A History of the Church in the Middle Ages

By Powell, James M. | The Catholic Historical Review, July 2006 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

A History of the Church in the Middle Ages


Powell, James M., The Catholic Historical Review


A History of the Church in the Middle Ages. By F. Donald Logan. (London and New York: Routledge. 2002. Pp. xiv, 368. $22.95 paperback.)

The success of The Da Vinci Code has a special meaning for historians of Christianity. It points to the importance of history, even in mythological and legendary form, to satisfy the fundamental relationship between story and human understanding. What is perhaps most interesting is that considerable effort is being devoted to serious discussion of this most recent resurrection of conspiracy theory. Still, we can take some consolation that this period has witnessed a modest increase in courses devoted to church history and in the number of general works on the topic. Also, the field has been undergoing a quiet revolution, from an exclusive emphasis on ecclesiastical governance and doctrinal disputes to an interest in the Church as it touched the lives of people. F. Donald Logan's work reflects this trend.

I have often thought that the best church history is found in the "Acts of the Apostles" and the Epistles and that this should serve as a model for modern historians. It is a delight to see scholars moving in that direction. Of course, Logan gives ample space to topics like the conversion of Constantine, Justinian, Pope Gregory the Great, the Carolingians, the papacy, and the Great Schism, but he also has sections on popular devotion, Peter Abelard, universities, and a whole chapter on death and purgatory. But it is in the tone of his work that we find his effective use of narrative and his eye for illustrative detail and apt quotations. It seems important to learn that Pope Alexander VI was knowledgeable about Greenland and was aware that the Christians there tried to preserve their faith even though they had had no bishop or priest for eighty years. A similar story in more modern times is told about the Japanese Christians who survived a long period of isolation. When we tell the story of the Church, these episodes deserve serious examination. It is one of the strengths of Logan's book that he works to capture the flavor of a topic as well as the facts. For him, the relationship between Abelard and Heloise is very human. He contrasts the passionate tone of Heloise's letters with Abelard's reply.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

A History of the Church in the Middle Ages
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?