George Newlands

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George McLeod Newlands is a Scottish theologian who is Emeritus Professor of Divinity at the University of Glasgow. He was formerly Chair of the Theology, Divinity & Religious Studies panel of the UK's Research Assessment Exercise for 2008, and is currently Vice-President of the Society for the Study of Theology.


Professor Newlands held the Chair of Divinity at the University of Glasgow from 1986 to 2008. He was previously a University Lecturer at the University of Cambridge and Dean of Trinity Hall (following in the footsteps of Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie and Oxford's Regius Professor of Divinity Keith Ward).He is an Honorary Professorial Research Fellow in Divinity in Glasgow University and an Honorary Fellow of New College, University of Edinburgh.

He was Dean of Glasgow's Faculty of Divinity from 1988 to 1990, Head of the Department of Theology and Church History from 1986 to 1992 and Director of the Centre for Literature, Theology and the Arts 1998 to 2002.

He was appointed by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to be Principal of Trinity College, Glasgow, the Church's college within the Faculty of Divinity, from 1991 to 1997 and again from 2001 to 2008.

Newlands was educated at Edinburgh University (MA, BD, PhD, DLitt), Heidelberg (from where he traveled to attend the final seminar of Karl Barth in Basel),[1] Paris, Zurich, and Churchill College, Cambridge (MA).


Newlands' first book was Hilary of Poitiers: a Study in Theological Method in 1978. His Theology of the Love of God, followed in 1980. In the wake of 'death of God' theology and the 'myth of God incarnate' controversy during the 1970s, Newlands here attempted a 'constructive theology'. Barth had constructed a theology around the theme of faith, and Moltmann a theology of hope, so Newlands took the third of the Pauline triad to construct a theology around love (which, after all, is also of central concern in Christian theology). Further constructive theology followed with an ecclesiology in The Church of God (1984). A book on ethics followed in 1985- Making Christian Decisions.

Newlands published God in Christian Perspective in 1994. Continuing his 'constructive theology' project, he deals with the doctrine of God and- always a central concern of Newlands- Christology. This wide-ranging book engages not just with the continental tradition, but with Reformed, Anglican and wider Christian streams of thought, and more recent concerns such as feminism and liberation theology.

Generosity and the Christian Future, the 1995 Henson lectures at the University of Oxford, was published in 1997. Here Newlands returns to his concern about faith, theology, ethics and public issues, such as human rights and pluralism. He begins the book by imagining a tenth Vatican Council in the year 2517 CE, presided over by a Pope who is an American Baptist woman - a typical example of Newlands' humour, familiar to his students, which seeks to illuminate important issues. Recently Newlands has been interested in 20th Century Scottish theology. He edited Scottish Christianity in the Modern World in 2001, and produced a theological biography of John and Donald Baillie in 2002.

He has been exploring 'intercultural theology', and his most recent work reflects once more Christology and an important contemporary theme: Human Rights. This has resulted in Christ and Human Rights (2006) Faith and Human Rights (2008) and Hospitable God (2010.) A collection of essays, Traces of Liberality, was published in 2006. A festschrift The God of Love and Human Dignity was presented in 2007.

Ecclesiastical work[edit]

Professor Newlands is probably unique in being both an ordained Minister of the Church of Scotland and a priest in the Church of England. He is a past Convenor of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland's Panel on Doctrine and has served on the Doctrine Commission of the Church of England, and the Doctrine Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

In May 2006, Newlands was involved in the creation of Affirmation Scotland a group within the Church of Scotland seeking "to affirm and celebrate Christ's call for inclusion, generosity and hospitality, and to see the full affirmation of all Christians, progressive and traditional, straight, gay and lesbian, within the Church of Scotland". He is also associated with OneKirk, a network "committed to working for an inclusive, affirming and progressive church". Both of these bodies came in the wake of controversies within the Church of Scotland regarding the blessing of civil partnerships for gay and lesbian people.

Important Publications[edit]

  • Hospitable God,(with Allen Smith,)Ashgate,London, 2010
  • (With Richard Amesbury) Faith and Human Rights, Fortress, Minneapolis, 2008
  • Christ and Human Rights, Ashgate, London, 2006
  • Traces of Liberality, Collected Essays, Peter Lang, Bern/Frankfurt, 2006
  • The Transformative Imagination: Rethinking Intercultural Theology, Ashgate, London, 2004
  • John and Donald Baillie - Transatlantic Theology, Peter Lang, New York, 2002
  • Fifty Key Christian Thinkers, Routledge, London, 2002
  • Scottish Christianity in the Modern World (ed), T & T Clark, Edinburgh, 2001
  • Generosity and the Christian Future, SPCK, London, 1997
  • God in Christian Perspective, T&T Clark, Edinburgh, 1994
  • Making Christian Decisions, Mowbray, Oxford, 1985
  • The Church of God, Marshall, Morgan & Scott, London, 1984
  • Theology of the Love of God, Collins, London, 1980
  • Hilary of Poitiers - a study in Theological Method, Peter Lang, Bern, 1978
  • (Ed) Explorations in Theology(8), SCM, London, 1980

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Newlands, George. "The Love of God and the Future of Theology: A Personal Engagement with Juengel's Work". In Traces of Liberality. Bern: Peter Lang, 2006. Page 66.

External links[edit]