The best books on Saint Teresa of Avila, recommended by Rowan Williams

St Teresa of Avila was one of the towering figures of the Counter-Reformation, both as a theologian and as a reformer of the religious life. Here, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, discusses her insights into spiritual growth and prayer, the impact her Jewish roots had on her life and career, and why Bernini’s statue of her in ecstasy is unhelpful.

The best books on Mormonism, recommended by Benjamin E. Park

Mormonism is an entirely home-grown American religion. Nevertheless, as historian Benjamin E. Park explains, it struggled to win social acceptance in the United States in the 19th and early 20th century and that marginalisation profoundly shaped its development and, to some extent, its doctrines.

The Best Augustine Books, recommended by Catherine Conybeare

Christianity has been profoundly influenced by Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE), but the fifth-century North African bishop has impacted almost every area of western thought: philosophy, theology, political theory, linguistics, and rhetoric. His Confessions is one of the most recommended titles on Five Books, but is it really the first autobiography? Professor Catherine Conybeare introduces us to the life, thought, and personality of this controversial yet brilliant figure. She picks the best books to learn more about St. Augustine and explores how he has been unfairly maligned.

The best books on The Bible, recommended by Nicholas King

The Bible is not always an easy read—nor is it always obvious how or where to start reading it. Here, Nicholas King, a Jesuit priest and biblical scholar, chooses five books to help you start getting to grips with what is, arguably, the world’s all-time bestselling book.

The best books on Jesus, recommended by Robert Morgan

Jesus was a 1st century Jew from Galilee who had a ministry of teaching and healing. He gathered disciples around him, but was eventually arrested and executed by the Roman governor of Judaea from 26 to 36CE, Pontius Pilate. But what else do we know about Jesus and what is his significance in an increasingly secular age? New Testament scholar Robert Morgan talks us through his favourite books on Jesus.

The best books on Arguments for the Existence of God, recommended by Edward Feser

Is the existence of God incompatible with evil? What is the difference between ‘classical theism’ and ‘theistic personalism’? What is the best argument against there being a God?  From Aristotle through Aquinas to the present, philosopher Edward Feser gives an in-depth look at arguments for the existence of God.

The best books on The Saints, recommended by Simon Yarrow

Heroes are universal to human culture and, in Christian culture, they manifested themselves as saints. Historian Simon Yarrow recommends the best books to understand the saints, from their widespread appearance in late antiquity to their continuing influence in modern America.

The best books on Christmas, recommended by Bruce Forbes

Did you know that Santa Claus was a 4th century bishop in what is now Turkey? That Puritans tried to outlaw Christmas? Or Tiny Tim was originally Little Fred? Religious scholar Bruce Forbes recommends books that shed light on Christmas’s pagan past and consumerist present.

The best books on Jerusalem, City of Peace?, recommended by James Carroll

Jerusalem has been at the center of conflict for millennia and its current problems cannot be blamed on Israelis and Palestinians alone, says bestselling author and former Catholic priest James Carroll.  He picks the best books to understand Jerusalem’s complex history and its message of peace which still gives him hope.

The best books on The Christmas Story, recommended by Brent Landau

The story of the birth of Jesus is the part of the Gospels that is least based on history, explains religious studies scholar Brent Landau. Jesus was probably not born in Bethlehem and he may have been visited by as many as 12 wise men. He picks books to help understand the real Christmas story.