100 books like The Ecclesiastical History of the English People

By Bede, Judith McClure (editor), Roger Collins (editor) , Bertram Colgrave (translator)

Here are 100 books that The Ecclesiastical History of the English People fans have personally recommended if you like The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England

Richard Shaw Author Of How, When and Why did Bede Write his Ecclesiastical History?

From my list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of History at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Canada. Previously a journalist and a diplomat serving in the Middle East, since returning to academia I have published several books and a wide variety of academic articles – winning the 2014 Eusebius Essay Prize. My work is focused on source analysis and the use of sources to reconstruct the truth of the past – especially in the early Middle Ages: as a result, I have been able to discover the date of Augustine of Canterbury’s death; the underlying reasons behind the need to appoint Theodore of Tarsus as bishop; and the essential story of how Bede produced his Ecclesiastical History.

Richard's book list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History

Richard Shaw Why did Richard love this book?

This book is the best introduction there is to early Christian Anglo-Saxon England.

Mayr-Harting is an excellent scholar and a beautiful writer – in addition to being a superb lecturer and, indeed, an incredibly kind and generous human being. All of these qualities shine through in this wonderful book, which repays frequent reading – even by established academics.

Mayr-Harting’s treatment of sources is sensitive, and his commentary is always perceptive. This volume provides both narrative and some analysis, giving not only a general overview but also an introduction to the key people and issues that will take readers’ understanding of – and appreciation for – the period far beyond the preliminary.

By Henry Mayr-Harting,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England is more than a general account of the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. It is a probing study of the way in which Christianity was fashioned in England, giving full weight to the variety of wealth of the traditions that contributed to early Anglo-Saxon Christianity. It is also a study in the process of Christianization, as it was carried out by churchmen who, according to Mayr-Harting, prepared themselves by prayer and study and travel as well as by social awareness to Christianize their world.

For this edition, the author has added a new…


Book cover of Essays in Anglo-Saxon History

Richard Shaw Author Of How, When and Why did Bede Write his Ecclesiastical History?

From my list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of History at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Canada. Previously a journalist and a diplomat serving in the Middle East, since returning to academia I have published several books and a wide variety of academic articles – winning the 2014 Eusebius Essay Prize. My work is focused on source analysis and the use of sources to reconstruct the truth of the past – especially in the early Middle Ages: as a result, I have been able to discover the date of Augustine of Canterbury’s death; the underlying reasons behind the need to appoint Theodore of Tarsus as bishop; and the essential story of how Bede produced his Ecclesiastical History.

Richard's book list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History

Richard Shaw Why did Richard love this book?

To my mind, James Campbell was the greatest commentator on early Anglo-Saxon England of the last sixty years.

He was my tutor at Oxford for a course on early Anglo-Saxon history and archaeology, and he inspired me to recognise just how much of the so-called “Dark Ages” can be brought to light via a combination of rigour in analysis and creativity in reconstruction.

Campbell’s seminal articles on Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, included in this edited collection, transformed Bedan studies and set out the path forward for the next generation of scholars, although much more remains to be done – particularly in connection with identifying Bede’s sources and unpacking the chronology of the composition of his History.

If you want to understand the conversion of Anglo-Saxon England, you need to understand Bede’s Ecclesiastical History; and if you want to understand Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, you have to understand Bede. The quest will…

By James Campbell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Essays in Anglo-Saxon History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

James Campbell's work on the Anglo-Saxons is recognised as being some of the most original of recent writing on the period; it is brought together in this collection, which is both an important contribution to Anglo-Saxon studies in itself and also a pointer to the direction of future research.


Book cover of The Times of Bede: Studies in Early English Christian Society and its Historian

Richard Shaw Author Of How, When and Why did Bede Write his Ecclesiastical History?

From my list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of History at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Canada. Previously a journalist and a diplomat serving in the Middle East, since returning to academia I have published several books and a wide variety of academic articles – winning the 2014 Eusebius Essay Prize. My work is focused on source analysis and the use of sources to reconstruct the truth of the past – especially in the early Middle Ages: as a result, I have been able to discover the date of Augustine of Canterbury’s death; the underlying reasons behind the need to appoint Theodore of Tarsus as bishop; and the essential story of how Bede produced his Ecclesiastical History.

Richard's book list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History

Richard Shaw Why did Richard love this book?

Patrick Wormald’s early death was a tragedy for early medieval studies as a whole.

