Too often modern evangelicals, especially since the middle of the 19th century, have tended to view the medieval church not so much as part of the great stream of the history of the church but as an exception. Evangelicals may know the Book of Acts and a little about the history of the Reformation but the medieval period tends to be ignored. That’s a mistake. It’s essential for evangelicals and confessional Protestants alike to know what happened after the patristic church and what set the stage for the Reformation. It’s an undiscovered country.
A scholar friend once said that, when he begins to study a new field, he begins with children’s literature. That’s a great idea and have I got a book for newcomers to the medieval church and for children, Simonetta Carr’s new book on Anselm of Canterbury (with beautiful illustrations by Matt Abraxas).
Part of the Christian Biographies for Young Readers Series (RHB), this volume is clear and well written. It tells the story well. Anselm was a rambunctious young man who became a monk, a scholar, and churchman. Judged against exploding cars on screen, that might not seem to be an outline for a terribly exciting story but that would be misleading. The years in which Anselm lived were very important for Western history and Anselm is one of the most important figures in the history of the Western church. His defense of God’s existence and his defense of the atonement are two of the most important arguments in the history of the church. He was also involved in controversies with Kings and Popes over the question of who has authority to invest church officers with their office. As a matter of theology, the Reformed doctrine (e.g., in the Heidelberg Catechism) of the atonement is heavily influenced by Anselm.
The volume is well printed on high quality paper.
It’s highly recommended.