Election of New Fellows

We are pleased to announce the election to the Society of ten new Fellows:

Peter Brown is probably the most eminent living scholar of Christian Antiquity. Born in Ireland in 1935, he has since the 1960s produced a stream of seminal books and articles, including a celebrated biography of Augustine (1967), an influential revisionist survey, The World of Late Antiquity (1971), and a number of works on holy men, the sacred, religious authority and how these shaped and were shaped by the society of their day. He was made FBA in his 36th year and after a fellowship at All Souls, became Professor successively at Royal Holloway, Berkeley and Princeton, where he is now Rollins Professor of History Emeritus. He has won numerous prizes, including this year the Dan David Prize for interdisciplinary research; he has honorary doctorates from some twenty institutions, including Oxford, Cambridge, KCL, Trinity Dublin, Harvard, Columbia, Chicago and Pisa; he has delivered numerous prestigious named lectures and lecture series; and he is connected with or has been honoured by learned societies across Europe. His work is credited both with bringing coherence to the study of Late Antiquity as a field, and has done much to pioneer the use of sociological and anthropological methods as tools for historical analysis. Most importantly for this society, he has demonstrated the centrality of religion to processes of social and cultural change, an endeavour in which he continues to be engaged.

Professor Isabel Rivers is an intellectual historian of the long eighteenth century (1660-1830), with particular interests in the history of religion and the history of the book. Her numerous publications deal with the history of Dissenting, Methodist and Evangelical literary culture, and authors ranging from Bunyan to Hume, through Doddridge, Law, Whitefield, and John Wesley. She co-founded the Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies with David Wykes when she joined QMUL in September 2004. Previously she had worked at Oxford, Leicester, Cambridge, and UEA. She is the leader of the Dissenting Academies Projectset up in 2006 in order to provide a comprehensive history of the Protestant dissenting academies (1660-1860). The project has partly been funded by several major grants, especially from the Leverhulme Trust and the AHRC Religion and Society Programme. It combines an archive-based approach with an innovative use of digital resources, has already published two fully searchable databases online, and a multi-authored volume to be published by CUP is in preparation. She joined the EHS in 2006.

Caroline Walker Bynum (see https://www.hs.ias.edu/bynum/cv) has been one of the towering figures among American historians of the past decades. Born in 1941, her distinguished academic career progressed from a first post at Harvard to culminate in appointment in 2003 as Professor of Medieval European History at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton – one of the pinnacles (if not indeed the pinnacle) of academic posts among American medievalists. (She has been emerita since 2011.) Her work has received extensive formal recognition with presidencies of major American learned societies, a string of honorary degrees, and formal state honours. Most of her work falls under the EHS umbrella, although more in the sphere of history of mentalities than of institutions, and considerably stretching the boundaries in work notably on ‘the body’ and ‘materiality’. Initially noted as a feminist historian, she has produced a succession of seminal works which underpin many recent developments in the broader social and cultural formulation of the history of Christianity. Working across disciplinary and other boundaries (especially with the increasing integration of art-historical approaches into her investigations), she remains an active scholar who, despite being ‘retired’ clearly has no intention to ‘retire’.

Frances Young (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Young) retired from the University of Birmingham in 2005, having been an academic within the Department of Theology since 1971, being promoted to the Edward Cadbury Chair in 1986. As well as her academic work as a theologian, she is an effective Methodist Minister. She was appointed FBA in 2004, and holds an OBE for services to Theology. Much of the historical element in her academic work (including a main paper delivered to an EHS conference and published in SCH) focuses on the early Church and its doctrinal development, but as a theologian she seeks to give the ideas and thinking of that period a contemporary resonance. Her c.v. records a stint as editor of Studia Patristica; she has a strong personal interest in the L’Arche communities. She has remained an active scholar since ‘retirement’; her most recent book is a reworking of her Bampton lectures, delivered in Oxford in 2011: God’s Presence: A Contemporary Recapitulation of Early Christianity (CUP, 2013).

Since 1 January 2013 Rowan Williams he has been Master of Magdalene College Cambridge. He studied for his doctorate at Christ Church and Wadham College Oxford, working on the Russian Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky. His career began as a lecturer at Mirfield (1975-1977). He returned to Cambridge as Tutor and Director of Studies at Westcott House. After ordination in Ely Cathedral, and serving as Honorary Assistant Priest at St George’s Chesterton, he was appointed to a University lectureship in Divinity. In 1984 he was elected a Fellow and Dean of Clare College. During his time at Clare he was arrested and fined for singing psalms as part of the CND protest at Lakenheath air-base. Then, still only 36, it was back to Oxford as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity for six years, before becoming Bishop of Monmouth, and, from 2000, Archbishop of Wales. He was awarded the Oxford higher degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and an honorary DCL degree in 2005; Cambridge followed in 2006 with an honorary DD. He holds honorary doctorates from considerably more than a dozen other universities, from St Andrews to Durham to K U Leuven, Toronto to Bonn. In 1990 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. As well as a church historian and a theologian, Dr Williams is a noted poet and translator of poetry, and, apart from Welsh, speaks or reads nine other languages. Of particular relevance to the society, he has published books on Dostoevsky, Arius, Teresa of Avila, and Sergii Bulgakov.

