James Atkinson

While revising a draft paper about Anglican evangelicals in the 1960s [UPDATE: now published], I had occasion last week to look into the career of James Atkinson, evangelical Anglican, academic at Hull, Sheffield and Nottingham, and specialist on Luther. In so doing, I found that I had missed the announcement of his death last autumn, and so I gather together some of the obituaries here:

(i) Atkinson’s colleague at Nottingham A.C. Thiselton, in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/sep/07/the-rev-james-atkinson-obituary

(ii) Peter Townley in the Independent:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/rev-canon-prof-james-atkinson-priest-and-theologian-acclaimed-as-an-authority-on-luther-and-the-reformation-2340093.html

(iii) The Telegraph:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/religion-obituaries/8756051/The-Reverend-Professor-James-Atkinson.html

I was once introduced to Atkinson in his role as leading light of the Sheffield-based Centre for Reformation Studies. The group was genial and welcoming, but with a very particular view (very much Atkinson’s own) of Reformation history which did not square with the revisionist scholarship shaping minds among  history undergraduates in the early 1990s. My particular meeting with him this week was as one of only four English representatives in the Joint Preparatory Commission for theological dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic church, set up by Michael Ramsey after his visit to Pope Paul VI in 1966. In this he was an example of a conservative Anglican evangelical fully engaged in the highest-level work of the institutional church.

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