The Full Wiki

More info on John Cornwell (writer)

John Cornwell (writer): Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

John Cornwell (born 1940) is an Englishmarker journalist and author, and a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridgemarker. He is best known for various books on the Papacy, most notably Hitler's Pope; investigative journalism; memoir; and the public understanding of science and philosophy. More recently he has been concerned with the relationship between science, ethics and the humanities.

Early life

John Cornwell was born in London, the son of Sidney Arthur Cornwell and Kathleen Egan Cornwell.

Cornwell entered the junior seminary, Cotton College, in 1953 intending to become a priest. He wrote a memoir on his five years at Cotton. He continued to the senior seminary Oscott College, Sutton Coldfield, in 1958.

After leaving the seminary, in the 1960s Cornwell studied at Oxford and Cambridge, graduating in 1964 in English Language and Literature. After studying at Christ's College, Cambridgemarker, as a graduate student, he taught in London schools, and at McMaster University, Ontario. His first two books were novels: The Spoiled Priest, and Seven Other Demons.

In 1973 he published a critical biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Coleridge, poet and revolutionary (1772–1804).

A Thief in the Night

His 1989 book A Thief in the Night investigates the 1978 death of Pope John Paul I, which was surrounded by conspiracy theories. Though Cornwell sharply criticized Vatican prelates, he concluded that the Pope was not murdered but died of a pulmonary embolism, possibly brought on by overwork and neglect.

Hitler's Pope

In 1999, Cornwell published Hitler's Pope, in which he accuses Pope Pius XII of assisting in the legitimization of the Nazi regime in Germany through the pursuit of a Reichskonkordat in 1933 and of remaining silent during the Holocaust.

Five years after the publication of Hitler's Pope, Cornwell had somewhat modified his views: "I would now argue, in the light of the debates and evidence following Hitler's Pope, that Pius XII had so little scope of action that it is impossible to judge the motives for his silence during the war, while Rome was under the heel of Mussolini and later occupied by Germany."

Further works

In 2004, Cornwell followed up Hitler's Pope with Hitler's Scientists.

In the same year, Cornwell published A Pontiff in Winter, a work highly critical of Pope John Paul II. The Washington Post said book "dissects the record of John Paul II's pontificate with an informed, dispassionate and fully convincing authority" " Damian Thompson, editor of The Catholic Herald criticized it as "sympathetic" and "a hatchet job"

Science, Ethics and Humanities

Cornwell is also Director of the Science and Human Dimension Project at Jesus College, Cambridgemarker. This is a public understanding of science, medicine and ethics project. In this capacity, since 1990, he has brought together some of the world's leading scientists, philosophers, ethicists, authors and journalists to debate and discuss a range of topics. He criticized "reductionist brain science" for "its failure even to mention, let alone give an account of, human imagination".

In 2006 and 2007, he criticized Richard Dawkins and his book The God Delusion for its extremist tone as well as for lapses in logic, imagination and understanding. Cornwell followed up these articles with his book Darwin's Angel, published in 2007.

In 2003, he praised Daniel Goldhagen's controversial book, A Moral Reckoning.

In 2009, he was appointed founding Director of the Rustat Conferences, also based at Jesus College, Cambridgemarker. The Rustat Conferences bring together academics with leaders from the frontline of politics, business, the media and education to discuss the vital issues of the day in a roundtable format. The first two meetings in 2009 discussed the global Economic Crisis, and the Future of Democracy.


  • The Spoiled Priest (1969)
  • Seven Other Demons (1971)
  • Coleridge, poet and revolutionary (1772–1804). A critical biography (1973)
  • Earth to Earth (1982)
  • A Thief in the Night: The Mysterious Death of Pope John Paul I (1989)
  • Powers of Darkness, Powers of Light (1991)

  • Strange Gods (1993)
  • Nature's Imagination (editor) (1995)
  • The Power to Harm: Mind, Medicine, and Murder on Trial (1998)
  • Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (1999)
  • Consciousness and Human Identity (editor) (2001)
  • Hitler's Scientists: Science, War, and the Devil's Pact (2004)
  • Explanations: Styles of Explanation in Science (editor) (2004)
  • A Pontiff in Winter (2004)
  • Seminary Boy (2006)
  • Darwin's Angel (2007)
  • Philosophers and God: At the Frontiers of Faith and Reason (with Michael McGhee) (2009)


  1. Economist, Dec. 9, 2004.
  2. James Carroll, " The Pope and His Legacy", The Washington Post, 30 January 2005.
  3. Damian Thompson, " Is he on the side of the angels?", Daily Telegraph, 14 November 2004.
  4. Chris McGillion, " Religion versus science might be all in the mind,, April 29, 2003.
  5. John Cornwell, " A Christmas thunderbolt for the arch-enemy of religion". Times Online, December 24, 2006.
  6. John Cornwell, " The importance of doubt", The Guardian, August 30, 2007.

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address