George Ella has written a thorough and often compelling account of the life and ministry of one of the most important of our forgotten reformers – Henry Bullinger. As well as justifying Bullinger’s enduring importance, this biography demonstrates Ella’s wide learning and is most useful in making accessible the substantial body of Bullinger scholarship which has been published in languages other than English.
Dr Ella is as well known for polemical writing as he is for his historical abilities. This biography of Bullinger combines both of these interests. In Ella’s account, Bullinger is representative of a variety of Reformed theology that offers a useful corrective to those described by Ella as ‘modern would-be Calvinists’. It is nevertheless an ironic conclusion, since Ella’s Bullinger is represented as a significant influence on Calvin’s evolving thought.
This biography is often complex and demanding in its arguments, and will repay careful reading. Its fine historical scholarship will probably be most useful to those who have a substantial grasp of sixteenth century religious contexts. Such readers may also be best placed to evaluate Dr Ella’s distinctive theological claims.