[Common Places] In Memoriam John Webster

Michael Allen on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,.

As we mourn the death of a leading figure in our discipline and dear friend to many, we invite those impacted by the life and writings of John Webster to add their comments below.

The Reverend Professor John Bainbridge Webster (1955-2016) died on May 25, 2016. While family and friends, neighbors and fellow congregants will each observe his passing in ways which befit his private manner, it is appropriate to mark his departure from this life in the wider sphere of theological scholarship, for he was both a leading light and a generous friend and teacher to many around the globe. He was educated at Cambridge University and taught at Durham University, Wycliffe College (Toronto), Oxford University, the University of Aberdeen, and, until his death, the University of St. Andrews. He held the prestigious Lady Margaret Chair of Divinity at…

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[Common Places] The Promise and Prospects of Retrieval: Recent Developments in Dogmatics

John Webster on 4 years ago. Tagged under ,.


When I was a graduate student in Cambridge in the late 1970s, dogmatics was a minority discipline, and the word itself almost never mentioned unless with reference to Barth’s magnum opus. It still enjoyed prestige in the German faculties, but was rarely a component of theological curricula in England (in Scotland the picture was, and remains, somewhat different). Interest in the inner content and overall structure of Christian teaching was edged out by other preoccupations: theological method, the dialogue of the religions, critical doctrinal history, analytical philosophy, the social science of religion. Exceptions to the prevailing lack of interest in systematic theological work, such as John Macquarrie’s Principles of Christian Theology, were just that: exceptions.

Moving to North America in the mid-80s, I found myself in a theological setting where dogmatics counted for more and attracted able practitioners. In part…

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