Philip Coupland

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Book - 2006

Britannia, Europa and Christendom: 

British Christians and European Integration

Philip M. Coupland, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006 (ISBN: 1403939128)

 


‘This scholarly historical analysis of a British Christian elite searching, amidst the ruins of Christendom, for a ‘United Europe’, from 1945 to the present, is at the same time a stimulating contribution to current debate about Europe’s ‘soul’ (or lack of one).’

Keith Robbins, Professor Emeritus, University of Wales, Lampeter.

Britannia, Europa and Christendom reveals the important, but little known, role of the Christian Churches in debates on the question of Britain and a united Europe. The discussion ranges from the now forgotten British federalist boom of the 1930s and 1940s, through the Cold War and the ups and downs of Britain's fraught post-war relationship with the European Movement, to its belated membership of the European Union. In so doing, it brings to light the elite webs of influence linking Christians and politicians and examines their sometimes problematic nature. Similarly, it shows the complex, ambivalent and conflicting relationships between national identity and Christian universalism, and between Britain's heritage as a world imperial power, a European nation, and its status as the junior partner in the 'transatlantic alliance'. It also comments on the place of Europe's Christian heritage today, at the beginning of what may be a new era of conflict between West and East.


 CONTENTS:  Introduction - Christian Peace Aims and Federal Europe - Britain, America and Europe - The Future of Europe, 1944-45 - The Churches, the European Movement, and Western Union - Christian Action and The Christian Movement for European Unity - Christendom, Communism, and the Division of Europe - Christians and the Common Market - Conclusion


FROM REVIEWS:

 ‘This is an extremely interesting, thorough and well-written book which deals with the relationship between Britain and the rest of Europe, as well as the role of Christianity in the development of these bonds. Under the current circumstances this could not be more topical […] There is no doubt that this book is timely and provocative and I have no hesitation in recommending it to all scholars with an interest in the law, sociology, history and religion.’

Janvier Oliva, University of Bangor (Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 59, 2008)

 

‘[An] admirably researched and detailed work’

The Very Revd Dr John Arnold, Dean Emeritus of Durham and a former President of the Conference of European Churches (Church Times, 8 June 2007, p. 29)

 

‘The relevance of the story told in this book for events today is obvious and important [...] it highlights the historical theme of Britain’s ambiguous attitude to Europe. [...] it casts valuable light on the role of religion in constructing ideas about British national identity and on the part these ideas have played in keeping the British psychologically isolated from integrative developments on the continent. Finally, this book reminds us of the sheer ideological dominance of the British state in the post-war era.’

Oliver Daddow, Loughborough University (European History Quarterly April 2009 vol. 39 no. 2 317-319)


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