This book attempts to include in a brief narration the findings of a great renewal that in recent decades has involved historical studies of the Roman Catholic Church. These studies have widened their scope beyond the Church's institutional role in order to embrace all of Christianity and address topics such as spirituality, expressions of worship, laypeople's religiousness, and the relationship between clergy and society. Claudio Azzara deals with the High Middle Ages: the early spread of Christianity, the establishment of ecclesial institutions, forms of worship, the Great Schism which spawned the Eastern Orthodox Church, the advent of monasticism, and the dawn of the Holy Roman Empire. Anna Maria Rapetti deals with topics pertaining to the High and Late Middle Ages: monastic reform, the development of mendicant orders, heresies and the struggle against them, the everyday life of parishes and believers, the consolidation of the papal monarchy and national churches, and the relationship of the latter with nation-states.
Claudio Azzara teaches Medieval History at the University of Salerno.
Anna Maria Rapetti teaches Medieval History at the Ca' Foscari University in Venice.