Quick call for book suggestions:
A protestant co-worker of mine has "gotten into" medieval history, however he's got a major blind spot in regards to medieval religion, probably as a result of reading only stuff written by other evangelicals. What he seems to have gleaned from what he's read is: "People still had a very undeveloped idea of God in the middle-ages, probably because they couldn't read the Bible and their services were all in Latin, which they didn't understand. So they saw God as an angry, vengeful God and thought they had to buy him off by giving money and land to the Church. Around the year 1000, people were all giving all their possessions to the Church because they thought the world was going to end, and when it didn't, they realized that the Church owned half of Europe but there was nothing they could do about it till the Reformation."
Needless to say, lots of work to do here. (I should clarify, he's a nice guy, and not anti-Catholic, he's just been doing some bad reading.)
I'm wondering if anyone knows a fairly basic (something like History of Christendom would be too long and too detailed -- under 500 pages would be great) book about Christianity in the middle ages hopefully covering fairly: the major (new and old) religious orders, major theological/spiritual trends, popular piety movements, major heresies, and hopefully also a bit on the medieval Christian experience at different levels of society. Profiles of important saints would also be good, I would think, since that gives and idea of what the ideal was.
Ideally, something which is fair to Catholicism without being so obviously a Catholic drum beater (think Belloc in his more bellicose moments) that it would scare off a good Evangelical (preacher's son and all).
Fortnightly Book, December 4
1 hour ago