Parrinder, Dr Edward Geoffrey
1910-2005; e.m. 1932

Deemed by Prof. Ursula King 'the doyen of Methodist scholars in the field of inter-faith studies', he was born on 30 April 1910 at Barnet. After training at Richmond College, he became a missionary in Dahomey (now Benin), French West Africa in 1933, where his study of West African religion gained him a PhD. From 1949 he served in Nigeria as lecturer in Religious Studies in the University of Ibadan and his thesis on Religion in an African City was submitted for a DD. From 1958 he was appointed Reader, and then Professor in Comparative Religion at King's College, London. In 1966-69 he gave the Wilde Lectures in Natural and Comparative Religion at Oxford, published as Avatar and Incarnation. He aimed to strike a balance between relativizing differences between religions and stressing the unique claims of the Christian faith. A prolific author, he was a pioneer in popularizing the study of world religions and helped to introduce the teaching of other faiths into schools. In his later years he was president of the International Association for the History of Religions and honorary life president of the London Society of Jews and Christians. He died at Orpington on 16 June 2005.

  • G. Ainger in Epworth Review, Jan. 1995
  • Martin Forward, A Bag of Needments: Geoffrey Parrinder and the Study of Religion (1998)
  • Methodist Recorder, 4 May 2000; 5 January 2006


Entry written by: DJC
Category: Person
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