Confronting the Church's Past

An interview with Eamon Duffy

Eamon Duffy, professor in church history at the University of Cambridge, is one of the leading contemporary historians of the church. His landmark book The Stripping of the Altars (Yale) challenged the reigning Protestant account of the English Reformation. He also authored a highly acclaimed book on papal history, Saints and Sinners (Yale). He was invited by the Vatican last fall to participate in the symposium examining the history of the Inquisition. Raymond de Souza spoke with Duffy in his office at Magdalene College in Cambridge, England. 

Raymond de Souza: Is there a specifically Christian way of doing the work of a historian?  

Eamon Duffy: I do not think there is a Christian shape to history in the sense that things move according to God’s plan in any discernible way. I think a Christian approaches history with a sense that human life matters and has meaning and that it is both possible and important to tell the truth. Perhaps that constitutes a Christian approach to history because none of those things can be taken for granted now,...

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About the Author

The Reverend Raymond J. de Souza is a chaplain at Queen's University in Ontario.