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ISBN 978-0-9539-405-23
(Privately Published)

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Confessor to the Last of the Habsburgs: Vitus Georg Tönneman.S.J (1659-1740)

An illustrated compilation from published and unpublished sources, including original correspondence.

Tönneman, from Westphalia, Germany, arrived in Vienna in 1694, an academic from Paderborn University, and speedily became known at the Habsburg court for his legal expertise. By 1701, he was appointed a tutor to Joseph von Lothringen. In 1705 he left Vienna for Barcelona, appointed by Leopold I as the new Confessor to his son Charles, claimant to the Spanish crown (the war of the Spanish Succession). For the remainder of his long life, he would be at Charles’ side. Charles assumed the mantle of Holy Roman Emperor unexpextedly in 1711. Both men died in 1740. Charles was succeeded by his daughter Maria Theresa. His granddaughter was the ill-fated Marie-Antoinette.

This short study is based upon German family records. The confessor is an ancestor of the author, Helena Thonemann, who studied Philosophy and Economics at the London School of Economics in the 1960’s.

Topics: European History, Habsburg History, 18th Century Jesuits

“A study of an almost forgotten figure in some of the most dramatic years of Habsburg history. Georg Tönneman was confessor to Charles VI (Holy Roman Emperor 1711-1740) throughout his reign. This attractively illustrated gem of a study includes extracts from Tönneman’s letters held in Jesuit College in Paderborn, and a well-researched annotated translation of a valuable eulogy, written anonymously in 1740. This book should stimulate researchers eager to delve further into the hidden depths of eighteenth-century Austrian history.”
Alan Palmer (Author of The Twilight of the Habsburgs – London and New York, 1994)

“The book is of valuable historical interest to our society.”
Reverend Bernard Hall.S.J. (Rome).

ISBN 978-0-9539-405-30
(Privately Published)

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‘Educated Circles and Their Mode of Reasoning: Lux Mundi – Essay VIII (1889): Professor T.H. Huxley Versus Bishop Charles Gore’

“In the closing years of the nineteenth century a collection of theological essays was published, by a group of Oxford academics (three of whom were to become Bishops), under the editorship of Charles Gore, titled ‘Lux Mundi’. (The  Light of the World). The essayists faced the problems of the new ideas in science (Darwinism in particular) and critical biblical analysis head on…”

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Published Articles

‘Peter Fyfe (1854-1940): First Director of Municipal Housing in Glasgow’

(Journal of the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland: Summer 2012.) Accessible on the REHIS website.

My great grandfather. A social reformer – tirelessly working for better conditions for the many in Victorian Glasgow. His photographs are preserved, and his collected lectures may hopefully be published.

Topics: British/Scottish social history – 19th and early 20th Century.

Journal article by Helena Fyfe Thonemann – 2012, REHIS

Accessible HERE

David Hume: ‘Essay on miracles revisited’

(also a comment on the added page of the ‘Dialogues concerning Natural Religion’). Faith and Freedom journal article; (Volume 71, Summer 2018).

“The last page of the Dialogues – added in his last weeks – is Hume’s dying testament to posterity” on theism.

(The Late Professor) M.A. Stewart

Topics: Philosophy of Religion, Theism.

Journal article by Helena Fyfe Thonemann – 2018, Faith and Freedom journal.

Printable PDF

Helena Fyfe Thonemann gives us her exegesis of ‘Christ’s fury in the Jerusalem Temple at Passover, and the problem of vicarious sacrifice’ which looks at the meaning of communion in the context of replacing the covenant of the Old Testament

‘Christ’s fury in the Temple at Passover, and the problem of vicarious sacrifice – a personal view.’

Faith and Freedom journal: Volume 74, Winter 2021. (A note in acknowledgment and part support of Professor Bruce Chilton). Christ’s motives, in historical context, for the Temple disturbance, and subsequent Last Supper with His disciples.

Topics: The Gospel Texts (Christian)