Professor Jeremy Begbie
Professor Jeremy Begbie is the inaugural holder of the Thomas A. Langford Research Professorship in Theology at Duke Divinity School, North Carolina, and founding Director of Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts. He is author of a number of books, including Redeeming Transcendence in the Arts: Bearing Witness to the Triune God (Eerdmans), Theology, Music and Time (CUP), Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music (Baker), and Music, Modernity, and God (OUP). A professionally trained and active musician, Jeremy has taught widely in the UK and North America, and delivered performance-lectures across the world, from Israel to Australia and Hong Kong.
Jeremy studied for his B.D. (Hons.) and Ph.D. at the Divinity Department in Aberdeen, arriving here in 1977. He was kind enough to share some of his thoughts and memories about his time here and the department …
I had studied Philosophy and Music at Edinburgh University
What drew you to the department here?
James Torrance was the main attraction. I had experienced some of his teaching in Edinburgh when I took an elective in systematic theology, and I was very keen to study under him. He was an incredibly inspiring teacher, and everything he taught he lived out. I couldn’t really ask for more than that! Along with him. I was attracted to Aberdeen’s strong commitment to biblical theology and church history.
The faculty was small then, and quite intimate. We all piled into the one building, and gathered for mid-morning prayers every day at the Chaplaincy across the road. Classes were all small, which made discussion easy. There was a strong sense of unity, and a wonderfully positive, Christ-centred spirit.
On leaving Aberdeen, I went to Cambridge to train for ordination in the Church of England. After serving in a parish Church for three years, I returned to Cambridge to teach at Ridley Hall Theological College, and in the Faculty of Divinity. I spent eight happy years at the University of St Andrews, co-founding the Institute of Theology, Imagination, and the Arts, before taking up my present position as Research Professor of Theology at Duke Divinity School, North Carolina.
How has Aberdeen helped shape you as a thinker?
It trained me in intellectual habits that have never left me - how to think theologically and biblically. It also convinced me that it was possible to combine a prayerful commitment to the Gospel with intellectual depth and integrity.
To discover more about Professor Begbie and his work, see: