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‘Blessed are the Pacifists’: E. W. Barnes of Birmingham and Pacifism, 1914–45

Parker, Stephen (2009) ‘Blessed are the Pacifists’: E. W. Barnes of Birmingham and Pacifism, 1914–45. Midland History, 34 (2). pp. 204-219. ISSN Print: 0047-729X Online: 1756-381X

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The contribution of E.W. Barnes, bishop of Birmingham 1924–1953, is dealt with only in passing in the historiography of both pacifi sm and the Church of England, and then somewhat scathingly. This is somewhat surprising given the durability of his personal absolute pacifi st conviction and his clear pastoral role to many leading Christian pacifi sts of the time. Seeking to remedy this historiographical oversight, this paper traces the origin of Barnes’s moral conviction and the measure of his contribution in terms of his interaction with many Christian and non-Christian pacifi st individuals and groups in Birmingham and elsewhere against the backdrop of world events. Barnes’s contribution requires such reassessment, for though he lacked the common touch and charisma to make a popular leader, his infl uence upon the movement was manifest. Of particular note is the clear infl uence of Barnes’s eugenics upon his conceptualisation of pacifi sm.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords: Birmingham, Church of England, eugenics, pacifism, second world war
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Education
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Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 17 May 2016 14:39
Last Modified: 17 May 2016 14:39

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