Colin Gunton

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Colin Gunton
Colin Ewart Gunton

(1941-01-19)19 January 1941
Nottingham, England
Died6 May 2003(2003-05-06) (aged 62)
Jennifer Osgathorpe
(m. 1964)
Ecclesiastical career
ReligionChristianity (Reformed)
ChurchUnited Reformed Church
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisBecoming and Being[1] (1973)
Doctoral advisorRobert Jenson[2]
Academic work
Sub-disciplineSystematic theology
InstitutionsKing's College, London
Doctoral students

Colin Ewart Gunton (19 January 1941 – 6 May 2003) was an English Reformed systematic theologian. He made contributions to the doctrine of creation and the doctrine of the Trinity. He was Professor of Christian Doctrine at King's College, London, from 1984 and co-founder with Christoph Schwoebel of the Research Institute for Systematic Theology in 1988. Gunton was actively involved in the United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom where he had been a minister since 1972.


Colin Ewart Gunton was born on 19 January 1941 in Nottingham, England.[5] He first studied literae humaniores[citation needed] at Hertford College, Oxford, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts[citation needed] degree in 1964, the same year he married the schoolteacher Jennifer Osgathorpe.[6] He then began his study of theology, and a year later received a Master of Arts degree from Mansfield College, Oxford.[citation needed] He then began his doctoral work under the direction of Robert Jenson, which took six years because he began teaching two years into his doctoral program as he became Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion at King's College, London, in 1969. His dissertation was a study of the doctrine of God in the thought of Charles Hartshorne and Karl Barth, which was completed in 1973.[citation needed]

Gunton was ordained in the United Reformed Church in 1972.[7] He became an Associate Minister of the Brentwood United Reformed Church in 1975, a position which he held until his death.[8] Gunton was appointed Lecturer in Systematic Theology at King's College in 1980, and in 1984 became Professor of Christian Doctrine, later becoming the Dean of Faculty from 1988 to 1990. He also served as Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies from 1993 to 1997. Gunton founded and directed the Research Institute in Systematic Theology which drew distinguished scholars and many graduate students from around the world. In 1992 he delivered the Bampton Lectures at the University of Oxford, (published as The One, the Three and the Many) and delivered the Warfield Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1993. He also co-founded the International Journal of Systematic Theology with John Bainbridge Webster and Ralph del Colle in 1999.

Gunton was awarded honorary doctorates by the University of London (1993), the University of Aberdeen (1999), and shortly before his death, the University of Oxford (2003). He was also made a Fellow of King's College.[9] Gunton died on 6 May 2003.[10]


Gunton's most influential work was on the doctrines of creation and the Trinity. One of his most important books is The One, the Three and the Many: God, Creation and the Culture of Modernity (1993), which has been described as "a profound analysis of the paradoxes and contradictions of Modernity."[11] The One, the Three and the Many remains a "majestical survey of the western intellectual tradition and a penetrating analysis of the modern condition."[11]

Published works[edit]

Major works[edit]

  • Becoming and Being: The Doctrine of God in Charles Hartshorne and Karl Barth (1978, 2nd Ed. 2001)
  • Yesterday and Today: A Study of Continuities in Christology (1983, 2nd Ed. 1997)
  • Enlightenment and Alienation: An Essay Towards a Trinitarian Theology (1985)
  • Actuality of Atonement: A Study of Metaphor, Rationality and the Christian Tradition (1988) ISBN 0-567-29220-7
  • The Promise of Trinitarian Theology (1991, 2nd Ed. 1997) ISBN 0-567-08100-1
  • Christ and Creation (1992) ISBN 0-8028-0579-5 | ISBN 0-85364-527-2
  • The One, the Three and the Many: God, Creation and the Culture of Modernity (1993) ISBN 0-521-42184-5
  • A Brief Theology of Revelation (1995) ISBN 0-567-09726-9 | ISBN 0-567-29293-2
  • Theology Through the Theologians: Essays 1972-1995 (1996)
  • The Triune Creator: A Historical and Systematic Study (1998) ISBN 0-8028-4575-4
  • Intellect and Action (2000, T & T Clark))
  • Theology Through Preaching (2001, T & T Clark)
  • The Christian Faith: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine (2002) ISBN 0-631-21182-9
  • Act and Being: Toward A Theology of the Divine Attributes (2002)
  • Father, Son and Holy Spirit: Toward A Fully Trinitarian Theology (2003)
  • Theologian as Preacher: Further Sermons from Colin Gunton (2007, T & T Clark)
  • The Barth Lectures (2007, T & T Clark)

Edited works[edit]

  • On Being the Church (1988)
  • Persons, Divine and Human (1991)
  • God and Freedom: Essays in Historical and Systematic Theology (1995)
  • The Doctrine of Creation (1997)
  • The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine (1997)
  • Time, Trinity and Church: A Response to the theology of Robert Jenson (2000)
  • The Practice of Theology: A Reader (2002) edited with Murray Rae and Stephen Holmes
  • The Theology of Reconciliation (2003)



  1. ^ Gunton 1973.
  2. ^ Jenson 2010, p. 8.
  3. ^ a b "The Rev Professor Colin Gunton". The Times. London. 19 May 2003. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  4. ^ Webster 2010, p. 17.
  5. ^ Mulcahy 2007, p. 27.
  6. ^ Roest 2019, p. 145.
  7. ^ Mulcahy 2007, p. 28.
  8. ^ Roest 2019, p. 146.
  9. ^ McCormack 2005, p. 2; Mulcahy 2007, p. 28.
  10. ^ McCormack 2005, p. 3.
  11. ^ a b King's announces the 2003 Fellows
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Further reading[edit]

  • Green, Bradley G. (2012). Colin Gunton and the Failure of Augustine: The Theology of Colin Gunton in Light of Augustine. Cambridge, England: James Clarke & Co. ISBN 978-0-227-68005-6.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by Bampton Lecturer
Succeeded by