valid for our days.
I highly recommend those chapters that talk about Islam and Modernism.

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  • I. Clagett
  • 2017-03-31

An important angle at which to view western history

Mr. Belloc shows his mastery of history showing a much neglected view of history, that is to say, the catholic view. Without an understanding of this world view, one cannot pretend to understand the history of western thought.
Although fairly dated Belloc's assumptions stand the test of time and remain eerily prophetic.

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  • St. Joe's amigo
  • 2017-03-26

So prescient about now and clear about then

The last sections on modern circumstances is amazingly spot on for today despite the number of decades since its writing. The review of historical heresies iis excellent also.