Christianity is no stranger to the great books of the West and stands out among the great books as the inspiration for many of the foundational works of philosophy, literature, and science. Thus, there are a subset of great books in the West that aim to study Christianity itself. The Medieval period (~600 AD – 1500 AD) is perhaps the richest time period for Christian writings, as it was during this period that Christianity grew from a fledgling religion only recently tolerated by Roman rule into the most dominating power Europe has ever seen. The Christian rise in Europe is special in many ways, in that (perhaps for the first and only time) a religious power displaced tribes and nations in the hierarchy of power.
Though many might (perhaps mistakenly) call the early part of this period the “Dark Ages”, many illuminating writings emerged for the consumption of Christians or their curious acquaintances. Ranging from neck-deep philosophical treatises on theology to practical guides to prayer, the great books of Christianity of the Medieval period built on the foundations laid by early doctors of the Church. The Medieval writers then strove to dig deeper, look higher, and paint with more colorful strokes the Christian picture that, quite literally, would inspire the art and imagination of later Christian generations. Here are those Medieval works of Christian genius belonging to the “great books of Christianity”.