Richard Holloway

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The Right Reverend
Richard Holloway
Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Church Scottish Episcopal Church
In office 1992 to 2000
Predecessor George Henderson
Successor Bruce Cameron
Other posts Bishop of Edinburgh (1986–2000)
Gresham Professor of Divinity (1997–2001)
Consecration 1986
Personal details
Born (1933-11-26) 26 November 1933 (age 83)
Possilpark, Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Denomination Anglicanism
Alma mater Kelham Theological College
Edinburgh Theological College
Union Theological Seminary, New York City

Richard Holloway, FRSE (born 26 November 1933) is a Scottish writer, broadcaster and cleric. He was Bishop of Edinburgh from 1986 to 2000 and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church from 1992 to 2000.


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,[1] 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",[2] with strong faith in humanity.[3]

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 (1995) 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 28 May 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 and in 2016 he is presenting a Radio 4 series Three Score Years and Ten, a reflection on human mortality.[4] His book "Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt " talks about his life from childhood.[5]

Holloway lives in Edinburgh with his American-born wife Jean. They have three adult children: two daughters and a son.

Selected works[edit]

  • 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)
  • "A Little History of Religion (2016)


  1. ^ Archer, Bert (2009-10-24). "Ex-bishop preaches a kinder atheism". Toronto Star. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Turpin, Adrian (August 3, 2008). "Richard Holloway dissects the nature of evil". The Times. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Robinson, David (27 February 2012). "Interview: Richard Holloway, writer, broadcaster and former Bishop of Edinburgh in the Scottish Episcopal Church". The Scotsman. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "Looking Back, Three Score Years and Ten - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  5. ^ Robinson, David (27 February 2012). "Interview: Richard Holloway, writer, broadcaster and former Bishop of Edinburgh in the Scottish Episcopal Church". The Scotsman. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 

External links[edit]

Religious titles
Preceded by
Alastair Iain Macdonald Haggart
Bishop of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
Brian Arthur Smith
Preceded by
George Henderson
Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Succeeded by
Bruce Cameron