Thankfully his former student, Stephen Baxter – an exceptional scholar in his own right – had the energy to carry some of his mentor’s projects over the line, including this collection of some of Wormald’s best essays, articles, and book chapters relating to Bede and his world.

Patrick was also my tutor for several undergraduate courses at Oxford as well as being the supervisor for my Master's Thesis and I too owe him a great debt. This edited collection – with the advantage of updated references and comments – showcases the searing brilliance which made Wormald such a prized commentator on everything connected to the early Middle Ages.

Coupled with Campbell's Essays in Anglo-Saxon History, readers will quickly gain nuanced perspectives on elements and themes crucial in comprehending the conversion of the early English.

By Patrick Wormald, Stephen Baxter (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Times of Bede as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written by the late Patrick Wormald, one of the leading authorities on Bede's life and work over a 30-year period, this book is a collection of studies on Bede and early English Christian society. A collection of studies on Bede, the greatest historian of the English Middle Ages, and the early English church. Integrates the religious, intellectual, political and social history of the English in their first Christian centuries. Looks at how Bede and other writers charted the establishment of a Christian community within a warrior society. Features the first map of all known or likely early Christian communities in…


Book cover of The Narrators of Barbarian History (A.D. 550-800): Jordanes, Gregory of Tours, Bede, and Paul the Deacon

Richard Shaw Author Of How, When and Why did Bede Write his Ecclesiastical History?

From my list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of History at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Canada. Previously a journalist and a diplomat serving in the Middle East, since returning to academia I have published several books and a wide variety of academic articles – winning the 2014 Eusebius Essay Prize. My work is focused on source analysis and the use of sources to reconstruct the truth of the past – especially in the early Middle Ages: as a result, I have been able to discover the date of Augustine of Canterbury’s death; the underlying reasons behind the need to appoint Theodore of Tarsus as bishop; and the essential story of how Bede produced his Ecclesiastical History.

Richard's book list on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History

Richard Shaw Why did Richard love this book?

This book – intentionally – shook up the study of Bede (and of the other early medieval historians the work surveys) when it was initially released in 1988.

One book-length chapter is dedicated to Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, and it is this part of Narrators which has had probably the greatest influence. Consciously controversial, with polar expression of ideas and a rhetorical presentation of the evidence suited to an attempt to break new ground, Goffart argued for an intentionality in the writing of the History that was tied to the contemporary ecclesio-political context – and, specifically, the enduring impact of what he called the “Ghost of Bishop Wilfrid”.

Goffart returned to the fray on several other occasions – including via the issue of the revised edition of Narrators, recommended here. Despite the polemical approach – and the perhaps understandable sensitivity of scholars responding to Goffart’s arguments – the main aspects…

By Walter Goffart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Narrators of Barbarian History (A.D. 550-800) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this substantial work Walter Goffart treats the four writers who provide the principal narrative sources for our early knowledge of the Ostrogoths, Franks, Anglo-Saxons, and Lombards: Jordanes, Gregory of Tours, Bede, and Paul the Deacon. The University of Notre Dame Press is pleased to make this book available for the first time in paperback. Winner of the Medieval Academy of America's Haskins Medal for 1991, The Narrators of Barbarian History treats the four writers who are the main early sources for our knowledge of the Ostrogoths, Franks, Anglo-Saxons, and Lombards. In his preface to this paperback edition, Goffart examines…


Book cover of Ecclesiastical History of the English People

Andrew Scott Author Of Fake History: Ten Great Lies and How They Shaped the World

From my list on to fight fake history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am not a historian but a journalist, and in writing the book I wanted to do what I have done in my political writing. Namely to cut through the lies, to bring accuracy to the distortions, and to point a finger at the politicians and pundits who would prefer that we wallowed in the phony nostalgia of our imagined past. Tackling fake history is like tackling fake news. You need not only to seek out the truth that lies underneath but also discover in whose interests myth-making works in the first place. That's why fighting fake history matters and that is why I wrote the book.

Andrew's book list on to fight fake history

Andrew Scott Why did Andrew love this book?

While researching early English history for my own book, I came to the miserable conclusion that I would first have to read Bede’s. To be honest the thought of paint drying had more allure. Yet, when I did finally buckle down to read (what is in fact five books) it was a complete revelation. Bede takes the reader on a very entertaining ride through early English history but it is much more than that. Indeed, the most striking thing about the work is its obsession with detail and accuracy. Drawing on the extensive library at Jarrow, Bede made a huge effort to ‘get it right’. Yes, there are biases and yes there are some curious obsessions, but in fighting fake news and fake history this 8th-century masterpiece remains an example to us all.   

