The Middle Ages were no darker than any other period in history—and much lighter than some. Monks and Mystics investigates both aspects of the centuries between 550 and 1500 AD, dealing with everything from the violent evangelism of Vladimir of Kiev and the Crusades to the Schism of 1054 to the writings of Anselm and the first stirrings of the Reformation from men like John Wyclif and John Hus. The Withrows make no attempt to whitewash the past, instead presenting the Church as it is—fallible men and women doing their best to carry on the name and work of Christ.
Readers will also learn about Islam, the origin and founding of the first European universities as sites for the preservation of knowledge and Christian doctrine, the Medieval Church councils, and the coming of the Renaissance. Special attention is paid to mystics like Francis and Catherine of Sienna, as well as to more prominent figures like Constantine and Charlemagne. The bibliography at the end of the book (a feature of each volume in the series) is thorough and helpful, especially for those wanting to investigate further. By turns harrowing and uplifting, Monks and Mystics is an excellent, even-handed account of the Church during the Middle Ages.
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