How the Taliban Began – Afghanistan 1994-97 – John Simpson’s Journal (and how different are they now, really?)

The Road to Kabul: Recent developments in Afghanistan, particularly over the past fortnight, together with this week’s (18th August) emergency debate in the House of Commons, have prompted me to write further on the question of Afghanistan, taking an even longer view of the key issues of the past quarter century. In my last postContinue reading “How the Taliban Began – Afghanistan 1994-97 – John Simpson’s Journal (and how different are they now, really?)”

C. S. Lewis’s Tales of Narnia, from Genesis to ‘Shadowlands’ – Stealing Past Dragons.

A Life Between Faith and Literature: Clive Staples Lewis became the most popular defender of orthodox Christianity in the English-speaking world in the mid-twentieth century. Born in Belfast in 1898, he was brought up an Anglican and educated at Malvern College. As a young man, C. S. Lewis had served in the trenches of WorldContinue reading “C. S. Lewis’s Tales of Narnia, from Genesis to ‘Shadowlands’ – Stealing Past Dragons.”

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.”

Mythical Hymns of Creation: The Radical Story of Genesis and the Covenants of the Bible.

The Very Root and Origin of All Creation: According to dictionary definitions of ‘radical’, from the Latin radicalis, for ‘having roots’ or ‘proceeding from the root’ and meaning ‘fundamental; reaching to the centre or ultimate source’. The twentieth-century philosopher Raymond Williams wrote, in his 1976 publication Keywords, that ‘radical’ had been used as an adjectiveContinue reading “Mythical Hymns of Creation: The Radical Story of Genesis and the Covenants of the Bible.”

The Civil Wars and Local Communities in England, 1642-47: Documents, Debates and Case Studies from Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Wiltshire.

National, Regional & Local Narratives: Local history has provided one of the most fruitful areas of study for historians researching the English Civil Wars in recent decades. Whereas earlier historians had tended to concentrate on presenting a chronological narrative of military events in the locality, more recent authors, stimulated by the wealth of source materialContinue reading “The Civil Wars and Local Communities in England, 1642-47: Documents, Debates and Case Studies from Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Wiltshire.”

The Three Kingdoms and The Third Civil War, Part Two – Scotland, 1650-52: Dunbar & Worcester

The Fate of the Earl of Montrose, April-May 1650: At the beginning of the new decade, with Oliver Cromwell wintering in Ireland, together with a significant portion of the parliamentarian army, from the middle of January onwards the Rump became ever more fearful that the Scots were about to take up arms once more forContinue reading “The Three Kingdoms and The Third Civil War, Part Two – Scotland, 1650-52: Dunbar & Worcester”

The Three Kingdoms & The Third Civil War: Campaigns in Ireland; Drogheda & Wexford to Tipperary, 1649-1652.

The Stuart Court at the Hague, 1649-51: The Trial and Execution of Charles I may have shocked the whole of Europe at first, but Edward Hyde, First Earl of Clarendon, wrote after the execution that… The kings and princes of Christendom had their eyes fixed upon this woeful bloody spectacle; how they looked upon thatContinue reading “The Three Kingdoms & The Third Civil War: Campaigns in Ireland; Drogheda & Wexford to Tipperary, 1649-1652.”

Regicides, Rebels & Revolutionaries: November 1648 – October 1649; from Pride’s Purge to the Leveller Mutinies in England.

Ireton’s ‘Remonstrance’ – St Albans & the London Levellers: When the Second Civil War ended, the frustrations and bitterness which had steadily been mounting against the king’s duplicity finally reached fever pitch. Many petitions were dispatched to London from various parts of the country demanding ‘impartial justice’ for all those involved in causing the recentContinue reading “Regicides, Rebels & Revolutionaries: November 1648 – October 1649; from Pride’s Purge to the Leveller Mutinies in England.”

The Putney Debates, the Second Civil War & the Newport Treaty: Oct 1647 – Oct 1648; Levellers, Engagers & Insurgents.

An ‘Outbreak of Democracy’?: In his 1961 work on The Levellers and the English Revolution, H N Brailsford wrote that: … there has been nothing like this spontaneous outbreak of democracy in any English or continental army before this year of 1647, nor was there anything like it thereafter till the Workers’ and Soldiers’ CouncilsContinue reading “The Putney Debates, the Second Civil War & the Newport Treaty: Oct 1647 – Oct 1648; Levellers, Engagers & Insurgents.”