Medieval Christianity: A New History by Kevin J. Madigan

When studying the Middle Ages, Christianity isn’t just so wound up with it as to be inseparable.  Christendom is the world view of the age for most of Europe and for others in different parts of the known world at the time.  Most overviews of this era will hopscotch around certain topics and tie it in to world events, and most histories of Christianity will simply come across as “history from the perspective of the Church.”  This book is a bit different, and it fills a niche.

This book’s focus is all about how Christianity spread and evolved during this time, and to that end it touches upon a little bit of everything.  Practitioners in secular life?  Check.  Monastic orders and life within those walls?  It’s in there.  How the faith interacted with other beliefs?  Yes.  Crusades?  Of course!  The movers and shakers that redefined the various sects are covered, as well as everything from scholastic preservation to inquisition.  There’s just enough of nearly every topic of discussion without venturing into the depths of true scholastic oblivion.  If you’re looking to go there, this book will certainly give you plenty of launching points to do so.  At the same time, what it does offer has plenty of depth that a person unfamiliar with this era could walk away with a considerable understanding.

As narrator for the audio, Pete Larkin has a perfect radio announcer voice and delivery.  He does stumble with pronunciation from time to time, but it’s not nearly often enough to derail the book.

4 stars

medieval-christianity

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