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Bishop Stephen Neill

From Edinburgh to South India


Dyron Daughrity

Bishop Stephen Neill (1900-1984) was one of the most gifted figures of world Christianity during the twentieth century. Once referred to as a «much-tempted, brilliant, enigmatic man» his voluminous writings reveal little about the scholar himself. From his birth in Edinburgh to his stellar student career in Cambridge to his meteoric rise through the clerical ranks in South India, Bishop Neill’s life was also riddled with discord.
Based on interviews and archival research in India and England, Bishop Stephen Neill: From Edinburgh to South India answers many of the questions surrounding this distinguished Christian statesman’s conflicted life up to the abrupt and puzzling termination of his bishopric.
This biographical work takes the reader deep into the life and times of one of the doyens of Christian missions. Intersecting with many remarkable personalities during the first half of his life – William Temple, Amy Carmichael, Malcolm Muggeridge, V. S. Azariah, A. D. Nock, Foss Westcott, and Verrier Elwin – Neill’s legacy remains. Through his life, readers will enter into the interwoven contexts of India and England during the final decades of the British Raj. Students of Christian missions and world Christianity will find this book indispensable to their libraries.

«Stephen Neill is both one of the most brilliant and one of the most complex figures in the long history of the interaction between European and Indian Christians. Dyron B. Daughrity’s book is most welcome, reminding us that in the process of cultural encounters, ordinary human failings can sometimes appear writ large.» (Brian Stanley, Director, Henry Martyn Centre, Westminster College, Cambridge, United Kingdom)
«Despite prolific scholarship, reflected in some sixty-five books, Stephen Neill’s early career, as a missionary and bishop in Tirunelveli (South India), has been shrouded in mystery. This Dyron B. Daughrity has lifted. In probing relations between Indian Christians and European missionaries, relations beset by human frailty, he has made a salutary contribution to our understanding of this remarkable, if complex, individual.» (Robert Eric Frykenberg, Professor Emeritus of History and South Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin – Madison)