Professor Paul Nimmo
MA, Dip IA, BD, MTh, PhD, FHEA
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 the University of 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 (2007), and is also the author of Barth: A Guide for the Perplexed (2016), co-Editor of The Cambridge Companion to Reformed Theology (2016) and of The Oxford Handbook of Karl Barth (2019), and Editor of the congregational resource Learn: Understanding our Faith (2017). His current constructive projects include monographs on the Lord’s Supper in the theology of Karl Barth and on the doctrine of sanctification.
Paul is a Founding 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 Research Fellow in Historical and Constructive Theology at the University of the Free State (South Africa), and a Translation Fellow at the Center for Barth Studies at Princeton Seminary. He was formerly co-Chair of the AAR Reformed Theology and History Unit, 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 serves the Council of Protestant Churches in Europe in the current 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
- Internal Memberships
- Dean of Postgraduate Studies in Divinity, History, and Philosophy (autumn 2021– )
- Line Manager of Post-doctoral Fellows in Divinity (2019–2020 and autumn 2021– )
- Chair, Gifford Lectures Commitee (2021– )
- Trustee, Christ's College Board of Trustees (2019– )
- Previous Positions: Head of Department and Line Manager of Divinity and Religious Studies (2016–2018); Member, Senatus Academicus (2016–2020); Member, Honorary Degrees Committee (2017–2020); Member, Honorary Degrees Working Group (2019); Director, Teaching Review in Divinity, History, and Philosophy (2015); Member, Gifford Lectures Committee (2014–2020)
- External Memberships
- Founding Co-Director, Aberdeen Centre of Protestant Theology (2017– )
- Senior Editor, International Journal of Systematic Theology (2016– )
- Research Fellow, University of the Free State (South Africa) (2020– )
- Translation Fellow, Center for Barth Studies (2007– )
- Trustee, Hope Trust (2016– )
- Co-Editor, T&T Clark Explorations in Reformed Theology series (2017– )
- Member, Advisory Board, Revisioning Reformed Dogmatics series (2019– )
- Member, Advisory Board, Studies in Dialectical Theology series (2018– )
- Member, Editorial Board, Revista Teológica, Brazil (2017– )
- Member Editorial Board, IVP Christian Doctrine and Scripture series (2013– )
- Previous Positions: Editor, International Journal of Systematic Theology (2013–2017); Managing Editor, International Journal of Systematic Theology (2006–2014); Co-Chair, AAR Reformed Theology & History Unit (2017–2020); Member, AAR Reformed Theology & History Unit (2012–2017); Member, AAR Schleiermacher Unit (2016–2019); Treasurer, Society for the Study of Theology (2012–2014); Seminar Convenor, Society for the Study of Theology (2012–2014); Committee Member, Society for the Study of Theology (2009–2012); External Examiner (undergraduate) in Systematic Theology and Ecclesiastical History, Durham University (2015–2019); External Examiner (undergraduate) in Systematic Theology and Practical Theology, Edinburgh Theological Seminary (2012–2016); External Examiner (postgraduate) in Pastoral / Reformed / Systematic Theology, 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. I would be very happy to hear from anyone thinking about postgraduate research at the University of Aberdeen, whether on campus or at distance, whose interests are similiarly aligned. My own principal areas of research include the following:
• 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, as well as on working papers in Christology, ecclesiology, and the doctrine of God.
• 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 representing 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 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 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 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 Lord's Supper, a book which seeks to think with and after Barth on the eucharist. 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, and 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 on 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.
University of Glasgow – The Kerr Lectures (2008)
Title: 'A Theology of Obedience'
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen – Guest Lectureship (2008)
Title: 'Grundthemen der Theologie Karl Barths
At the heart of my work is a desire to encourage the relationship between the study of systematic theology and the life of Christian communities. I am an ordained elder in the Church of Scotland, and participate in diverse ways in the life of the church – locally, nationally, and internationally. My work includes not only regular preaching in local parish churches but also the diverse forms of service mentioned below:
- Member, CPCE delegation for ecumenical conversation with PCPCU (2020– )
- Member, Theological Forum of the Church of Scotland (2020– )
- Trustee, Board of Christ's College, University of Aberdeen (2019– )
- Elder, Kemnay Kirk (2015– )
- Associate, Centre for Ministry Studies, University of Aberdeen (2014– )
- Previous Positions: Theological Adviser, Learn initiative of the Church of Scotland (2014–2018); Member, Joint Commission on Doctrine of the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland (2008–2015); Member, ACTS / Church of Scotland ‘Why Believe?’ Group (2011–2013); Member, Church of Scotland Working Group on Human Sexuality (2009–2012); Placements at St. Columba’s Church (Pont Street) (2006–2007), Morningside Parish Church (2005), Parish of the North Isles (Shetland) (2005), Parish of Manish-Scarista (Harris) (2004), Parish of Bracadale and Duirinish (Skye) (2003)
- Cambridge Companion to Reformed Theology
co-Editor with David Fergusson (Edinburgh); Cambridge: CUP, 2016
- Learn: Understanding our Faith
Editor; Edinburgh: St Andrew Press, 2017
- Oxford Handbook of Karl Barth
co-Editor with Paul Dafydd Jones (UVa); Oxford: OUP, 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 lecturing at the University of 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
- DR3/452C : Encounters with Great Theologians
- 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
- DR504U : Topics in Systematic Theology – God, Christ, and Salvation
When not on research leave, I direct the Research Seminar in Systematic Theology and lead an intermediate-level German Reading Group for students across Divinity. I also run a regular Development Seminar for Divinity students – this includes guest speaker events, doctoral strategy seminars, and professional development workshops.