King's Chair of Systematic Theology
Paul T Nimmo holds the King’s Chair of Systematic Theology (1620). He joined the University of Aberdeen in 2013, having previously been Meldrum Senior Lecturer in Reformed Theology at the University of Edinburgh. His own studies were undertaken in Cambridge, Edinburgh, Princeton, and Tübingen, while his first academic position was as a post-doctoral Research Assistant and Affiliated Lecturer at Cambridge.
Paul received a John Templeton Award for Theological Promise in 2009 for his book Being in Action: The Theological Shape of Barth's Ethical Vision (T&T Clark, 2007), and is also the author of Barth: A Guide for the Perplexed (T&T Clark, 2016), co-Editor of The Cambridge Companion to Reformed Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and of The Oxford Handbook of Karl Barth (Oxford University Press, 2019), and Editor of the congregational resource Learn: Understanding our Faith (St Andrew Press, 2017). His current projects include monographs on the Lord’s Supper in the theology of Karl Barth and on the doctrine of sanctification.
Paul is co-Director of the Aberdeen Centre for Protestant Theology, Senior Editor of International Journal of Systematic Theology, and Series Co-Editor of Explorations in Reformed Theology. He is a Fellow of the Center for Barth Studies and co-Chair of the AAR Reformed Theology and History Unit. He was formerly a Member of the AAR Friedrich Schleiermacher Unit, and Treasurer of the Society for the Study of Theology.
Paul is an ordained elder in the Church of Scotland, a member of Kemnay Kirk and a lay preacher in local presbyteries. He currently serves the Council of Protestant Churches in Europe in ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church, and is a member of the Theological Forum of the Church of Scotland. He is an Associate of the Centre for Ministry Studies and a Trustee of the Board of Christ's College.
Memberships and Affiliations
- Member, Gifford Lectures Committee (2014– )
- Member, Senatus Academicus (2016–2020)
- Member, Honorary Degrees Committee (2017–2020)
- Academic Line Manager, Divinity Post-doctoral Fellows (2019–2020)
- Head of Divinity and Religious Studies (2016–2018)
- Academic Line Manager, Department of Divinity (2016–2018)
- Director, Internal Teaching Review for Divinity, History, and Philosophy (2015)
- Postgraduate Co-ordinator, Divinity and Religious Studies (2014–2015)
Fellow, Karl Barth Translators' Seminar
Member, Princeton–Kampen Theological Colloquium
Editorial Board, IVP Studies in Christian Doctrine and Scripture series
Editorial Board, Revista Teológica
Advisory Board, Studies in Dialectical Theology series
Advisory Board, Revisioning Reformed Dogmatics series
Managing Editor, International Journal of Systematic Theology (2006–2014)
Treasurer, Society for the Study of Theology (2013–2016)
Steering Committee, AAR Reformed Theology & History Unit (2012-2017)
Steering Committee, Society for the Study of Theology (2009–2012)
Steering Committee, AAR Friedrich Schleiermacher Unit (2016–2019)
Member, Templeton Project – 'Eternal God - Eternal Life' (2014–2016)
Member, AHRC Network Team – 'Doctrine after Christendom' (2013–2014)
External Examiner, Durham University (2015–2019)
External Examiner, Edinburgh Theological Seminary (2012–2016)
External Examiner, University of the Highlands and Islands (2012–2015)
My research interests lie primarily in the field of systematic theology, exploring the meaning, coherence, and implications of Christian faith and doctrine. My particular areas of focus are in the theology of Karl Barth, in the theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher, in the history and theology of the Reformed tradition (particularly as it has developed in Scotland), and in the central loci of dogmatic enquiry, including the doctrine of God, Christology, pneumatology, creation, soteriology, ecclesiology, and sacramentology.
I would be very happy to hear from anyone thinking about on-campus postgraduate research at the University of Aberdeen in any of the following fields of study:
- the theology of Karl Barth
I have a long-standing interest in the theology of Karl Barth. The monograph which I am currently writing is entitled Karl Barth and the Eucharist, a book which seeks to think with and after Barth on the theology of the Lord's Supper. This research builds explicitly on work I carried out in my first monograph - Being in Action: The Theological Shape of Barth's Ethical Vision. I have published a textbook entitled Karl Barth: A Guide for the Perplexed, and have co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Karl Barth with Professor Paul Dafydd Jones. I have also written a series of research articles and teaching essays on such doctrines as election, pneumatology, vocation, hamartiology, sacramentology, justification, and ecclesiology in the theology of Karl Barth.
