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Philip Edgecumbe Hughes

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Philip Edgecumbe Hughes

For American Roman Catholic historian, see Philip Hughes (Catholic historian).

Philip Edgcumbe Hughes (Australia, 1915 – Rydal, Pennsylvania, USA, 1990) was an Anglican clergyman and New Testament scholar [1] whose life spanned four continents: Australia, where he was born; South Africa, where he spent his formative years; England, where he was ordained; and the USA, where he died in 1990, aged 75.[2]


Dr. Hughes was born in Australia and received his B.A., M.A., and D.L.H. from the University of Cape Town, B.D. from the University of London, and Th.D. from the Australian College of Theology.

Hughes grew up in South Africa, and took his first degree there just before World War II. While there he was a member of The Church of England in South Africa, briefly served as one of its ministers, and was a commissary to the CESA Presiding Bishop.

In 1940 Hughes moved to England to attend Tyndale Hall, Bristol, and was ordained priest in 1941. After some years of pastoral work, he returned to the institution from 1947 to 1953 as tutor and Vice-principal. Along with Geoffrey Bromiley and Stafford Wright, he established an enviable reputation for Tyndale Hall as a conservative evangelical college with a serious interest in theology and a loyalty to historic Anglicanism.

From 1953 to 1956 he was Secretary of Church Society; and from 1959 to 1967 editor of Church Society’s journal, The Churchman.

From 1964 he moved to the United States to teach at American seminaries, including Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia (1964-1968), Westminster Theological Seminary,[3] Philadelphia, PA, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, MA, and Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA.

While living and teaching in Pennsylvania, he was Associate Rector at St. John's Episcopal Church, Huntingdon Valley.

In theology Hughes was a firm Calvinist, but had the breadth of sympathies of a true scholar. As a staunch Anglican, he threw himself into the life of the Episcopal Church (United States) and sought to strengthen the cause of orthodoxy there in difficult times. His writings are solid in substance and graceful in prose style. His Greek was excellent, and three of his chief books are commentaries on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Book of Revelation. In doctrine, his great work is The True Image: The Origin and Destiny of Man in Christ, on the Christian doctrine of man. He wrote studies on the precursors of the Reformers: Lefèvre: Pioneer of Ecclesiastical Renewal in France and an unpublished thesis on Pico della Mirandola. He also translated Pierre-Charles Marcel's Biblical Doctrine of Infant Baptism, which had great influence. For some years he ably edited The Churchman.

Hughes was a modest and friendly man who nevertheless spoke his mind fearlessly. In his leisure time he enjoyed playing the piano.

Selected Works


  • The Book of the Revelation: A Commentary, published by InterVarsity Press in 1990 for what has become the Pillar New Testament Commentary series. It is now out of print and will be replaced in the series by D. A. Carson’s treatment of Revelation.
  • The True Image: The Origin and Destiny of Man in Christ, 1989
  • No Cross, No Crown: The Temptations of Jesus, 1988
  • Lefèvre: Pioneer of Ecclesiastical Renewal in France, 1984
  • Christian Ethics in Secular Society, 1983
  • Faith and Works: Cranmer and Hooker on Justification, 1982
  • Hope for a Despairing World: The Christian Answer to The Problem of Evil, 1977
  • A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 1977
  • Interpreting Prophecy: An Essay in Biblical Perspectives, 1976
  • Guidelines: Anglican Evangelicals Face the Future, 1967
  • Creative Minds in Contemporary Theology: A Guidebook to the Principal Teachings of Karl Barth, G. C. Berkouwer, Emil Brunner, Rudolf Bultmann, Oscar Cullmann, James Denney, C. H. Dodd, Herman Dooyeweerd, P. T. Forsyth, Charles Gore, Reinhold Niebuhr, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Paul Tillich, 1966
  • The Register of the Company of Pastors of Geneva in the Time of Calvin, 1966
  • Philosophy and Christianity, 1965
  • Evangelicals and Unity, 1964
  • But for the Grace of God: Divine Initiative and Human Need (Christian Foundations Series No. 2), 1964
  • Christianity and the Problems of Origins, 1964
  • Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians: The English Text with Introduction, Exposition and Notes, New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1962
  • Theology of the English Reformers, 1960, pdf
  • Scripture and Myth: An Examination of Rudolph Bultmann’s Plea for Demythologization, 1956

Churchman articles

  • (Churchman 111/4 1997)
  • (Churchman 89/1 1975)
  • (Churchman 78/4 1964)
  • (Churchman 76/3 1962)
  • (Churchman 65/3 1951)


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