Church History at the University of Aberdeen offers a wide range of topics and approaches focusing on the earliest years of the Christian Church through to the current day. The unit works together closely with other theological disciplines such as Systematic Theology and Practical Theology, or related disciplines such as Medieval and Early Modern History.
Click the tabs below for more information on what Aberdeen has to offer by way of research expertise and doctoral supervision, how to apply, and what students can expect when studying with us.
- Church History in Aberdeen
Staff focus on Patristic, Medieval, Reformation and Modern Theology and Spirituality in the Ecclesiastical, Political, and Social Context of Western Europe (Central Europe, England and Scotland). Historical Theology is also supervised from within the Systematic Theology group. Expertise is offered in the areas of the early church, Patristics, the history of Western Christian thought, Reformation, Reformation theology and Protestant scholasticism, Methodist history and theology, modern Christian theology, modern Church History, Evangelicalism, Missionary History and Revivals.
We are interested in hearing from students wishing to undertake postgraduate level work in Church History at the doctoral level. Please contact one of the supervisors below if you are thinking about applying for a PhD in their subject area.
Professor John Behr: Supervision areas include: The Gospel of John and the Apocalypse and their reception; Patristics, especially questions of exegesis, theological and dogmatic reflection, spirituality, and issues of canon/criterion in theology; Byzantine Theology; Modern Orthodox Theology and Eastern Orthodoxy in the West; Phenomenology and hermeneutics in theological reflection.
Dr Marie-Luise Ehrenschwendtner: Supervision areas include: medieval religious developments in their various manifestations, medieval mysticism and piety, both in theory and practice, and both in their orthodox and heterodox appearances; the theology, spirituality and practical piety of the Episcopalian Church in the North-East of Scotland; aspects of medieval women’s religious lives, with special emphasis on their involvement in contemporary culture as readers and authors and their participation in the monastic reform movements of the late 14th to 16th centuries.
Rev Dr Ken Jeffrey: Supervision areas include: the history of Evangelicalism, the history of Revivals and Revivalism, Missionary History, modern Church History, the Nineteenth Century, the life and ministry of Billy Graham, contemporary Church History in relation to pioneer ministry and new patterns of ministry, the intersection of Church History and Practical Theology.
- PGR Students
Some current (and graduated) students and their projects from the University of Aberdeen include:
- John Paul Marr, Exclusive or simply eccentric psalmody? The Reverend Doctor Thomas Clark’s (1720-1791) 1784 pamphlet publication Plain Reasons, set within its historical, theological, and exegetical contexts may be pious presumption or just plain peculiar
- William Hamilton, Ministries of Reconciliation within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
- Winfield Bevins, Renewal or Rejection? Exploring the Retrieval of Church Tradition Among Evangelicals in the United States
- Dr Sheila Akomiah, The changing landscape of the church in post-Christendom Britain: New churches in Glasgow 2000-2016 (Completed in 2018)
- Dr Stuart Sheehan, The Changing Theological functions of Corporate Worship among Southern Baptists: What they were and what they became, 1638-2008
The following are some selected publications relating to Church History by staff at the University of Aberdeen:
- 'Creating the sacred space within: enclosure as a defining feature in the convent life of Medieval Dominican sisters (13th–15th C.)'. Viator , vol 41, no. 2, pp. 301-316.
- Die Bildung der Dominikanerinnen in Sueddeutschland vom 13.-15. Jahrhundert. Unknown Publisher, Stuttgart: Franz-Steiner-Verlag (Contubernium, 60).
- Jeffrey, KS 2002, When the Lord walked the land: The 1858-62 Revival in the North East of Scotland. Studies in Evangelical History and Thought, Paternoster Press, Carlisle.
- Jeffrey, KS 1998, 'Physical Phenomena in the 1859 Ulster Revival' The Rutherford Journal
Some helpful links for further information and resources in Church History include: