The Church and Humanity : The Life and Work of George Bell, 1883–1958 book cover
1st Edition

The Church and Humanity
The Life and Work of George Bell, 1883–1958

ISBN 9781409425564
Published March 22, 2016 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

George Bell remains one of only a handful of twentieth-century English bishops to possess a continuing international reputation for his involvement in political affairs. His insistence that Christian faith required active participation in public life, at home and abroad, established an eminent, and often provocative, contribution to Christian ethics at large. Bell's participation in the tragic history of the German resistance against Hitler has earned him an enduring place in the historiography of the Third Reich; his February 1944 speech protesting against the obliteration bombing of Germany, made in the House of Lords, is still often considered one of the great prophetic speeches of the twentieth century. Throughout his long career, Bell became a leading light in the burgeoning ecumenical movement, a supporter of refugees from dictatorships of all kinds, a committed internationalist and a patron of the Arts. This book draws together the work of leading international historians and theologians, including Rowan Williams, and makes an important contribution to a range of ongoing political, ecumenical and international debates.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Chronology: the life and times of George Bell, 1883-1958; 'The Church and humanity': George Bell and the life of the Church in the 20th century, Andrew Chandler; 'Fulfilling Christ's own wish that we should be one': the early ecumenical work of George Bell as chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury and Dean of Canterbury (1914-1929), Charlotte Methuen; George Bell, John Masefield and The Coming of Christ: context and significance, Peter Webster; An Indian scholar looks at Bishop George Bell, Joseph Mutharaj; 'Please tell the Bishop of Chichester': George Bell and the internment crisis of 1940, Charmian Brinson; The patronage of resistance: George Bell and the 'other Germany' during the Second World War, Andrew Chandler; George Bell, the question of Germany and the cause of European unity, 1939-1950, Philip Coupland; Bishop Bell and the trial of German war criminals: a moral history, Tom Lawson; George Bell and the Cold War, Dianne Kirby; 'Intimately associated for many years': the common life-work of George Bell and Willem A. Visser't Hooft in the service of the universal Church, Gerhard Besier; George Bell and the promotion of Anglican-Lutheran relations, Jaakko Rusama; A Church of the nation or a Church for the nation? Bishop George Bell and the Church of England, Rowan Williams; Selected bibliography of the published writings of George Bell; Index.

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Lectured in modern history at the universities of Birmingham, Keele and British Columbia before becoming Director of the George Bell Institute at the Queen's College in Birmingham in 1996. The institute moved to the University of Chichester in 2007. Author of a succession of studies of twentieth-century church affairs and politics, focussing mainly on the Church of England and international politics during the middle decades and also on the Church of England at large across the century. Publications include The Church of England in the Twentieth Century: The Church Commissioners and the Politics of Reform (Boydell, 2006)


'George Bell, Bishop of Chichester from 1929 to 1958, has long been recognized as one of the outstanding figures in the Church of England in his generation. He stood out from his colleagues by his striking commitment both to bringing the churches together in unity and to the cause of international peace and justice. This collection of essays in his honour has been edited by Andrew Chandler, Director of the George Bell Institute at the University of Chichester. The contributors are a distinguished and international group of scholars of church history, including the present Archbishop of Canterbury. This study provides an insightful and updated evaluation of Bishop Bell's significant contributions to the life of both his own and the wider church during the turbulent years of the mid-twentieth century.' John S. Conway, author of The Nazi Persecution of the Churches 1933-1945 'Andrew Chandler gathers international scholars to present the life and work of George Bell, Bishop of Chichester - a key person in ecumenical work. This book presents a broad yet distinct picture of Bishop Bell from the angle of Church and humanity, emphasizing his patronage of resistance. Bishop Bell's work in the fields of organization, moral theology, and politics is analyzed from different perspectives; scholars from India, Finland and Germany add important issues such as the trial of German war criminals as a moral history, or Bishop Bell and the promotion of Anglican-Lutheran relations. Rowan Williams concludes the book with his views on Bishop Bell and the Church of England. A thorough bibliography is included.' Anders Jarlert, Lund University, Sweden