Study of the John Hick Archives published

Throughout his retirement, John Hick, the Philosopher of Religious Pluralism, collated a collection of papers in his home office, which had built up over the course of his career. Until now, the contents of this collection remained unknown.

The collection totals 40 boxes of material and has been donated by the Hick family to the Cadbury Research Library at the University of Birmingham. It is a remarkable collection, which contains a lifetime’s work, including: unpublished manuscripts, journal articles, lectures, interviews on VHS and DVD, sermons, and diaries which he kept during his work with the Community Race Relations Committee, and SACRE (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education).

Of particular interest have been the correspondences Hick has kept with his former colleagues, interlocutors, critiques as well as other notable figures. Some of these correspondences include letters written, to use Hick’s own words, in ‘almost undecipherable’  handwriting from Norman Kemp Smith, Donald MacKinnon, and Ramu Gandhi. Further letters are from other key figures in Hick’s life, including: T. E. Jessop, H. H. Farmer, H. H. Price, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Peter Heath, and Paul Knitter. There are other letters from some notable figures such as: John A. T. Robinson, Karen Armstrong, and Desmond Tutu. A few of the letters contain quite a fierce exchange, noting in particular those between Hick and Antony Flew, Don Cupitt, Charles Hartshorne, and the then Cardinal Ratzinger. The John Hick Estate and the Spalding Trust have generously funded my research into the archived papers.

Thomas William Ruston (PhD student, Department of Philosophy)