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Basel’s link to the Church of England

Over a period of 600 years, Basel and the church in England influenced each other, as Ettingen resident Bryan Stone, originally born in England, shows in his book «Basel and the Church in England» – an English-language contribution to Basel’s Erasmus Year

Team TBJ

This year Basel is commemorating an immigrant, one of its most famous expats, actually. In this very city in 1516, Erasmus of Rotterdam published a critical edition of the New Testament, in its original ancient Greek text version; the book had been printed by his close friend, book printer and publisher Johann Froben. Thus the renowned humanist from the Netherlands had laid the foundation for critical studies of the Bible.

500 years later Basel is celebrating one of its most famous former inhabitants, with various exhibitions and events taking place in churches, museums and the university. Erasmus had been held in such high esteem at the time that after his death in 1536 he was buried in the Minster of Basel that had then already become a protestant town. Erasmus, however, being a theologian and catholic priest as well, had always rejected the reformation.
As Bryan Stone shows, there are links between Henry VIII, initiator of the reformation in England and thus of the Church of England, and humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam (right), who is buried in Basel’s Minster.

Now a book about “Basel and the Church in England” makes an English-language contribution to Basel’s Erasmus Year. It has been written by Bryan Stone, born 1938 in Walsall (England), now living in Ettingen just outside Basel, and for many years he was also head of the church council of the Anglican Church in Basel. With the help of various libraries – in churches, universities and other places – and public archive collections both in England and here in Basel, he thoroughly researched the topic, allowing the book to deliver unique insights.

The book was started in 2003 as a series of articles, in English, for the Anglican Church in Basel (ACB), founded at the Three Kings Hotel in 1854 – The Basel Journal already once covered the ACB in one of its print issues (#12, November/December 2013). In over 270 pages, Stone narrates about events and persons in a clear, concise, informative and entertaining way, covering 600 years of surprisingly complex relations and influences.

Along with Erasmus of Rotterdam, the author also mentions, among others, John Wycliffe, the Council of Basel, England’s King Henry VIII, the reformation or those dissidents who fled the dangers and persecution during the reign of Mary Tudor. These are just a few of the persons and events that Stone mentions in his book. At the same time, this also clearly shows how Basel’s humanists and scholars helped and supported the evolving protestant church in England, and how English influences in Basel helped inspire and promote missionary expeditions all over the world.


Stone, Bryan
Basel and the Church in England
600 years of theological, political and cultural connections between Basel and the Church in England

Frankfurter Taschenbuchverlag 2016

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