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A Short Bibliography of Materials on Latin Church Institutions

Jeffrey Fisher

This bibliography is intended as a cursory overview of generally important, accessible, and broad studies on the various institutions of the Latin Church in the Middle Ages. A similar bibliography of primary sources is on the way. Like ORB more generally, the material in this section will continue to be filled out, corrected, reorganized, and expanded as we proceed. My first priority at this stage was to provide a working bibliography covering the entire topic (or set of topics) which might be useful to an undergraduate or even a first year graduate student in beginning to find his or her way around the large and varied field of Medieval religious life, or looking for a place to begin a specific research topic without significant broader knowledge of the Middle Ages.


Atiya, Aziz. The Crusade. Historiography and Bibliography. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962.

Constable, Giles. Medieval Monasticism: A Select Bibliography. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1976. [Note that only about a fifth of the references are in English. Also, Constable here defines monasticism as the desire to leave the world, which is narrow in the sense that it therefore excludes the preaching orders, but broad in the sense that it includes hermits, recluses, etc..]

Davidson, Linda Kay and Maryjane Dunn-Wood. Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages: A Research Guide. New York: Garland, 1993.

General Church Histories

Brown, Peter. The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, AD 200-1000. London: Blackwell, 1996. [Broad social history of Christianity.]

Lynch, Joseph H. The Medieval Church: A Brief History. London: Longman, 1992. [From Ancient Christianity to Conciliarism.]

Oakley, Francis. The Western Church in the Later Middle Ages. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1979. [14th and 15th Centuries.]

Southern, Richard W. Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970. [Still a great general place to start for an overview of the period and the issues. Spends a good deal of his time on the development of the papacy and the religious orders.]


General Histories of Monasticism and Religious Orders

Brooke, Christopher. The Monastic World, 1000-1300. London:, 1974.

Coulton, G.G. Five Centuries of Religion. 4 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1929-1950. [1000-1500.]

Lawrence, C.H. Medieval Monasticism: Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages. 2nd Ed. London: Longman, 1989.

Specific Orders


Lawless, George, OSA. Augustine of Hippo and His Monastic Rule. Oxford: Clarendon, 1987.


Butler, Cuthbert. Benedictine Monachism: Studies in Benedictine Life and Rule. 2nd ed. London, 1924 (repr.1962).

Daly, Lowrie. Benedictine Monasticism: Its Formation and Development through the 12th Century. New York, 1965.

Knowles, David. The Benedictines. London, 1930.


Lekai, Louis J. The Cistercians. Ideal and Reality. Kent, OH, 1977.


Hinnebusch, William A., OP. The Dominicans. A Short History. New York: Alba House, 1975.


John R. H. Moorman. A History of the Franciscan Order from its Origins to the Year 1517. Oxford, 1968.

Military Orders

Regional Studies


Knowles, David. The Monastic Order in England. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963.


Bitel, Lisa. Isle of the Saints: Monastic Settlements and Christian Community in Early Ireland. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990.

Monastic Spirituality

Leclercq, Jean. The Love of Learning and the Desire for God. A Study of Monastic Culture. 2nd ed. New York: Fordham University Press, 1974.


Elm, Susanna. Virgins of God: The Making of Asceticism in Late Antiquity. Oxford: Clarendon, 1994.

Johnson, Penelope D. Equal in Monastic Profession: Religious Women in Medieval France. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991.

The Papacy

Barraclough, Geoffrey. The Medieval Papacy. New York, 1968.

Blumenthal, Uta-Renate. The Investiture Controversy. Church and Monarchy from the Ninth to the Eleventh Century. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988.

Mollat, G. The Popes at Avignon, 1305-1378. London: Thomas Nelson, 1963.

Morris, Colin. The Papal Monarchy: The Western Church from 1050-1250. Oxford: Clarendon, 1989.

Tierney, Brian. Foundations of Conciliar Theory. Cambridge, 1955.

Tierney, Brian. Origins of Papal Infallibility, 1150-1350. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1972.

Ullmann, Walter. The Growth of Papal Government in the Middle Ages. 3rd ed. Cambridge, 1970.

Ullmann, Walter. Medieval Papalism: The Political Theories of the Medieval Canonists. London, 1949.

Ullmann, Walter. The Origins of the Great Schism. London, 1948.

The Crusades

Riley-Smith, J. The Crusades: A Short History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.

Riley-Smith, J. The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986.

Runciman, Steven. A History of the Crusades. 3 vols. Cambridge, 1951-1954.

Saints and their Cults

Brown, Peter. The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

Geary, Patrick J. Living with the Dead in the Middle Ages. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994.


Danielou, Jean. The Bible and the Liturgy. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1956.

Jones, Cheslyn et al. The Study of Liturgy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980. [Collection of historically and thematically arranged essays.]

Klauser, Theodor. A Short History of the Western Liturgy. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Philosophy, Theology and Spirituality


Chenu, Marie-Dominique. Nature, Man and Society in the Twelfth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968.

Gilson, Etienne. History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages. London, 1955.

Haren, Michael. Medieval Thought: The Western Intellectual Tradition from Antiquity to the Thirteenth Century. 2nd ed. Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1992.

Knowles, David. The Evolution of Medieval Thought. 2nd ed. London: Longman, 1988.

Oberman, Heiko. The Harvest of Medieval Theology: Gabriel Biel and Late Medieval Nominalism. Rev. ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967.

Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine. Vols. 1-4. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971-1984.


Louth, Andrew. The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys. Oxford: Clarendon, 1981.

McGinn, Bernard. The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism. 2 vols. (4 projected). New York: Crossroad, 1991-.

McGinn, Bernard and John Meyendorff, edd. Christian Spirituality: Origins to the Twelfth Century. New York: Crossroad, 1986.

Lay/Popular Religiosity

Gurevich, Aron. Medieval Popular Culture: Problems of Belief and Perception. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Vauchez, Andre. The Laity in the Middle Ages: Religious Beliefs and Devotional Practices. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1993.

The Universities

Cobban, A. B. The Medieval Universities: Their Development and Organization. London, 1975.

Daly, Lowrie J. The Medieval University. New York, 1961.

Rashdall, Hastings. The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1936.

Copyright (C) 1996, Jeffrey Fisher. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents,including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.

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