Saturday, May 14, 2005

Hugh Montefiore (1920-2005)

From today's Guardian news of the death of Hugh Montefiore, whom many will know for his NT scholarship, but also as a very important figure in the Church. I first heard of him from his book on Thomas, and was then excited to find out that the Bishop of Birmingham was in fact the same person:

The Rt Rev Hugh Montefiore
Progressive Anglican theologian and cleric who spoke up for literary freedom, women priests and the environment
Michael de-la-Noy
. . . . After war service with a commission in the Royal Artillery, he was ordained deacon in 1949, at the age of 29, and was priested a year later. After serving a brief curacy in Newcastle, he was appointed, in 1951, as chaplain and tutor at the Cambridge theological college, Westcott House.

Two years later, Montefiore's gifts as a New Testament scholar ensured that he was appointed vice principal of the college, a post from which he inexplicably resigned without having another job to go to - a "lunatic thing to do", as he later admitted. Nevertheless, in 1954 he began a distinguished, nine-year stint as fellow and dean of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, during the last four years of which he combined the post with that of university lecturer in New Testament studies . . . .

. . . . .Just as remarkable as his appointment as bishop of Kingston was his preferment in 1978 as bishop of Birmingham. His was the first appointment recommended by the newly constituted Crown Appointments Commission, and it is reasonable to assume that, under the previous system of choosing bishops on the old-boy network, he would never have become a diocesan . . . .

. . . . Both Aberdeen and Birmingham universities conferred honorary doctorates on Montefiore, due recognition of his scholarship and learning; between 1954 and 2002, he wrote, edited or contributed to some 40 books, publishing in 1995 a breezy autobiography with the snappy title, Oh God, What Next? For many years, he wrote a weekly article for the Church Times . . . .
Update (21.28):

Telegraph obituary

Times obituary

Bishop and eco-warrier (85) dies
(BBC Birmingham)

1 comment:

lizw said...

I am sorry to hear of his death. I met him at the first "Gospel and our Culture" conference, in 1990 - he was very kind to me, and very willing to listen (I remember that we disagreed over the relative importance of the Crucifixion and the Incarnation).

Liz W