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.”

“I was hungry and…?”: Pilgrims to ‘The World Beyond’ in Children’s Fiction – C. S. Lewis, Henry van Dyke & John Bunyan.

The Last Judgment: The Gospel of Matthew tells us that the last ‘parable’ Jesus told before his trials and crucifixion was that of ‘the Final Judgment’, depicted above. It really reads more like an allegory, because of its intense symbolism: When the son of man comes in his glory … Before him will be gatheredContinue reading ““I was hungry and…?”: Pilgrims to ‘The World Beyond’ in Children’s Fiction – C. S. Lewis, Henry van Dyke & John Bunyan.”

375 Years Ago – The End of the First Civil War, October 1645 – March 1647: Sieges, Plagues & the Aftermath.

The War in the West of England – Winchester to Exeter: After bombarding and taking Winchester at the beginning of October 1645 Cromwell’s troops moved on to lay siege to Basing House, a royalist stronghold and garrison in the north of Hampshire, a centre of heroic resistance. It had already proved a major obstacle toContinue reading “375 Years Ago – The End of the First Civil War, October 1645 – March 1647: Sieges, Plagues & the Aftermath.”

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.”

Imperial Islands, Caribbean Englishes & Atlantic Economies, circa 1630-1980

‘Little England’ & ‘Pidgin’ English: Some interpretations of Britain’s imperial past have charged the ‘White British’ with using the Caribbean islands in general and Barbados in particular as a ‘dumping ground’ for Black slaves. In fact, the first settlers there were White Catholics, according to the Jesuit priest who met them in 1634, both IrishContinue reading “Imperial Islands, Caribbean Englishes & Atlantic Economies, circa 1630-1980”

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”