Diarmaid MacCulloch's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Diarmaid MacCulloch recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Diarmaid MacCulloch's favorite book recommendations of all time.

Christoph Baumer is one of the very few Westerners to have visited many of the most important Assyrian sites, and has written the only comprehensive history of the "Nestorian" (or Apostolic Assyrian) Church, which now fights for survival in its country of origin, Iraq. He traces its apostolic beginnings to the present day, and discusses the Church's theology, christology and uniquely vigorous spirituality. He analyzes the Church's turbulent relationship with other Christian chuches and its dialogue with neighboring world religions such as Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Islam, Buddhism and... more
Recommended by Diarmaid MacCulloch, and 1 others.

Diarmaid MacCullochThis is a wonderful book, and it brings me back to where I started – the Christianities we’ve completely forgotten. (Source)

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The Church in Africa, 1450-1950

Covering five centuries--from the rise of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the 15th century and the early Portuguese missionaries right through to the Church and its key role in Africa today--this major new volume is the first complete history of the Christian Church in Africa. Written by a leading authority on Church history who has spent many years in Africa, it looks at all aspects of Christianity in Africa, including its relationship to traditional values and customs, politics, and the comparable rise of Islam in Africa during the period.
Recommended by Diarmaid MacCulloch, and 1 others.

Diarmaid MacCullochThe expertise that Hastings brought to what he did was quite exceptional, and this history is just entrancing. (Source)

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The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century brought a radical shift from a profoundly sensual and ceremonial experience of religion to the dominance of the word through book and sermon. In Scotland, the revolution assumed proportions unequalled by any other national Calvinist Reformation, with Christmas and Easter formally abolished, Sabbaths turned to fasting days, and mandatory attendance of weekday as well as Sunday sermons strictly enforced as part of an invasive disciplinary regimen. less
Recommended by Diarmaid MacCulloch, and 1 others.

Diarmaid MacCullochMargo presents this wonderfully rich, detailed picture of the lives that people led. (Source)

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Edward Gibbon's six-volume History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-88) is among the most magnificent and ambitious narratives in European literature. Its subject is the fate of one of the world's greatest civilizations over thirteen centuries - its rulers, wars, and society, and the events that led to its disastrous collapse. Here, in book one and two, Gibbon charts the vast extent and constitution of the Empire from the reign of Augustus to 395 AD. And in a controversial critique, he examines the early Church, with fascinating accounts of the first Christian and last... more
Recommended by Tom Holland, Diarmaid MacCulloch, and 2 others.

Tom HollandIt takes Tacitus as its model, who was famous for his waspish style, and a careful balancing and modulating of the sentences so that irony would be generated. This is what Gibbon does as well, and it means that not only is it an incredible work of scholarship but it is also compulsively entertaining. I really think that anyone who is prepared to give it a chance will find themselves smiling at... (Source)

Diarmaid MacCullochIt’s a formidable task to read it, but it’s very readable, because although Gibbon was humourless about himself, he has a tremendous sense of humour about the rest of the world. (Source)

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Ecclesiastical History of the English People

Starting with the invasion of Julius Caesar in the fifth century, Bede recorded the history of the English up to his own day in 731 A.D. A scholarly monk working in the north-east of England, Bede wrote the five books of his history in Latin. The Ecclesiastical History is his most famous work, and this edition provides the authoritative Colgrave translation, as well as a new translation of the Greater Chronicle, never before published in English. His Letter to Egbert gives his final reflections on the English Church just before his death. This is the only edition to... more
Recommended by Diarmaid MacCulloch, and 1 others.

Diarmaid MacCullochBede is writing about 130 years after the English had first experienced Christianity. (Source)

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