This 1930 edition includes essays from both the first and second series of Coulton's Medieval Studies, together with appendices. Although an academic who stressed the importance of using primary sources, Coulton was skilled at making medieval history accessible to a wider audience. He played an important role in encouraging interest in the study of social and economic history of the Middle Ages among younger scholars. These ten essays, all on aspects of religion, were somewhat controversial in their day. Coulton believed that sectarian bias frequently caused a distorted view of history, and he was highly critical of Roman Catholic interpretations of the medieval church. In the appendices he gives a detailed critique of Cardinal Francis Gasquet's historical writings, listing what Coulton regards as errors or deliberate falsifications. Even where Coulton himself appears guilty of bias, his wide knowledge of sources makes his writings still valuable to modern readers.
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In these controversial essays, published between 1905 and 1916, Coulton studies the recent historiography of the medieval church. He believed that many historians allowed their own religious views to colour their interpretation, often thereby creating a false picture of religion in the Middle Ages, which he attempts to correct.
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