A few of his publications (from Wikipedia):

  • Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction (2008)
  • Wrestling with Angels: Conversations in Modern Theology, ed. Mike Higton (2007)
  • Why Study the Past? The Quest for the Historical Church (2005)
  • Silence and Honey Cakes: The Wisdom of the Desert (2003)
  • Faith and Experience in Early Monasticism (2002)
  • The Poems of Rowan Williams (2002)
  • Arius: Heresy and Tradition (2nd edn, 2001)
  • On Christian Theology (2000)
  • Teresa of Avila (1991)
  • Christianity and the Ideal of Detachment (1989)
  • Faith in the University (1989)

Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of the British Academy, and was co-editor of the Journal of Ecclesiastical History for two decades. He has written extensively on Tudor England; his biography Thomas Cranmer: a Life (Yale UP, 1996) won the Whitbread Biography, Duff Cooper and James Tait Black Prizes. More recent publications from Penguin/Allen Lane have included Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700 (appearing in the USA as The Reformation: a History), and A History of Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years (in the USA, Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years), which won the 2010 Cundill Prize; his latest book is Silence: a Christian History. He is working on a biography of Thomas Cromwell. Professor MacCulloch was the presenter on BBC4 and BBC2 of “A History of Christianity – the first 3,000 years”, which won the Radio Times Listeners’ Award in 2010, “How God made the English” (BBC2, 2012) and “Henry VIII’s fixer: the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell” (BBC2, 2013); his BBC2 series Sex and the Westwas aired in spring 2015.

André Vauchez is a French medievalist specialising in the history of Christian spirituality. He studied at the École normale supérieure and the École française de Rome. His thesis, defended in 1978, was published in English as Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages in 1987 and has become a standard and deeply influential reference work as have many of his other publications. Vauchez served as the director of medieval studies at the École française de Rome (1972–1979), Director of studies at the French CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research), and Professor of medieval history at the University of Rouen (1980–1982) and at the University of Paris X Nanterre (1983–1995). He was awarded the Balzan Prize for Medieval History in 2013 (see


His books include, as author:

·      La spiritualité du Moyen Âge occidental VIIIe–XIIIe (1975)

·      La sainteté en Occident aux derniers siècles du Moyen Âge, 1198-1431 (1981), translated into English and Italian

·      Les laïcs au Moyen Âge (1987)

·      Saints, prophètes et visionnaires : le pouvoir du surnaturel au Moyen Âge (1999)

·      François d’Assise (2009), awarded the Prix Chateaubriand 2010; translated into English, 2012.

As editor

·      Histoire du christianisme, vols IV, V & VI (1990-1993)

·      Dictionnaire encyclopédique du Moyen Âge, 2 vols (1997-1998)

·      Christianisme: dictionnaire des temps, des lieux et des figures (2010)

·      Rome au Moyen Âge (2010)

Professor Clyde Binfield has made a distinctive contribution to the field of church history, in his work on late-modern Nonconformity, combining interest in its architecture and its personalities and uncovering some of the relationship webs connecting its leaders, but always setting these in the context of a broader presentation of what was going on in that part of the religious world – socially and culturally as well as theologically and ‘politically’. Aside from this, he has also been a longstanding contributor to EHS conferences, probably doing more than he realizes to shape their erudite and friendly ethos. Better tribute has been paid by Reg Ward in his essay ‘Professor Clyde Binfield: A Critical Appreciation’, in Bebbington and Larsen’s festschrift, Modern Christianity and Cultural Aspirations (2003).

Natalie Zemon Davis is one of the pre-eminent social historians of the post-war era. Born in Detroit, she received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 1959. She subsequently taught at Brown University, the University of California Berkeley, the University of Toronto and Princeton. She is currently the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History Emerita at Princeton and Emeritus Professor of Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. She lives in Toronto. Davis is primarily a historian of the early-modern period. She started out her career writing about the social and religious worlds of print workers in sixteenth-century Lyons. Since then she has written consistently about marginalised, or what she has termed ‘decentred’, voices: women, non-Europeans and, most recently, slaves. She has written a number of books and over 80 articles and magazine pieces. Society and Culture in Early Modern France: Eight Essays (1975) was followed by The Return of Martin Guerre (1983), Fiction in the Archives (1987) Women at the Margins: three seventeenth-century lives (1995) The Gift in Sixteenth-Century France (2000) and Trickster Travels (2006). Although Davis is rarely described as a historian of religion, religion has been a consistent interest, particularly in the early part of her career. Throughout the 1970s she sought to forge a new, more nuanced way of looking at religion and its interplay with society. In particular, her article ‘Some tasks and themes in the study of popular religion’ (1974) argued that popular religion should be evaluated in its own right and not as a deviation from an institutionally approved norm. Her reflective approach to her craft, and to the practice of religious history, has provided an interpretative framework for understanding popular religion which has influenced historians well outside the early modern period.  Davis’s work has been widely acknowledged. She was awarded the Holberg International Memorial Prize in 2010, the National Humanities Medal in 2012 and made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2012. In 2013 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Andrew’s. The Central European University’s annual Natalie Zemon Davis Lecture is the only honour to highlight, in any significant way, her particular contribution to the history of religion and religious mentalities.

Professor David Hempton is currently Dean of the Harvard Divinity School, having previously held Chairs at Boston University and Queen’s University Belfast. He is internationally renowned as a leading historian of evangelicalism since the eighteenth century – especially Methodism. His publications include Methodism and Politics in British Society, 1750-1850(Stanford, 1984), winner of the Whitfield prize of the Royal Historical Society; Religion and Political Culture in Britain and Ireland (Cambridge, 1996); Methodism: Empire of the Spirit (Yale, 2005), winner of the Jesse Lee prize; and The Church in the Long Eighteenth Century (Tauris, 2011), winner of the American Society of Church History Outler Prize, 2012.