- the theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher
I also have a long-standing interest in the theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher. I have written a number of research articles which explore his views of soteriology, justification, and the sacraments, and have published an extended article on his construal of the relationship between Scripture and the work of Jesus Christ. I hope in the future to turn my attention to a series of further extended articles on diverse aspects of his dogmatic work within the context of the Reformed tradition, including essays on the Lord's Supper and on prayer.
- the history and theology of the Reformed tradition
I have a profound passion for the theology of the Reformed tradition in all its historical and doctrinal diversity and as a lived and ecumenical form of Christian faith. As well as co-editing the Cambridge Companion to Reformed Theology with David Fergusson, I have engaged in research articles not only with the work of Barth and Schleiermacher but also with the work of figures such as Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, Heinrich Bullinger, John McLeod Campbell, Herman Bavinck, H. R. Mackintosh, T. F. Torrance, and Markus Barth. I have a particular interest in the way this tradition has been received, appropriated, and furthered in Scotland - seeking to attend to the history (and the present) of its churches and colleges, as well as to how it might be constructively developed in future.
- the central loci of Christian doctrine
My research has always gravitated towards the core tenets of lived Christian faith - beliefs about God, Jesus Christ, the Spirit, creation, salvation, the church, and the sacraments - and towards exploring their theological meaning, their dogmatic connectedness, and their current relevance. My work extends beyond tradition-specific enquiry to a broader consideration of the biblical roots, the historical elucidations, and the constructive implications of these doctrines. I am currently working towards a monograph on the doctrine of sanctification.
University of Glasgow
The Kerr Lectures in 2008
Title: 'A Theology of Obedience'
Form: a series of eight public lectures in Glasgow
Guest Lecturer in Reformed Theology in 2008
Title: 'Grundthemen der Theologie Karl Barths'
Form: a block of ten seminars in German
Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement
At the heart of my work is a passion for encouraging the relationship between the study of systematic theology and the life of Christian communities. I hope to be able to contribute to the strengthening of the connection between church and academy.
I am an ordained elder in the Church of Scotland, and participate in diverse ways in the life of the church – both locally and nationally. My work includes not only regular preaching in local churches but also the diverse forms of service mentioned below.
Church of Scotland
2020 – Member, CPCE delegation for ecumenical conversation with PCPCU
2020 – Member, Theological Forum of the Church of Scotland
2019 – Trustee, Board of Christ's College, University of Aberdeen
2014 – Associate, Centre for Ministry Studies, University of Aberdeen
2014–2018 Theological Adviser, Learn initiative of the Church of Scotland
2008–2015 Member, Joint Commission on Doctrine [CoS / RC]
2011–2013 Member, ACTS / Church of Scotland ‘Why Believe?’ Group
2009–2012 Member, Church of Scotland Working Group on Human Sexuality
2006–2007 St. Columba’s Church (Pont Street), London
spring 2005 Morningside Parish Church, Edinburgh
summer 2005 Parish of the North Isles, Shetland
summer 2004 Parish of Manish-Scarista, Isle of Harris
summer 2003 Parish of Bracadale and Duirinish, Isle of Skye
Cambridge Companion to Reformed Theology
co-Editor with Professor David Fergusson, University of Edinburgh
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016
Learn: Understanding our Faith
Edinburgh: St Andrew Press, 2017
Oxford Handbook of Karl Barth
co-Editor with Professor Paul Dafydd Jones, University of Virginia
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019
In the course of my work in Cambridge, in Edinburgh, and now in Aberdeen, I have taught a wide variety of topics in Christian theology, Christian ethics, and church history. In 2008, I was a Guest Lecturer at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, while in 2020, I took part in an Erasmus Staff Mobility Teaching Visit to the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In 2011, while teaching at Edinburgh, I won a University-wide Teaching Award that was organised and presented by the Edinburgh University Students' Association.
In Aberdeen, I have taught and/or teach on the following undergraduate courses:
- SX1017 : Global Issues, Global Religions
- DR1038 : The Rise of Christianity
- DR1/2547 : Introduction to Christian Theology
- DR2057 : Major Christian Thinkers
- DR2/351V : Sacramental Theology
- DR3/402F : Christianity in Scotland - History and Theology of the Church in Scotland
- DR3/452B : Major Themes in Christian Theology
- DR406A : Theology of Karl Barth
- DR4085 : These Three are One – the Christian Doctrine of God
I have also taught and/or teach on the following postgraduate Masters courses:
- DR501U : Theology of Karl Barth
- DR501V : The Christian Doctrine of God
- DR503N : Readings in Systematic Theology
When not on research leave, I direct the Research Seminar in Systematic Theology at Aberdeen, and also run a regular Development Seminar for students in the subject area of Divinity – this offers a variety of guest speaker events, doctoral strategy seminars, and professional development workshops. I also lead an intermediate-level German Reading Group for students across Divinity.