By Bede the Venerable, Leo Sherley-Price (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ecclesiastical History of the English People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written in AD 731, Bede's work opens with a background sketch of Roman Britain's geography and history. It goes on to tell of the kings and bishops, monks and nuns who helped to develop Anglo-Saxon government and religion during the crucial formative years of the English people. Leo Sherley-Price's translation brings us an accurate and readable version, in modern English, of a unique historical document. This edition now includes Bede's Letter to Egbert concerning pastoral care in early Anglo-Saxon England, at the heart of which lay Bede's denunciation of the false monasteries; and The Death of Bede, an admirable eye-witness…


Book cover of A Voice in the Wind

Nancy Kimball Author Of Unseen Love

From my list on that put the Roman in romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I watched the Ridley Scott film Gladiator for the first time, I knew then my heart belonged in Ancient Rome. Countless books, films, research papers, museums, and shenanigans later, that is still true. I was a master of make-believe by age ten, and when the time was right, both passions fused into my debut novel, also set in Ancient Rome. I don’t want to just read or write a good book. I want to experience Ancient Rome vicariously through powerful characters that linger in my memory long after the last page. If that’s you too, give these a try. 

Nancy's book list on that put the Roman in romance

Nancy Kimball Why did Nancy love this book?

This is the gold standard of Ancient World Christian Fiction for a reason. The author is an RWA Hall of Fame recipient and ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award winner. This first book in the Mark of the Lion series is so much more than a book about early Christianity and why Rome hated it. Words to describe Hadassah and Marcus’s story are… epic, profound, life-changing, powerful, captivating, and I could go on and on. It still freaks me out and totally awes me when reviews for my novels mention her in the same sentence. I want to be flattered and offended on her behalf at the same time, which is completely crazy. If you’re only going to invest in one book from my list, it should be this one. 

By Francine Rivers,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Voice in the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book 1 in the 3-book historical Christian fiction series by the New York Times bestselling author of Redeeming Love and The Masterpiece.

The first book in the beloved Mark of the Lion series, A Voice in the Wind brings readers back to the first century and introduces them to a character they will never forget―Hadassah.

While wealthy Roman citizens indulge their every whim, Jews and barbarians are bought and sold as slaves and gladiators in the bloodthirsty arena. Amid the depravity around her, a young Jewish slave girl becomes a light in the darkness. Even as she’s torn by her…


Book cover of The Nero-Antichrist: Founding and Fashioning a Paradigm

Sarah Covington Author Of The Devil from Over the Sea: Remembering and Forgetting Oliver Cromwell in Ireland

From my list on history’s villains and their surprising reputations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a professor of history at the Graduate Center and Queens College at the City University of New York, where I'm also director of the Irish Studies program and the MA program in Biography and Memoir. My specialty, covered in five books that I’ve authored or co-edited, is English and Irish history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; my new book represents the culmination of a decade’s research devoted to Ireland. In addition to teaching British and Irish history, I offer more unusual and wide-ranging classes including the history of the devil, the history of crime and punishment, and the history of the body. My life is divided between New York City and mid-coast Maine.

Sarah's book list on history’s villains and their surprising reputations

Sarah Covington Why did Sarah love this book?

I was always interested in how the emperor Nero was associated from antiquity onwards with the Antichrist: the world-destroying and tyrannical son of Satan who would prevail until the final victory of God. Only Judas matched him as a villain in the Christian imagination. Malik traces the Nero-Antichrist “paradigm” across centuries, exploring the ways in which Christians viewed Nero as an arch-fiend, the beast in the Book of Revelation, and a figure of evil who tested their mettle and faith. While recent scholars have softened the traditional picture of Nero, his afterlife continues to wield its menacing power, based in no small part on these Christian traditions.

By Shushma Malik,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Nero-Antichrist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It has traditionally been assumed that biblical writers considered Nero to be the Antichrist.. This book refutes that view. Beginning by challenging the assumption that literary representations of Nero as tyrant would have been easily recognisable to those in the eastern Roman empire, where most Christian populations were located, Shushma Malik then deconstructs the associations often identified by scholars between Nero and the Antichrist in the New Testament. Instead, she demonstrates that the Nero-Antichrist paradigm was a product of late antiquity. Using now firmly established traits and themes from classical historiography, late-antique Christians used Nero as a means with which…


Book cover of A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening

Ian Ross Author Of War at the Edge of the World

From my list on novels set in the later Roman Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ian Ross was born in England and studied painting before turning to writing fiction. He has been researching the later Roman empire and its army for over a decade, and his interests combine an obsessive regard for accuracy and detail with a devotion to the craft of storytelling. His six-novel Twilight of Empire series follows the career of Aurelius Castus as he rises from the ranks of the legions to the dangerous summit of military power, against the background of a Roman world in crisis.

