In this interview with MRB’s editor-in-chief Timothy Michael Law, Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch discusses his aims as a historian, his prolific career in writing and on television, shifts in the field of early modern history over the past several decades, and the challenge Christianity now faces with same-sex relations.
Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church in the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the British Academy. From 1995 to 2014 he was co-editor of the Journal of Ecclesiastical History.
He has written extensively on Tudor England, the Reformation, and the history of Christianity. For his biography Thomas Cranmer: A Life (Yale, 1996), he won the Whitbread Biography, Duff Cooper, and James Tait Black Prizes. His Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700 (Penguin/Allen Lane, 2003; published in the US with Viking as The Reformation: a History) won the Wolfson History Prize in 2003 and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2004. He followed that immense work only six years later with a 1200-page encyclopedic A History of Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years (Penguin/Allen Lane, 2009; published in the US as Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years), which won the 2010 Cundill Prize, the 2010 Hessell-Tiltman History Prize by the English PEN, became a New York Times bestseller, and was listed as one of the top 100 Notable Books by the New York Times Book Review. His latest book is Silence: a Christian History(Penguin/Allen Lane, 2012).
MacCulloch has also become a leading television historian with series and shows on BBC4 and BBC2: “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). “Sex and the West” will air in the spring of 2015.
He received a knighthood in January 2012 for services to scholarship.
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