Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

A Concise History of the Medieval Church

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

A Concise History of the Medieval Church

Article excerpt

FRANK, ISNARD WILHELM. A Concise History of the Medieval Church. (New York: The Continuum Publishing Company. 1995. Pp. ix, 153. $18.95.)

This is a translation by John Bowden of the second edition of Frank's Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters (Dusseldorf: Patmos Verlag, 1990). As the English title indicates even better than the German, the author's purpose was to be succinct. Because the work is so brief, there is much that is touched on only very lightly or left out altogether. What it may lack in breadth of treatment, however, it makes up for in sharpness of focus.

The textbook focuses upon the relationship between secular and spiritual power and between temporal leaders and popes. As is evident even in the book's chapter titles (e.g., "The King's Church of the Early and High Middle Ages,"The Papal Church of the High Middle Ages"), this is history told from the top down. Topics include the Christianization of the Germanic tribes, the feudalization of the Church, the status of the king within the Church of the early and high Middle Ages, the Gregorian reform, the theory of the two swords, latemedieval conciliarism, and so forth. …

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