Eric Mascall

I am working on a major project to re-examine the career of E.L. (Eric) Mascall, Anglican priest and theologian of the twentieth century.

Introducing Eric Mascall
Born in 1905, Eric Mascall studied at Cambridge, reading mathematics, and emerging with first class honours. After training at Ely Theological College, and time in two London parishes, he entered academic life, being sub-warden of Lincoln Theological College from 1937; in 1945 he took up a position at Christ Church, Oxford. In 1962 he moved from Oxford to King’s College London to be professor of historical theology, from which position he retired in 1973.

Eric Mascall. Via Wikipedia, copyright holder unknown.

From the early 1940s until deep into the 1980s he was a prominent figure in England and (increasingly) abroad, and particularly amongst Anglo-Catholics. His academic interests covered the whole range of dogmatic theology and the philosophy of religion, and his published output was vast: 25 substantial books, and a great many shorter monographs, journal articles, and book chapters, along with hundreds of book reviews. He was also a trenchant polemicist, notably against elements of the ecumenical movement, certain trends in modern theology, and the ordination of women.

The project
So far Mascall has attracted relatively little attention from contemporary theologians, and practically none from historians. Primarily, the project aims to assess Mascall’s significance in his time, as theologian, critic and controversialist. There are, however, signs of increased interest among theologians in very recent years. I also hope, then, to provide the historical backdrop against which the churches may now apprehend his work afresh.

So far, the fruits of this project are in the form of journal articles and book chapters:

1. Eric Mascall and the responsibility of the theologian in England, 1962-1977 (journal article, 2022)
[ Abstract and details | Open Access PDF | Version of record (£) ]

2. Theology, providence and Anglican-Methodist reunion: the case of Michael Ramsey and Eric Mascall (book chapter, 2022)
[ Extended summary | Open Access PDF | Buy the book/ebook ]

3. E.L. Mascall and the Anglican opposition to the ordination of women as priests, 1954-1978 [forthcoming in Studies in Church History, summer 2023, but available Open Access now]

4. Eric Mascall and the rise, fall and rise of “Christian sociology”, c.1935-85, ( in the International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church.)
[ Extended summary | Version of record (£) ]

5. Eric Mascall and the making of an Anglican Thomist, 1937-1945, accepted for publication in the Journal for the History of Modern Theology.

I hope to add more in due course.

For an introduction to Mascall and his context, try this conversation on the Holy C. of E. podcast.