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Medieval Church History

This guide identifies resources for the study of medieval church history found in Pius XII Memorial Library. The guide is intended for use by both beginning or advanced graduate students and faculty.


                            Medieval Church History

This guide identifies resources for the study of medieval church history found in Pius XII Memorial Library. The guide is intended for use by both beginning or advanced graduate students and faculty. It includes both English language and foreign language titles and includes general resources in Medieval Studies to supplement traditional theologically and ecclesiastically oriented sources. The annotations are intended to provide basic information or to supplement information found in the printed sources listed under RESEARCH GUIDES/BIBLIOGRAPHIES. To facilitate access to the information in these printed sources, cross references, including page andor entry numbers have been included in many of the annotations.


Bradley, James E. and Richard A. Muller. Church History: An Introduction to Research Methods and Resources. 2nd ed.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016.
     Ref. BR138.B69 2016
See pp. 100-102 for a discussion of primary sources and pp. 209-226 for an (occasionally) annotated bibliography of reference titles many of which are not listed in this web guide.

Johnston, William M. Recent Reference Books in Religion: A Guide for Students, Scholars, Researchers, Buyers, & Readers. 2nd ed. Chicago and London: Fitzroy-Dearborn Publishers, 1998.
     Ref. BL48 .J654 1998
When you get past the trendy essay on "The Postmodern Revolution in Reference Books" and the problematic "Phenomenology of Types" of reference tools (the author tries to establish twenty-two distinct types of reference tools), there is actually some quite useful information for both beginners and advanced scholars in this book. Includes discussion of scope, strengths, weaknesses and competitors of each reference tool covered. Often quite opinionated and all the more enjoyable (though not necessarily more reliable) for that. Reference tools pertaining to different "Periods of Church History" are covered on pp. 172ff.; the "Medieval Church (313-1400)" is covered on pp. 185ff.


McCabe, James Patrick. Critical Guide to Catholic Reference Books. 3rd ed. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1989. 

     Ref. BX1751.2.M3 1989

See the section on medieval church history on pp. 219-223. The sections on "The Lives of the Saints" (pp. 49-56), "The Papacy" (pp. 230-238), "Councils" (238-243) and "Religious Orders" (pp. 243-260) also contain potentially relevant material.

Medieval Studies

Berlioz, Jacques et al. L'atelier du medieviste: identifier sources et citations. Brepols, 1994.
     CB351.I32 1994
Intended to provide assistance in identifying various aspects of medieval source documents; there are chapters inter alia on the Latin Bible and glossa, Latin and Greek translations from Arabic and Hebrew, liturgical citations, canon law, conciliar and synodal decisions, lives of saints and hagiographical motifs, sermons, exempla, and iconographic sources. Contains much useful information including basic introductory material and both primary and secondary bibliography. The following list of sections from the first chapter ("La Bible latine et les gloses") will give an idea of the type of material presented. 1. Essential bibliography, including works of introduction and the principle instruments of research. 2. Historical outline of the Latin Bible including fundamental bibliography, a sketch of the major stages, important editions and databases. 3. How to locate a citation from the Latin Bible including lists of concordances for the primary sources (i.e. Vulgate, vetus latina, Septuagint) and how to access information on intermediate sources (church fathers, liturgical or encyclopedic sources, alternate readings in medieval sources). 4. Glossa including a sketch of the history of glossing the biblical text, editions of the Glossa and bibliography.


Boyce, Gray Cowan, comp. and ed. Literature of Medieval History 1930-1975: A Supplement to Louis John Paetow's A Guide to the Study of Medieval History. 5 vols. Millwood, NY: Kraus International Publications. 
     D117 .B69 1980 Suppl.
Supplements (but does not replace) Paetow's Guide (see below) with more emphasis given to the needs of advanced students and scholars. Organized similarly to Paetow.


Caenegem. R. C. van. Introduction aux Sources de l'Histoire Medievale. Turnholti: Brepols, 1997. 
     Pius Vatican Ref. D117 .C2214 1997

Translation and update of Guide to the Sources of Medieval History (available at Vat. Film Ref. D117 .C2213 1978). Five sections: "Typology of the Sources of Medieval History," "Libraries and Archives," "Great Collections and Repertories of Sources," "Reference Works for the Study of Medieval Texts," and "Bibliographical Introduction to the Auxiliary Science of History," (e.g. diplomatic, paleography, numismatics, etc.)


