History of Scottish Theology

About us

THE THREE VOLUMES OF HISTORY OF SCOTTISH THEOLOGY ARE NOW PUBLISHED! Available for purchase through all major online retailers. For publication details, see https://global.oup.com/academic/content/series/h/history-of-scottish-theology-hst/?lang=en&cc=us


What is their purpose and content?

A series which provides comprehensive coverage of the history of theology in Scotland is long overdue. Through monasteries, universities, colleges and churches, theologians from Scotland have made a significant contribution to their discipline. And especially at a time of concerted scholarly study of Scottish culture, a more in-depth account of the theologies that have been developed and exported to other parts of the world over the centuries is required.

Over seventy leading scholars from around the world, each with expertise in some particular period, theme or body of literature, have contributed essays to the History of Scottish Theology, co-edited by Professor David Fergusson (Edinburgh) and Professor Mark W. Elliott (Glasgow). The three volumes have been published by Oxford University Press in late 2019. A full list of contributors and their subject area is set out below. The UK Arts and Humanities Research Council provided funding towards three seminars for contributors which took place contributors from late 2016 to mid-2017.

Together the three volumes in the series present in diachronic perspective the debates, thinkers and movements that have characterized theology in Scotland and been exported overseas. Recurrent themes are assessed, alongside trends and challenges that arose through Renaissance humanism, Reformation teaching, federal theology, the Scottish Enlightenment, evangelicalism, missionary movements, Biblical criticism, idealist philosophy, dialectical theology, existentialism and secularism. Coverage of under-researched areas, including Roman Catholic, Episcopalian and Non-conformist theologies and woman writers, have also been provided.

The series combines state-of-the-art research with clear presentation of primary sources and informed comparative scholarship in closely cognate disciplines, including philosophy, politics, ecclesiastical history, and theology. The essays take cognizance of the social, ecclesial and intellectual contexts in which theology has been undertaken in Scotland.

Volume One covers the period from the monasticism of the early middle ages to the federal orthodoxy of the mid-17th century, in many ways the high-water mark of Reformed theology in Scotland. Volume Two begins with the late 17th century and the changing intellectual climate of the early Enlightenment. This proceeds through the 18th and 19th centuries, the time when newer trends in Biblical criticism, philosophy and theology, often influenced by Germans scholars, can be discerned.  Volume Three continues the story of these trends and includes exploration of key thinkers and movements until the end of the 20th century. These chronological boundaries, are not intended to be rigid however; more thematic essays aim at a broader and more synoptic perspective.

The series seeks to register the impact of Scottish theology upon national life, and also its wider international influence through the export of ideas and thinkers to other parts of the world. In addition, attention is accorded to the different contexts and media in which theological ideas entered the wider public domain through music, art, liturgy, church architecture, preaching, mission, hymn writing and education.

It is hoped that providing comprehensive coverage of Scottish theology from its earliest beginnings to the late 20th century will make a valuable contribution to theological scholarship, and to our understanding of Scottish history and culture.

For further information about the project, please contact its Research Assistant, Dr Sandy Forsyth – alexander.forsyth@ed.ac.uk.




The Centre for the Study of Scottish Philosophy hosted a successful conference entitled ‘Scottish Philosophy and Reformation Theology’. In addition to other respected academic contributors, speakers and attendees included those involved in the History of Scottish Theology project who are based in North America, as well as the co-editors.


NEW COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH, 19 December 2016 & 23 June 2017

New College hosted the first symposium in December 2016 primarily for UK and European contributors, to provide an opportunity for them to present drafts of their essays to fellow contributors and to receive constructive feedback at a preliminary stage (photos below). The second symposium took place at New College on 23 June 2017, at which we welcomed contributors from the UK, Europe, North America and Australasia. There were nineteen engaging presentations from across the three volumes on diverse subject areas. As well as enabling contacts amongst the contributors, these events have further enhanced the project as a whole, by enabling essayists to have a sense of the wider context in which they are writing, and providing discussion and dialogue for the development of the final essays.


