The Church of the Classical Age: The Era of Great Splintering, Volume 1


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By Henri Daniel-Rops

The Church of the Classical Age: The Era of Great Splintering is the seventh installment in Henri Daniel-Rops’ magnificent History of the Church of Christ. This vol­ume surveys the eighteenth century’s intellectual revolution, wrought by Galileo, Descartes, and Rousseau (among others); appraises the Church’s missionary efforts—in Asia, with the Chinese rites controversy and the spirited work of de Nobili and de Britto in India; in Canada, with the heroic endeavors of Sts. Isaac Jogues and John de Brébeuf; in the New World and Africa, where clashing cultures and tumultuous race relations deepened the difficulty of evangelization; and in Russia, where the Jesuits labored to re-establish fraternity with the Orthodox Church; and, lastly, opens a candid examination of the “churches outside the Church,” beginning with the proliferation of European Protestant sects and the emergence of new groups like the Quakers and the Pietists.

Bearing within it a secret wound, the neo-classical order could not hope for ever to resist the forces that were about to attack. The exaltation of man without reference to God was destined to result in man’s claim to be independent of God. (Henri Daniel-Rops)

The eighteenth century saw the Church—and, indeed, the world—stand as upon the knife’s edge; “stray but a little” and they would fail. With Daniel-Rops’ typical talent for engaging historical narrative, The Church of the Classical Age: The Era of Great Splintering chronicles the steps (and mis-steps) that brought the Church into the harsh light of the scaffold and reveals the grace which empowered her to “preserve her loyalties intact.”


Henri Daniel-Rops (1901–1965), the nom de plume of Henri Petiot, was a French Catholic historian. His bibliography comprises seventy books—written over a span of just thirty years—and includes Sacred History, Jesus and His Times, and the monumental, ten-volume History of the Church of Christ. He also served as editor for the Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism, which consisted of one hundred and fifty volumes. Phenomenally successful in his own time, Daniel-Rops made religious history accessible and popular; in 1955, he was elected to the Académie française and in 1956 he received the Order of St. Gregory from Pope Pius XII.

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Paperback: 244pp.

ISBN: 978-1685952860