The Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation | Alexander Street

The Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation

Emerging from the crises of schism, war, and plague, the Catholic Church entered the 16th century with an intensified awareness of the need for renewal. At all levels of the Catholic hierarchy, the call for reform in capite et in membris was being issued. And like their Protestant counterparts, Catholic authors took advantage of print technology to create a vast treasury of published documents—a legacy that to this day has been but selectively sampled and appreciated. Now, the documentary riches of this era are being made more accessible than ever, as we gather them into a single, full-text, fully searchable database, The Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation.

A comprehensive scope

Comprising hundreds of titles written during the 16th and 17th centuries, The Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation gives researchers immediate, Web-based access to hundreds of hard-to-find works, including papal documents, synodal decrees, catechisms, confessors’ manuals, biblical commentaries, theological treatises, sacred drama, liturgical works, inquisitorial manuals, preaching guides, accounts of saints’ lives, and devotional works. Project editors Simon Ditchfield (University of York) and Brad Gregory (Stanford University) have worked in concert with the world-renowned scholars on the advisory board to develop a bibliography that includes such valuable texts as the first editions of Cesare Baronio’s Annales Ecclesiastici, Ferdinando Ughelli’s Italia Sacra, and Laurentius Surius’s De probatis sanctorum historiis. Through The Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation, researchers can analyze the works of well-known religious figures as well as an exhaustive sample of writings produced by the forgotten army of local scholars—both religious and lay—whose volumes collectively constitute the A to Z of Catholic reform.

World renowned editorial board

The project’s senior editors are Simon Ditchfield of the University of York and Brad Gregory of Stanford University. The world-class editorial board includes Irena Backus, University of Geneva; Emidio Campi, University of Zurich; Patrick Collinson, Cambridge University; John Patrick Donnelly, Marquette University; Richard Gamble, Reformed Theological Seminary; Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School; David Hall, Harvard University; Frank James, Reformed Theological Seminary; Thomas M. McCoog, British Province of the Society of Jesus; Elsie McKee, Princeton Theological Seminary; Jurgen Moltmann, University of Tübingen; Richard Muller, Calvin Theological Seminary; Mark Noll, Wheaton College; Oliver O'Donovan, Oxford University; James I. Packer, Regent College; Wolfhart Pannenberg, University of Munich; David Steinmetz, Duke University; Harry Stout, Yale University; and David Wells, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Publication details

The Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation is available on the Web, either by annual subscription or through a one-time purchase of perpetual rights.


Contents and search capabilities make it an indispensable tool for graduate students and professors researching the religious thought of this period, whether they are historians or students of theology/spirituality.


A wonderfully conceived and executed resource that provides a wealth of historical, political, and theological information on one of the most fascinating periods in the history of Christianity.

Reference Reviews