Volumes and chapter contributors

Volume 1 chapter contributors
Volume 1: Celtic Origins to Reformed Orthodoxy
1. Theology in Scotland before Scholasticism: Thomas O’Loughlin
2. Richard of St Victor: Lydia Schumacher
3. Adam of Dryburgh: Peter Damian-Grint
4. Liturgical Theology before 1600: Stephen Holmes
5. Duns Scotus: Richard Cross
6. John Ireland and the Transformation of Scotist Theology: Simon Burton
7. John Mair as Theologian: John Slotemaker
8. Sixteenth - Century Philosophy and Theology after John Mair: Giovanni Gellera
9. John Knox and Andrew Melville : Euan Cameron
10. : Political and Ecclesial Theology in the Sixteenth Century: Mark Elliott
11. The Bible in Sixteenth Century Scotland: Iain Torrance
12. Habit and Belief in the Early Scottish Reformation: Martin Dotterweich
13. Confessions and Catechisms to c.1620: Ian Hazlett
14. Spiritual Theology in Bruce, Howie, Johnston, Boyd and Leighton: Mark Elliott
15. Federal Theology from the Reformation to c.1677: David Mullan
16. The Covenant Idea in Mid-Seventeenth Century Scotland: Guy Richard
17. The Reformed Scholasticism of James Dundas: Alexander Broadie
18. The Theology of the Westminster Confession of Faith in its Context: Whitney Gamble
19. The Aberdeen Doctors and Henry Scougal: Aaron Denlinger
20. Episcopalian Spirituality: The Garden Brothers and Henry Scougal: Marie-Luise Ehrenschwendtner
21. Early Modern French and Dutch Connections: James Eglinton
22. Early Modern Jurisprudence and Theology: Tom Green
23. The Marrow Controversy:– Boston, Erskine and Hadow: Stephen Myers
24. Boundaries of Scottish Reformed Orthodoxy 1560-1700: Scott Spurlock
Volume 2 chapter contributors
Volume II: From the Early Enlightenment to the Late Victorian Era
1. The Significance of the Westminster Confession for Scottish Theology: Donald MacLeod
2. Between Orthodoxy and Enlightenment: Blackwell, Halyburton, and Riccaltoun: Paul Helm
3. Jonathan Edwards and his Scottish Contemporaries: Jonathan Yeager
3. Early Enlightenment Shifts – Simson, Leechman and Campbell : Christian Maurer
4. Philosophy and Theology in the mid-18th Century: Thomas Ahnert
5. Moderate Theology and Preaching – c.1750-1800: Stewart J. Brown
6. Eighteenth Century Evangelicalism: John McIntosh
7. Scottish Philosophy and American Theology – Witherspoon and McCosh: James Foster
8. Reformed Theology in Gaelic Women's Poetry and Song: Anne MacLeod Hill
9. Literate Piety: John Witherspoon and James McCosh: James Foster
10. Dissenting Theology from the 1720s to the 1840s: David Bebbington
11. The Influence of the Scots Colleges in Paris, Rome and Spain: Tom McInally
12. Catholic Thought in the late 18th Century: George Hay and John Geddes: Raymond McCluskey
13. Natural and Revealed Theology in George Hill and Thomas Chalmers: Mark Elliott
14. Theology, Slavery and Abolition 1756-1848: Iain Whyte
15. Scottish Literature in a Time of Change: Ian Campbell
16. The Calvinist Paradox in 18th to 19th Century Literature: Alison Jack
17. New Trends: Erskine of Linlathen, Irving and MacLeod Campbell: Andrew Purves
18. Free Church Theology 1843-1900: Michael Bräutigam
19. Episcopalian Theology 1689–c1900: Rowan Strong
19. Scottish Theology in 19th Century Ireland: Andrew Holmes
21. Hume amongst the Theologians: David Fergusson
22. The Borthwick Sisters: Experiential Theology and Hymnody in the 19th Century Free Church: Frances Henderson
23. The Liturgical Revolution: Hymns, Prayers and Stained Glass: Bryan Spinks
24. Biblical Criticism in the 19th Century- Alexander Geddes to William Robertson Smith: William Johnstone
25. As Open as Possible: Presbyterian Modernity in Scotland's Long 19th Century: Will Storrar
26. The Secession and United Presbyterian Churches: Eric McKimmon
27. Extra-Terrestrials and the Heavens in 19th Century Scottish Theology: Colin Kidd
28. The Reception of Darwin: David Fergusson
29. Liberal, Broad Church and Reforming Influences in the late 19th Century: Finlay Macdonald
Volume 3 chapter contributors
Volume III: The Long Twentieth Century
1. Carmina Gadelica: Domhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart
2. Scottish Kenotic Theology : Bruce McCormack
3. Theologies of the Cross—James Denney and PT Forsyth: Jason Goroncy
4. The Theology of the Scottish Protestant Foreign Missionary Movement: Brian Stanley
5. Theology and Ecumenism after Edinburgh 1910: Marlene Finlayson
6. From Idealism to Personalism – Caird, Oman and Macmurray: Adam Hood
7. The Gifford Lectures: Gordon Graham
8. A Century of Social Theology: Johnston McKay
10. John Baillie and Donald Baillie: George Newlands
10. Theology and Art in Scotland: David Brown
11. The Influence of Barth in Scotland: Paul Nimmo
12. Modern Christology: Mackintosh, Baillie and Macquarrie David Fergusson
14. The Theology of T.F. Torrance: Paul Molnar
13. The Dissemination of Scottish Theology: T&T Clark: John Riches
14. The Scottish Theological Diaspora - Canada: Cairns Craig
15. The Scottish Theological Diaspora - Australasia: Peter Matheson
16. Alternative Spiritualities from the late 19th Century: Marion Bowman
16. Ronald Gregor Smith: George Pattison
17. Thomas F. Torrance: Paul Molnar
18. Theology and Practice of Mission in the Mid-Twentieth Century: Alexander Forsyth
19. The Revival of Celtic Theology: Ian Bradley
20. Catholic & Protestant Sensibilities in Scottish Literature, from Stevenson to Spark: Linden Bicket
21. Theology and Constructions of Scottish National Identity: Doug Gay
22. Catholic Theology since Vatican II: William McFadden
23. Late 20th Century Controversies in Sexual Ethics, Gender and Ordination: Lesley Orr
24. Episcopalian Theology in the 20th Century: Alison Peden
25. Reformed Theology in the later 20th Century: Gary Badcock

Project Team

first team member face
Professor David Fergusson
University of Edinburgh, Co-Editor

E-mail: david.fergusson@ed.ac.uk
second team member face
Professor Mark Elliott
University of Glasgow, Co-Editor

E-mail: mwe1@st-andrews.ac.uk
third team member face
Dr Sandy Forsyth
University of Edinburgh, Research Assistant
E-mail: alexander.forsyth@ed.ac.uk
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