Few periods of history are more maligned and misunderstood than the Middle Ages—three-hundred years of division, shifting centers of power, and tensions both within the Church and also between the Church and the secular rulers of the time.
In an engaging and easy-to-understand style, historian and author Steve Weidenkopf highlights some of our greatest saints—Francis, Dominic, Anselm, Aquinas, and Catherine of Siena—and dispels nine commonly accepted misconceptions about the era, which was an exciting period of enduring faith, reform, cultural achievement, as well as defeat and division.
With vibrant accounts of pivotal events and inspiring stories of the people who shaped the Church during the eleventh through fourteenth centuries, Steve Weidenkopf provides a clearer picture of an era where critics used events such as the Crusades and the relocation of the papacy to France to undermine the Church. The period also provided the hallmarks of Christian civilization—universities, cathedrals, castles, and various religious orders.
Weidenkopf also chronicles the development of Christian civilization in Europe and explores the contributions of St. Bruno, St. Anthony of Padua, and St. Bridget of Sweden.
In The Church and the Middle Ages, you will learn that:
- Most Crusaders were motivated by piety and service, not greed.
- Heresy was both a church and civil issue and medieval inquisitors were focused on the eternal salvation of the accused.
- The Church preached against the mistreatment of Jews.
- Priestly celibacy was practiced long before the twelfth century.
- Serfs were never kept as slaves.
Books in the Reclaiming Catholic History series, edited by Mike Aquilina and written by leading authors and historians, bring Church history to life, debunking the myths one era at a time.
Trim size: 6 x 9 inches
Imprint: Ave Maria Press
“An excellent and engaging primer on the High Middle Ages. “
“Steve Weidenkopf’s book is an excellent and engaging primer on the persons, events, and culture of the High Middle Ages. Catholics should take a lively interest in Weidenkopf’s work, as it affirms the intrinsic connection between the Catholic faith and the hallmarks of Western civilization that developed in the medieval period. I recommend it highly.”
Author of the Story of Civilization series
“Methodical, careful, and fair.”
“This book provides up-close introductions to many of the colorful and attractive personalities that dominate the period, while also methodically, carefully, and fairly examining and exposing the numerous myths that obscure our vision of the Medieval age.”
Professor of theology at Benedictine College
Author of Positively Medieval
“Engaging and comprehensive.”
“Knowing history is a crucial part of Catholic apologetics and this book is a superb place to start. Steve Weidenkopf debunks myths and dispenses illusions about one of the most misrepresented and misunderstood periods of history. Accompany Weidenkopf as he dives deep in this engaging and comprehensive presentation.”
Author of From Islam to Christ
“Steve Weidenkopf helps readers see the Church not only as culture-maker but also as troubled by foes inside and out, led by an array of saints and sinners, and with a fragile glory that can still inspire us if we understand it aright.”
David M. Wagner
Author of The Church and the Modern Era (1846-2005)