Born in Possilpark (Glasgow) and brought up in Alexandria in the Vale of Leven Dunbartonshire Holloway was educated at Kelham Theological College, Edinburgh Theological College and the Union Theological Seminary, New York City. Between 1959 and 1986 he was a curate, vicar and rector at various parishes in England, Scotland and the United States. He was Bishop of Edinburgh from 1986 and was elected Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1992. He resigned from these positions in 2000 and is now regarded as one of the most outspoken and controversial figures in the Church, having taken an agnostic worldview and commenting widely on issues concerning religious belief in the modern world. His own theological position has become increasingly radical and he has described himself as an "after-religionist".
Holloway is well known for his support of progressive causes, including campaigning on human rights for gay and lesbian people in both Church and State. He is a patron of LGBT Youth Scotland, an organisation dedicated to the inclusion of LGBT young people in the life of Scotland. He has questioned and addressed complex ethical issues in the areas of sexuality, drugs and bioethics. He has written extensively on these topics, being the author of more than 20 books exploring their relationship with modern religion.
Holloway was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1955) and holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Strathclyde (1994), Aberdeen (1995), Napier (2000) and Glasgow (2001). He was Professor of Divinity at Gresham College in the City of London. From 1990 to 1997, he was a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and held the position of chair of the BMA Steering Group on Ethics and Genetics. He was also a member of the Broadcasting Standards Commission and is a former chair of the Scottish Arts Council and is the current chair of Sistema Scotland.
Holloway has been a reviewer and writer for the broadsheet press for several years, including The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, Sunday Herald and The Scotsman. He is also a frequent presenter on radio and television, having hosted the BBC television series When I Get to Heaven, Holloway's Road and The Sword and the Cross. He currently hosts the BBC Radio Scotland book review programme, Cover Stories. Holloway presented the second of the Radio 4 Lent Talks on 11 March 2009. On May 28, 2012, he began presenting a fifteen-minute programme about faith and doubt, following The World at One on BBC Radio 4, called Honest Doubt: The History of an Epic Struggle.
Holloway lives in Edinburgh with his American-born wife Jean. They have three adult children: two daughters and a son.
- Beyond Belief (1981)
- Paradoxes of Christian Faith and Life (1984)
- The Way of the Cross (1986)
- Crossfire: Faith and Doubt in an Age of Uncertainty (1988)
- Who needs Feminism? (1991)
- Anger, Sex, Doubt and Death (1992)
- Dancing On The Edge: Faith In A Post-Christian Age (1997)
- Godless Morality: Keeping Religion out of Ethics (1999).
- Doubts and Loves: What is Left of Christianity (2001)
- On Forgiveness: How can we Forgive the Unforgivable? ISBN 1-84195-358-X (2002)
- Looking in the Distance: The Human Search for Meaning (2004)
- How To Read The Bible (2006)
- Between the Monster and the Saint (2008)
- Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt (2012)
Alastair Iain Macdonald Haggart
|Bishop of Edinburgh
Brian Arthur Smith
|Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church