On Real Presence: A Reading List

This is my list of books I like to share when someone asks about real presence.

Originally drafted April 28, 2021 and last tended May 16, 2023 by Matt McElwee.
(See Revision History).

  • Accuracy:

    At the time of original writing, I had yet to begun engaging Calvin. I expect to add the Institutes with an annotation soon.

  • Certainty:


  • Completeness:


Here is a short bibliography that convinced me of Real Presence and the efficacy of the Blessed Sacrament as a means of grace.

  • Cranmer, T. (1550). The True And Catholic Doctrine Of The Lord’s Supper. New Whitchurch Press.
    An excellent read with tons of receipts both historical and biblical on the topic of real presence. His refutation of transubstantiation is quite strong and his evidence for receiving the sacrament spiritually is, in my opinion, one of the best Protestant refutations of Zwingli's memorialism.
  • Nouwen, H. (2003). With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life. Orbis Books.
    A delightful little book on the Eucharist which primarily talks about the character of the Eucharist. It uses the Luke 24 story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus as its driving frame.
  • Rolheiser, R. (2011). Our One Great Act of Fidelity: Waiting for Christ in the Eucharist. Image.
    This was the first book I ever read exclusively on the Eucharist. It was in it that I discovered that Catholic seminaries do entire college courses on the topic of the Eucharist, which I find truly lovely. It is an excellent treatment with emphasis on the marital qualities of the Eucharist. It concludes with a few sermons from Augustine on the topic.
  • Schmemann, A. (2003). The Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom. St Vladimirs Seminary Press.
    I would argue this is one of the best modern treatments of the topic. Definitely a "start here" text.
  • Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.
    Articles 25 and 28 especially cover this.
  • Wright, N. T. (2014). The Lord and His Prayer. Eerdmans.
    This was one of my earliest introductions to Anglicanism, despite Tom not here telegraphing his Anglican connection (he obviously notes his time as a Bishop, but doesn't have anything "particularly Anglican" to say). His connection of "give us this day our daily bread" to the Eucharist is something I still think about every time I receive the bread.
  • Wright, N. T. (2015). The Meal Jesus Gave Us. Westminster John Knox Press.
    Very light-weight book on the topic, primarily written for young confirmands. It does have a small chapter which works out some of Tom's views on the subject with a few receipts.