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. 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.
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:
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]
As well as these, there are (hopefully) forthcoming further studies: on Mascall’s formation in the 1930s and 1940s and his adoption of Thomism (under peer review), and on his social and economic thought (in preparation). 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.