Stuart George Hall

Stuart HallStuart George Hall was born on June 7, 1928. After military service, he studied classics and theology before entering New College, Oxford (BA, 1952; MA, 1955). Hall was ordained deacon in the Church of England at that time and began parish ministry. Four years later, he was tutor at Queen’s College, Birmingham (1958-1962), where he became a lecturer in theology. He transferred to the University of Nottingham (1962-1973), before Dr. Hall became professor of ecclesiastical history at King’s College, London (1978-1990). He then returned to parish life with the Scottish Episcopal Church in Fife, the third most populated region; it includes St. Andrews (1990). He served as president of the Ecclesiastical History Society and as priest in charge of St John’s Pittenweem and St Michael’s Elie (1990-1998). Hall became an honorary research professor in theology at St. Andrews in 1992. He is an expert in the early church and New Testament and has written extensively in those fields as well as the liturgy. Hall has published texts on patristic writers, especially Melito of Sardis and Gregory of Nyssa, and is a member of International Association of Patristic Studies.

S. G. Hall was interested in my new publishing company called Bibliographics, Inc. that reproduced outstanding journal articles no longer available to both scholars and students. This, of course, was before the dawn of the Internet, but in reality most, if not all, such published research remains inaccessible in any form. We met on October 18, 1988, in his office at King’s College London. He pulled out a chair and asked a bit about my projects with the Archive. I handed him ten edited articles already offered in our catalog. He selected one that J. Rendel Harris published prior to his monumental treatment of the Didache and browsed through it. He asked how this project was funded, and I told him that it was made available on demand. That approach intrigued him, since it enabled hundreds of texts to circulate instantly with little upfront capital. I informed him that thirty documents were completed, and then I sought advice regarding their distribution in the UK.

He scanned through a few more before a reply, “You may have created a new market for forgotten articles such as these.” He asked to keep the Harris work and said that he would read it thoroughly and send his reply via mail in a few weeks. Twelve days later his response arrived, and it was not as encouraging as I hoped. While the style was acceptable, the editing was too severe to enable the nuances of the writer to take hold of a reader. He therefore did not recommend their distribution. I was dismayed, to say the least, but in hindsight he saved me considerable embarrassment. This single criticism compelled me to reevaluate the entire project, and that ultimately led to the formation of ChurchHistory.com, a website that made such articles available to users all around the world, except rather than editing the text we scanned and cleaned them for access online. At the time, this company was one of the largest data sites on the Internet.

Click below to read Dr. Hall’s initial letter. Stuart Hall Letter