The Coming of the Northmen: from Coastal Raids to Inland Battles in Britain & Ireland, 789-871.

Pirates or Merchant Adventurers? Out of the North, they came, more warriors from the fringes of the Baltic. Norsemen, Vikings, Danes, many names, but one overriding characteristic – they came first to raid and plunder in tall-prowed sailing ships that had carried these sea-rovers to the Mediterranean and the coasts of a new world acrossContinue reading “The Coming of the Northmen: from Coastal Raids to Inland Battles in Britain & Ireland, 789-871.”

The Radical Messiah and The Politics of Love in the Bible: Part 2 – Christianity, Church and Society over two Millennia.

‘The Farthest Limits of the West’: I will always remember my first visit to Bangor, North Wales (originally the furthest western outpost of the Roman Empire), to attend an interview for a university place in Biblical Studies and History. It was a long journey by train from Birmingham, where I grew up as the sonContinue reading “The Radical Messiah and The Politics of Love in the Bible: Part 2 – Christianity, Church and Society over two Millennia.”

The Bible as Action Manual: Radical Reflections on Siding with the Poor.

Liberation Stories: The focus of The Radical Bible, published in 1972, was social justice and ‘The Third World’ as it was then known, meaning the poor and powerless peoples of the earth, most of whom live in Asia, Africa and Latin America. This is not to say that justice is all the Bible is concernedContinue reading “The Bible as Action Manual: Radical Reflections on Siding with the Poor.”

Four Hundred Years Ago: The Birth of a ‘New England’ – Trans-Atlantic Separatists & the Language of Dissent.

‘The Ship they called the Mayflower‘: The 16th September 2020 marks the four hundredth anniversary of the departure of the ship, Mayflower, from Plymouth Sound in Devon, England. The ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ were drawn from the Puritan separatists who had set up illegal churches in Lincolnshire and other parts of East Anglia. Threatened with fines and/orContinue reading “Four Hundred Years Ago: The Birth of a ‘New England’ – Trans-Atlantic Separatists & the Language of Dissent.”

Poverty, Progress & the Nonconformist Conscience in Britain, 1844-1914: London, Manchester & Birmingham.

The ‘Manchester School’ and the Industrial City: By the 1840s, Manchester had become the symbol of a new form of social organisation, a ‘modern Athens’ to Benjamin Disraeli. But, in a sense, the City deserved the rough treatment it subsequently got from two notable foreign visitors, Alexis de Tocqueville and Friedrich Engels. In 1851, JohnContinue reading “Poverty, Progress & the Nonconformist Conscience in Britain, 1844-1914: London, Manchester & Birmingham.”

The Forging of a Trans-Atlantic Language: Cross-Cultural Currents, 1840-1940

A National Language – From Webster to Whitman: The English Language has always been the most significant battlegrounds of Anglo-American rivalry, a fascinating window on the tensions of the “special relationship”. Divided by a common language, each generation has made the enjoyable discovery that the ‘standard’ English of Britain is different from from the EnglishContinue reading “The Forging of a Trans-Atlantic Language: Cross-Cultural Currents, 1840-1940”