(Professor) N.T. Wright Going to St. Andrews

I thought I was done blogging about Bishop Tom for a while, but then the big news came out today: he is headed for St. Andrews University in Scotland as Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity. Both the University and the Diocese of Durham released statements today.

The good Bishop said it was the most difficult decision of his life (other than turning down the offer we made a few years back :-) ). In my conversation with him in Chicago, he dropped a hint in this direction, but I think most people are quite surprised. I know he is sad to leave the ministry in Durham, but this move certainly feels (w)right to me.

Why? He will now have time to actually get some writing done! (It’s about time.) No more slouching!

Seriously, he will be able to continue his pastoral writing, increase his scholarly output, and guide graduate students. In fact, I know that some people already inquired today about the Ph.D. application process at St. Andrews for the fall and learned that it is closed! I’m sure this was well planned.

Tom joins some interesting people at St. Andrews (which has a very strong biblical faculty and is currently rated the top school in theology in Scotland), including Philip Esler, Trevor Hart, and Alan Torrance not to mention Richard Bauckham (emeritus) (RB has moved to Cambridge in retirement), plus a young American gospels scholar, Kelly Iverson, a good friend of my colleague Chris Skinner.

Bishop/Professor Tom will be 62 in the fall—still a young and energetic man, with many productive years left, we hope and pray. (His colleague C.K. Barrett at Durham, who is 92, remains active to this day as far as I know.) May the next phase of his scholarship and ministry be blessed.

What do others think of this development?

6 Responses to “(Professor) N.T. Wright Going to St. Andrews”

  1. Bacho says:

    Michael,

    I am doing my PhD at Durham [part-time]. I happened to be at Durham this week. Thoughts from here…It is exciting and sad at the same time. This is a good move for him and his family. More time to write and to be around those he loves. Being a Bishop of Durham is a very hard and demanding work. It is sad, as Durham looses its arguably most visible figure.

    As NTW moves there is still plenty of top notch scholarship going on here. For example, yesterday at the OT seminar we listened to Joel Kaminsky’s thoughts on the book of Judges. Very interesting work. And the faculty is still very strong. in OT and related studies : Moberly, Weeks, and Hayward. In NT and related studies: Barclay, Barton, and Watson. Still a great place to study even if the NTW fan base moves to St. Andrews.

  2. MJG says:

    You make excellent points about the Durham situation. Last week it was, and this week it still is, one of the finest places in the world to do graduate work in theology, especially Bible, and most especially theological interpretation of Scripture. Good choice!

    BTW, Nijay Gupta and Ben Blackwell are good friends of mine.

  3. Bacho says:

    Thanks for your kind words about Durham. Check out my blog. I put some thoughts about this move and what it means for St. Andrews, NTW, and Durham. I wonder if you think of them.
    BTW: I had lunch with Ben yesterday.

  4. dan says:

    I find this move interesting because I think that Wright has previously stated that he felt that his study of the biblical texts (and what that study meant for his life) was the thing that inspired him to move from being more active in the academy to being more active in the church. If I remember correctly, he seemed to feel impelled to be more active ‘on the ground’ with church members and so on. I wonder if this understanding has shifted or if he has simply become somewhat burned-out by his church work (which would be very understandable given what is going on with the Anglican Communion!) or what.

  5. jks says:

    Just so you know, Richard Bauckham moved to Cambridge after he retired from St. Andrew’s so I am pretty sure that while a notable scholar in their past, he is no longer available to those studying at the St. Andrew’s faculty.

  6. MJG says:

    Dan,

    He has said at least two things publicly and/or privately (besides how tough a decision this was): (1) being Bishop elicited many of his gifts, strengths, and interests; (2) it is now time to focus once again on his other passion and gifts in and for the broader church.

    I think historians of theology will say that the “episcopal phase”of his theology and writing was very important both for the church and for his own future scholarship.

    JKS,

    Thanks for the reminder; I had forgotten that RB moved. Post to be corrected.

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