Top 100 Catholic Theology Books: A Book List by Taylor Marshall for the New Saint Thomas Institute

Texts and Translations Compiled by the New Saint Thomas Institute

Version 1.2

Dear Reader,

There are many great books on this list. Please don’t feel overwhelmed. Try to read 10 of these books every year—one every 5 weeks. After 10 years, you’ll be better read than most college professors. Before you get too zealous, make sure that you have read the Bible at least one time. There is only one book on the list with God as its author. Read Sacred Scripture 365 days per year. The other authors are secondary.

Taylor Marshall, PhD


Dr. Marshall only recommends two English Bibles for serious theology students: Douay Rheims-Challoner and RSV-CE with a preference for the Douay Rheims-Challoner in most cases:

Holy Bible Douay Rheims Translation

Holy Bible RSV- Catholic Edition

Biblia Sacra Vulgata Clementina (English and Latin Edition) by Bishop Richard Challoner and Michele Tvveedale. There are three Vulgates out there for sale. You want what is called the “Clementine Vulgate.” This is the Vulgate version used in the Old Mass and resembles the version used by Saint Thomas Aquinas and all Catholic authors until the late 1970s. You can immediately tell which Vulgate you are holding by turning to Genesis 3:20 and looking at the name of Adam’s wife:

  • If it’s spelled Heva: Clementine Vulgate (1592) – the standard printed Latin Vulgate of the Catholic Church for Scripture and Liturgy until the Nova Vulgata (1979)
  • If it’s spelled Hava: Stuttgart Vulgate (1969) – a scholarly critical edition of the Latin Vulgate from the German Bible Society, not used in the liturgies of the Catholic Church. This is an academic Vulgate with a critical apparatus – it often includes the Pslater iuxta Hebraeos.
  • If it’s spelled Eva: Nova Vulgata (1979) – the official Catholic edition of the Latin Vulgate currently used in the ordinary liturgies of the Catholic Church (i.e. Missale Romanum 1969 & Liturgia Horarum)

Greek-English New Testament by Barbara Aland and Kurt Aland. This will allow you to look at the Greek next to the English.

Septuaginta (Greek translation of Old Testament) by Alfred Rahlfs and Robert Hanhart

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia Editio Secunda Emendata (Hebrew Old Testament) by Rudolf Kittel, K. Elliger and W. Rudolph. This is the Hebrew Old Testament currently used by scholars. I personally prefer Septuagint reading to this Masoretic Hebrew text, as I believe that they are older and more original—something the Dead Sea Scrolls has taught us.


Dr. Marshall recommends the study of three catechisms. All three are magisterial documents:

Roman Catechism (1566) This is the Catechism issued after the Council of Trent.

Catechism of Saint Pius X (1908) This is the Catechism issued by Saint Pius X in 1908. It’s fantastic and underappreciated.

Thomas Aquinas and Thomism

Dr. Marshall asks students at the New Saint Thomas Institute to invest in the English Dominican version of the Summa theologiae. He recommends the following two Summa versions, one in Latin/English (best) and one in English only (better).

Summa theologiae (Latin and English) by Saint Thomas Aquinas

Summa theologiae (English only) by Saint Thomas Aquinas

Helpful books on Saint Thomas Aquinas and Thomism:

Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages by Taylor Marshall

St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox by G. K. Chesterton

50 Questions on the Natural Law by Charles E. Rice

Reality: A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

The One God, commentary on Summa Theologica I.1-26 by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

The Trinity and God the Creator, commentary on Summa Theologica I.27-119 by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Beatitude (1951), commentary on Summa Theologica I-II.1-54 by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Grace (1947), commentary on Summa Theologica I-II.109-114. by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

The Theological Virtues – Vol. 1: Faith (1948), commentary on Summa Theologica II-II.1-16 by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Christ the Saviour (1945), commentary on Summa Theologica III.1-26, 31-59 by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

The Sacred Monster of Thomism : an introduction to the life and legacy of Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange by Richard Peddicord


Catholicism Explained

Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott

The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholicism by Taylor Marshall

The Catholic Perspective on Paul: Paul and the Origins of Catholicism by Taylor Marshall

The Eternal City: Rome and the Origins of Catholicism by Taylor Marshall


History & Heresy

The Great Heresies by Hilaire Belloc

Christendom I: Founding of Christendom by Warren Carroll

Christendom II: The Building of Christendom by Warren Carroll

Christendom III: The Glory of Christendom by Warren Carroll

Christendom IV: The Cleaving of Christendom by Warren Carroll

Triumph : The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church by H. W. Crocker III

Enthusiasm by Ronald Knox

Great Christian Literature

Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson

The Diary of a Country Priest by George Bernanos

Hopkins: Poetry and Prose by George Manley Hopkins

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

Christianity and Culture by T. S. Eliot

Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Helena by Evelyn Waugh


Our Lady of Fatima by William T. Walsh

The Mother of the Saviour and our Interior Life by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Ineffabilis Deus Apostolic Constitution by Pope Pius IX

Munificentissimus Deus Apostolic Constitution by Pope Pius XII

33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecrationby Fr Michael Gaitley

All Generations Shall call me Blessed: Biblical Mariology by Fr Stephano Manelli

(Books Not Already under Thomas Aquinas)

Plato: Complete Works Hardcover, John M. Cooper (Editor), D. S. Hutchinson (Editor)

Complete Works of Aristotle, Vol. 1 (Barnes Edition)

Complete Works of Aristotle, Vol. 2 (Barnes Edition)

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, translated by Gregory Hays. Not Christian, but Marcus Aurelius is the best introduction to Stoic philosophy. You need to understand Stoicism if you study Augustine or Thomas Aquinas.

Socratic Logic Edition 3.1 by Peter Kreeft. This is the best introduction to Logic in print.

Essays on Woman by Edith Stein

The Four Cardinal Virtues by Josef Pieper

The Intellectual Life by A. G. Sertillanges

Spiritual Classics

Confessions of St. Augustine by Saint Augustine

Little Talks with God (modernized version of “The Dialogues”) by Saint Catherine

City of God by Saint Augustine

Dark Night of the Soul by Saint John of the Cross

Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton

Interior Castle by Saint Teresa of Avila

The Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila

Story of a Soul by Saint Therese of Lisieux

Spiritual Reading

The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Uniformity with God’s Will by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Spiritual Theology by Jordan Aumann

Frequent Confession by Benedict Baur

In Silence with God by Benedict Baur

Difficulties in Mental Prayer by Eugene Boylan

The Tremendous Lover by Eugene Boylan

Covenanted Happiness by Cormac Burke

The Soul of the Apostolate by Jean-Baptiste Chautard

All for Jesus by Frederick W. Faber

Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre De Caussade

Introduction to Devout Life by Saint Francis de Sales

Treatise on the Love of God by Saint Francis de Sales

Three Ages of Interior Life Volume I by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Three Ages of Interior Life Volume II by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Sinner’s Guide by Venerable Louis of Grenada

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis

True Devotion to the Holy Spirit by Luis M. Martinez

True Devotions by Saint Louis-Marie Grignion De Montfort

The Sadness of Christ by Saint Thomas More

Conversation with Christ by Peter T. Rohrbach

Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli

Theology and Sanity by Francis J. Sheed

Theology for Beginners by Francis J. Sheed

To Know Christ Jesus by Francis J. Sheed

Life of Christ by Fulton J. Sheen

Three to Get Married by Fulton J. Sheen

The Spiritual Life by Adolphe Tanqueray

Abba Father by Bonaventure Perquin

Question: Did I miss any good books? What are your favorites? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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