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Rupp, Professor Ernest Gordon, FBA
1910-1986; e.m. 1934

Born in London on 7 January 1910. He worked in commerce and in a bank before reading History at King's College, London under Norman Sykes, with a view to become a teacher. He trained for the ministry at Wesley House, Cambridge 1933-1936, gaining a first class in theology; then spent a year as a Finch Scholar at Strasbourg and Basle. After eight years as minister at Chiselhurst and a year as President's Assistant to R.Newton Flew, he taught Church History at Richmond College 1947-1952 and in the Cambridge Divinity Faculty 1952-1956. He was awarded the DD (Cantab) in 1955 and in 1956 became the first Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Manchester University, where as Public Orator his proverbial wit and eloquence found full scope. He returned to Cambridge in 1967 as Principal of Wesley House and played an active part in forming the Cambridge Federation of Theological Colleges. The University appointed him Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Emmanuel College made him a Fellow. He was President of the Conference in 1968.

His Martin Luther, Hitler's Cause - or Cure? (1945) heralded the arrival of a distinguished Luther scholar. His later researches in that field were published in Luther's Progress to the Diet of Worms (1951) and The Righteousness of God (1953). His thesis for the Cambridge BD was published in 1947 as Studies in the Making of the English Protestant Tradition. In 1967 he gave the Peake Memorial Lecture on 'The Word and the Words. His last book was Religion in England 1688-1791 (1986). A committed ecumenist, he served on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, was an official observer at the Second Vatican Council and ardently supported the Anglican-Methodist Scheme of Unity. He died at Cambridge on 19 December 1986.


  • Conference Handbook, 1968
  • Methodist Recorder, 13 June 1968; 1 & 8 Jan 1987; 21 August 2008
  • A. Raymond George, in WHS Proceedings, 46 pp.19-20
  • John Munsey Turner, 'Gordon Rupp as Historian', in Epworth Review, January 1991, pp.70-82
  • Peter N. Brooks, in Proceedings of the British Academy, 80 pp.493-98
  • E.G. Rupp, Wisdom and Wit(Peterborough, 1994), pp.1-4
  • Oxford DNB

Entry written by: JAN
Category: Person


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