Ian's book list on novels set in the later Roman Empire

Ian Ross Why did Ian love this book?

The setting for this book is only marginally late Roman, but the picture it evokes, of the shadows lengthening over the classical world, is entirely appropriate. Our hero Lucius is the duumvir, or leading magistrate, of a provincial city in Lusitania at the end of the 2nd century AD. Cultured and urbane, devoted to the classical traditions and philosophies of Rome, Lucius is disturbed both by the appearance of a fervent sect of Christians in his city, and by rumours of an approaching horde of Moorish barbarians. With conflict both within the city and without, and the daughter of the richest citizen turning to the new religion, Lucius soon finds his nerves stretched and his ideals questioned. As the barbarians surround the city walls, and Lucius tries to repel their assault with his ragged band of militia, the duumvir’s faith in his own civilisation is tested to destruction. A God…

By Mario De Carvalho, Gregory Rabassa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Portuguese Writers' Association Grand Prize for Fiction and the Pegasus Prize for Literature, and a best-seller in Portugal, Mario de Carvalho's A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening is a vivid and affecting historical novel set at the twilight of the Roman Empire and the dawn of the Christian era. Lucius Valerius Quintius is prefect of the fictitious city of Tarcisis, charged to defend it against menaces from without -- Moors invading the Iberian peninsula -- and from within -- the decadent complacency of the Pax Romana. Lucius's devotion to civic duty undergoes its most…


Book cover of History of the English Church and People

Matthew Harffy Author Of A Time for Swords

From my list on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Matthew Harffy is the author of ten novels set in the early medieval world. His Bernicia Chronicles, follow the saga of Beobrand as he moves through the echelons of Anglo-Saxon society, fighting in many battles and dealing with the intrigues of the ever-increasingly powerful men and women with whom he mixes. Recently, with Wolf of Wessex and the A Time for the Swords series, Harffy has covered the early Viking Age with his usual eye for detail, historical realism and a gripping plot.

Matthew's book list on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain

Matthew Harffy Why did Matthew love this book?

As close as we come to a first-hand account of events in the first part of the early medieval period. Writing in the early 8th century, Bede was able to interview some of the people who had witnessed events he describes. Bede was undoubtedly writing from the Christian perspective and he was certainly biased in favour of his native Northumbria, but his words are like a window into the past and how people (or at least the clergy) thought.

Book cover of The Church in the Canadian Era

Mark A. Noll Author Of A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

From my list on the history of Christianity in Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

Instead of experiencing a mid-life academic crisis, I discovered Canada. Through George Rawlyk, a senior historian at Queen’s University in Ontario, and then through many fruitful contacts with older and younger Canadians as well as frequent visits north of the border, I became increasingly intrigued by comparisons with U.S. history. Most of my specialized scholarship has treated American developments, but I have been able to explain those matters more perceptively by keeping Canada’s alternative history in mind. The chance to introduce undergraduates at the University of Notre Dame to Canadian history provided a regular stimulus to think about a common subject (Christianity) taking somewhat different shapes in the two nations.

Mark's book list on the history of Christianity in Canada

Mark A. Noll Why did Mark love this book?

In the sixteen years between this book’s two editions, religion in Canada underwent a revolution. John Webster Grant’s history of developments in Canada’s first century after Confederation (1867-1967) sparkled with wit, limpid prose, and telling incidents succinctly portrayed. His deep research in French sources, as well as English, made for an exceptionally well-balanced account of both Protestants and Catholics, both Quebec and the rest of Canada. The new chapter he added in 1988 was just as informative, perceptive, and wise about the difficult days for the churches that began so suddenly in the 1960s.

By John Webster Grant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Church in the Canadian Era as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

John Webster Grant?s The Church in the Canadian Era was originally published in 1972. It remains a classic and important text on the history of the Canadian churches since Confederation. This updated edition has been expanded to include a chapter on recent history as well as a new bibliographical survey. Its approach is ecumenical, taking account not only of the whole range of Christian denominations but of sources in both national languages.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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