Chevalier, U. Repertoire des sources historiques du moyen age: bio-bibliographie. 2nd ed. 2 vols. Paris: Alphonse Picard et Fils, 1905-07.

_____. Repertoire des sources historiques du moyen age: topo-bibliographie. 2 vols. Paris, 1894-1903.

The two Chevalier guides provide bibliography for persons and for places and things (listed alphabetically) respectively. "They are invaluable guides...but are difficult to use because no attempt has been made to weed out worthless material. Good and bad, old and new, accounts are jumbled together in long alphabetical lists." (Paetow). Useful for older biblography and for that especially obscure name or place.


Classen, Albrecht, ed.  Handbook of Medieval Studies: Terms, Methods. Trends. 3 vols.  online Berlin; New York: De Gruyter, 2010.

Includes sections on "Main Topics and Debates of the Last Decades and their Terminology and Results" (e.g. "Biblical Exegesis," "Eschatology," "Popes and Papacy," "Theology (Christian"); "important Terms in Today's Medieval Studies" (e.g. "Prosopography (Christian"); "Textual Genres in the Middle Ages" (e.g. "Bibles," "Books of Hours," "Gospel Harmonies," "Hagiographical Texts," "Papal Bulls," "Penitentials and Confessionals," "Prayer Books," "Sermons"); "Key Figures in Medieval Studies ca. 1650-1950 (e.g. "Chenu, Marie-Dominique," :Lubac, Henri de")

Crosby, Everett U., C. Julian Bishko and Robert L. Kellog. Medieval Studies: A Bibliographical Guide. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1983.
     CB351.C76 1983

Topically arranged (see the detailed table of contents) listing of about 9,000 reference books and monographs. Most entries have brief (one or two sentences) annotations. Intended to cover the "major collections of sources and the secondary literature considered to be of basic importance for the history and the culture of the western European Middle Ages, Byzantium, and medieval Islamic civilization." (Introduction)


Gullath, Brigitte and Frank Heidtmann. Wie Finde Ich Altertumswissenschaftliche Literature: Klassische Philologie, Mittel- und Neulatein, Byzantinistik, Alte Geschichte und Klassische Archaeologie. Berlin: Verlag Arno Spitz GmbH, 1992.    
     Ref. PA91.G85 1992

Primarily a guide for classical studies, listed here because of relevant sections on "Mittel- und Neulateinische Philologie," covering the period 500-1500 and "Byzantinistik und Neugriechische Philologie."


Paetow, Louis John. A Guide to the Study of Medieval History. revised and corrected edition. Millwood, NY: Kraus Reprint, 1980.
     D117.P284 1980

The classic guide to medieval studies (originally appeared in 1917), still useful but must be supplemented by more recent guides. Classified arrangement; each topic begins with a list of major themes, events, etc. followed by recommended background reading, more detailed accounts, original sources, maps, etc., followed by more extensive bibliography.


Potthast, August. Bibliotheca Historica Medii Aevi: Wegwiser durch die Geschichtswerke des europaeischen Mittelalters bis 1500. 2 vols. 2nd ed. Berlin: W. Weber, 1896.
     Ref. Z6203.P87

"A stupendous undertaking devoted to the classification of the primary sources of medieval history" (Paetow, p. 7). "The standard reference guide to medieval sources." (Crosby et al). The first of two parts lists printed collections of medieval sources both for Europe in general and for individual countries. The second part lists alphabetically medieval authors and their works including lists of manuscripts, editions, translations and secondary sources (books and articles). Though now somewhat obsolete, still useful for access to nineteenth century scholarship and for those authors or titles not yet covered by the Reportium Fontium Historiae Medii Aevi (see next title).


Repertorium Fontium Historiae Medii Aevi: primum ab Augusto Potthast digestum, nunc cura collegii historicorum e pluribus nationibus emendatum et auctum. Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 1962- (in progress).
     Ref. Z6203.R4

Intended to replace Potthast's Bibliotheca Historica Medii Aevi; the latest fascicle published extends coverage through the letters O. The first volume is a much expanded version of Part I of Potthast, including many printed sources either not mentioned by Potthast or which have only appeared since. The remaining volumes list medieval writings alphabetically by author (or title if the author is unknown) with references to manuscripts, editions, translations, facsimilies and secondary literature. Covers a wider scope of literature than Potthast (who focused on strictly historical sources) by including works of theology, philosophy, law, economics, art and literature. A supplemental volume adds to the list of printed sources in volume 1. See also Berlioz et al, L'Atelier du Medieviste 1, p. 34.