Throughout English history bishops have had a prominent role in both Church and State. Here, Beeson describes many of the greatest and most engaging among them, offering amusing detail and anecdote, as well as considering their significance in the social and ecclesiastical history of their times.
Throughout English history bishops have had a prominent role in both Church and State. They have been involved in the making and unmaking of monarchs; have played a leading part in national and local government; have sought to uphold spiritual values (though often enough have fallen victim to pride, ambition and avarice); have rarely been universally admired; yet seem certain to remain a part of the English establishment. The last two centuries have nonetheless seen radical changes in the role of bishops, corresponding to equally radical changes in church and society. At the same time the Episcopal bench has been occupied by a colourful assembly of courtiers, aristocrats, scholars, headmasters, social reformers, controversialists, heretics and some godly pastors. In this lively and entertaining volume, Beeson describes many of the greatest and most engaging among them. With a wealth of amusing detail and anecdote, as well as the essential facts, he brings the bishops alive, and considers their significance in the social and ecclesiastical history of their times. Beeson ends by asking why such able and interesting bishops are now in short supply and wonders whether the hectically busy managerial role assumed by the bishops of the new millennium represents a betrayal of the Episcopal office and a consequent weakening of the Church's witness in an increasingly secularized society. Looking not far ahead, the likely impact of women bishops is also discussed.
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About Trevor Beeson
Trevor Beeson was a Canon of Westminster Abbey for nearly eleven years and for five of these was also Rector of St Margaret's Westminster and Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. His many books include A Dean's Diary: Winchester 1987-1996, Rebels and Reformers, Window on Westminster and A Vision of Hope.
The Bishops by Trevor Beeson
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