Tomkins, Stephen 1968-

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Tomkins, Stephen 1968-

PERSONAL:

Born 1968; married; children: two. Education: Holds a B.A. and a Ph.D. Hobbies and other interests: Writing and playing music, and "creative bookshelf management."

ADDRESSES:

Home—London, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, preacher, youth group leader. Worked variously as a gas station attendant and insurance broker.

WRITINGS:

My Ministry Manual, SPCK (London, England), 2002.

John Wesley: A Biography, Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI) 2003.

Paul and His World, Lion (Oxford, England), 2004.

A Short History of Christianity, Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 2006.

William Wilberforce: A Biography, Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 2007.

Third Way, reviews editor; Ship of Fools, contributing editor.

SIDELIGHTS:

Stephen Tomkins is a writer and theologian whose work focuses on historical religious figures and the history of religions themselves. His first major book, John Wesley: A Biography, takes an in-depth look at the founder of the Methodist branch of Christianity, and was very well received by critics upon its release in time for the three hundredth anniversary of Wesley's birth. Tompkins used a wide range of source material in the writing of his work, including previous biographies, Wesley's own journal and letters, and the writings of Wesley's friends and associates. The book looks not only at Wesley's religious activities, but at his relationships and the ways in which he conducted his private affairs. Ray Olson, writing in Booklist, called Wesley "a fascinating figure, fascinatingly limned." Edward T. Oakes, writing for First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, remarked that, "as Stephen Tomkins explains at the conclusion of his almost novelistic biography, Wesley fascinates because he embodied so many of the conflicts of his age and fused them into a life of remarkable achievement."

In A Short History of Christianity, Tomkins offers readers a brief overview of Christianity from its earliest days to the election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. The purpose is not to provide in-depth analysis, but to narrate the history of the religion for those not familiar with it. Reviewing in Library Journal, Pius Charles Murray commented that the result was insufficiently rooted in history, stating: "This work seems less an example of solid scholarship than a reflective personal essay."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August 1, 2003, Ray Olson, review of John Wesley: A Biography, p. 1932; October 1, 2003, review of John Wesley, p. 285.

First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, December 1, 2004, "Zealous for Perfection," p. 52.

Library Journal, August 1, 2006, Pius Charles Murray, review of A Short History of Christianity, p. 96.

Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 2003, review of John Wesley, p. 27.

ONLINE

Lion Publishing Web site,http://www.lion-publishing.co.uk/ (July 17, 2007), author biography.

Stephen Tomkins Home Page, http://www.btinternet.com/˜stevetom/index.htm (July 17, 2007).