Thursday, April 29, 2010

Scotland: theological center of Great Britain

Several days ago, an earthquake of sorts rumbled through the theological world. The announcement came that the current Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright would be stepping down, and taking a position at St. Mary's College, the Divinity college, at the University of St. Andrews. What a coup for the most ancient of Scottish Universities, and St. Andrews, the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland!

N.T. Wright is arguable one of the greatest New Testament scholars in the world, and has written voluminously. He was written a series of commentaries on the New Testament, (bringing William Barkley's commentaries upto date), and a number of provocative theological works, beginning with The New Testament And The People Of God (1992) and several other volumes. A more general work, Simply Christian (2006), is considered by many to be a classic along the line of C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity (1952). For more about N.T. Wright, check out the N.T. Wright page linked here. Beware, you could be at this site for weeks, as it contains lecutes, videos, podcasts, and reviews.

What a great moment for theological studies in Scotland, and for those of us who are interested in Celtic things! Wright follows a long line of great New Testament scholars from Scotland including James Dunn, Andrew Black, and I. Howard Marshall. And of course, I cannot omit a reference to my old professor of New Testament, the late J.C. O'Neill, a most humble and distinguished man. He possessed the gift of story telling, and I'll never forget one remark he made. He stated that "theology was conceived in Germany, corrupted in America, and corrected in Scotland."

Amazing to think that in such a small country as Scotland (as compared to us big boys in the States) has at least four nioteworthy theological colleges at Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and St. Andrews. This certainly bodes well for the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and current and future students. Indeed with this news, I am sure that many letters for admission are now being sent to St. Mary's (pictured above) on South Street in St. Andrews.

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