We have extensive holdings of church history throughout the majority of our collections, but we also have a collection specifically devoted to ecclesiastical history, concentrating on the history of the Papacy. Particular strengths of the collection relating to the medieval Church include: an extensive run of J. P. Migne’s Patrologia Latina (several volumes of the Patrologia Graeca can be found in the library’s Byzantine collection); an extensive collection of published papal letters from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; published sources of medieval canon law; and numerous works on the religious orders.
More recent centuries of ecclesiastical history are not neglected either. As well as primary sources of the early modern and modern histories of religious orders including a sizeable sub-collection on the Jesuits, we have various published sources from the modern ecumenical councils, such as the Council of Trent and Vatican II, in addition to individual works and published interviews from the papacies of John Paul II and Francis.
Highlights from the Collections
Bibliographical, Archival Resources and Historiography
- Patrologiae cursus completus (Patrologia Latina)
- Summa theologica of Thomas Aquinas
- S. Anselmi cantuariensis archiepiscopi opera omnia
- Institutes of the Christian Religion by Jean Calvin
The Papacy and Canon Law
- Acta e registres Vaticanis
- Les registres de Boniface VIII
- Non mi sono mai sentito solo : gli ultimi discorsi di Benedetto XVI
- The Second Vatican Council diaries of Met. Maxim Hermaniuk C.SS.R. (1960-1965)
- Sacrorum conciliorum : nova et amplissima collectio
- Initia canonum : A primaevis collectionibus usque ad Decretum Gratiani
- Monumenta iuris canonici
Monasticism and the Religious Orders
Other Aspects of Religious Life
This section of the collection covers a broad variety of subjects including the sacraments, pilgrimage, heresy, witchcraft and magic and histories of other religions.
- Sources of the modern Roman liturgy
- Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages : a reader
- Ebrei, saraceni, cristiani : vita sociale e vita religiosa dai registri della Penitenzieria apostolica
Heresy and the Inquisition
- The crusade against the heretics in Bohemia, 1418-1437 : sources and documents for the Hussite crusades
- Heresy and the persecuting society in the Middle Ages : essays on the work of R.I. Moore
- Inquisition in the fourteenth century : the manuals of Bernard Gui and Nicholas Eymerich
- Late medieval heresy : new perspectives : studies in honour of Robert E. Lerner
- Quaestiones, polemica, epistulae
- Summa contra hereticos
- Tractatus contra articulos Hussitarum
There is a significant body of sources in all our national collections devoted to the religious history of each area. Therefore a great deal of material on the Reformation can be found in our British, German, French and Swiss collections, for example, while sources on Christian missionaries can be found in the library’s large Colonial collection. European Jewish history has its own collection in the institute and works on the Greek Orthodox Church are in the Byzantine collection.
Other Relevant Libraries and Institutions
Most university libraries will have sizeable holding on church history. Those of particular relevance in London however include:
- Heythrop Library Collection at Senate House Library (theology and the philosophy of religion).
- The Institute of Classical Studies Library (the Institute holds a sizeable collection of material on the early Church).
- The Warburg Institute Library (among other areas the library collects both primary and secondary works on European theology concentrating on the medieval and early modern periods).
Contact us if you would like help on finding or using our collections, or if you have any comments or suggestions about the content of this guide. We are happy to help.
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