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History of Christianity

As the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world – and originally established as an ecclesiastical foundation by Papal Bull in 1451 to ‘pass on to posterity a doctrine pure and sound’ – the University of Glasgow has long been an important centre for the study of Christianity (including Church/Ecclesiastical History and Theology). European-leading scholarship in theology and history emanated from the University through the pen of one of its sixteenth-century Principals, John Mair (Major, c.1467–1550). The first Chair of Theology was confirmed in a 1573 act of parliament, linking it to the University’s Principal, a pattern reiterated in the 1577 nova erectio of the University by James VI. The importance of the historical study of Christianity at the University was further affirmed in the establishment of a second Chair of Divinity in 1640, and one of the world’s first chairs in Ecclesiastical History in 1716.

The History of Christianity and Historical Theology remain core disciplines in Theology and Religious Studies at Glasgow University, however excellent research in these areas is also being carried out in several other disciplinary contexts in the College of Arts. This research cluster provides a platform for the fostering of cross-disciplinary and methodologically diverse study of the History of Christianity, drawing on the world-class collections of the University. 

Semester 1

Lund–Glasgow History and Theology Seminar, 12:15–1:45pm

  • 3 September – Scott Spurlock (Glasgow), ‘What’s in a name? Biblical typology and identity formation in early modern Ulster’.
  • 1 October (Lund) –Martin Nykvist (Lund), ‘Modern Spiritualist Movement in the Church of Sweden’.
  • 5 November (Glasgow) – Mark Elliott, ‘New Jerusalem as the “Flipside” to the Last Judgement in Primasius, Bede and Beatus’
  • 3 December – Alexander Maurits (Lund), ‘Religious Beliefs and Expressions among Female Christian Prisoners in the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp’


Long Reformation: Maynooth, QUB and Glasgow, 4–5:30pm

  • 17 September (Glasgow) – Charlotte Methuen, ‘History and Heresy in the German Reformation’.
  • 15 October (QUB) TBC
  • 19 November (Maynooth) TBC

Journals and Book Series

Colleagues working in the history of Christianity at Glasgow are highly active in discipline specific societies and publications, including serving as editors and upon editorial boards for


  • Studies in Church History (CUP)
  • Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte – Contemporary Church History (Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht)
  • Renaissance and Reformation Review (Taylor and Francis)
  • Scottish Church History (EUP)
  • Innes Review (EUP)

Book Series

  • Christianities in the Trans-Atlantic World (Palgrave Macmillan)
  • Scottish Religious Cultures: Historical Perspectives (EUP)

Associated Staff

Associated Staff