Cunningham Lectures

The Cunningham Lectures are the oldest lectureships of New College. They were endowed by William Binny Webster in 1862, in memory of William Cunningham, second principal of New College (1847–1861) and Moderator of the Free Church General Assembly in 1859.

Webster was a surgeon in the East India Company who, after returning to Edinburgh, was one of the great benefactors of the Free Church. Along with the lectures, he provided Cunningham Fellowships to assist ‘poor but pious’ students at New College, the New College Library, and for Free Church home missions. Through the Cunningham Lectures, Webster was ‘desirous of advancing the Theological Literature of Scotland’, and modelled them after similar lectureships in England. To this end, when they were first established, the lecturer was to deliver at least six lectures and to print and to publish ‘at his own risk’ 750 copies of the lectures, within a year of their delivery.

The lectures were to cover the range of theological topics, including home and foreign missions. Many of the earliest lecturers were ministers of the Free Church such as Robert Candlish and Robert Rainy, two New College principals who succeeded Cunningham, whereas more recent lecturers have included Allan Boesak, Miroslav Volf, Peter Phan, and Shawn Copeland.

Past Lectures

Year Lecturer Title and Publication Details (if it exists)
1864 Robert S. Candlish The Fatherhood of God (A&C Black 1865)
1866 James Buchanan The Doctrine of Justification (T&T Clark 1867)
1868 Patrick Fairbairn The Revelation of Law in Scripture (T&T Clark 1872)
1873 Robert Rainy Delivery and Development of Christian Doctrine (T&T Clark 1872)
1875 Alexander B. Bruce The Humiliation of Christ (T&T Clark 1876)
1879? John Laidlaw The Bible Doctrine of Man (T&T Clark 1879)
1880 John Cairns Unbelief in the Eighteenth Century (A&C Black 1881)
1882? George Smeaton The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (T&T Clark 1882)
1884? James S. Candlish The Kingdom of God (T&T Clark 1884)
1887? D. Douglas Bannerman The Scripture Doctrine of the Church (T&T Clark 1887)
1888? William Garden Blaikie The Preachers of Scotland (T&T Clark 1888)
1892 Charles Greig M'Crie The Public Worship of Presbyterian Scotland (William Blackwood 1892)
1894 Stewart D. F. Salmond The Christian Doctrine of Immortality (T&T Clark 1895)
1897 David Somerville St Paul's Conception of Christ (T&T Clark 1897)
1899 James Stalker The Christology of Jesus (Hodder & Stoughton 1899)
1902? Thomas M. Lindsay The Church and the Ministry in the Early Centuries (Hodder & Stoughton 1902)
1904 H. A. A. Kennedy St Paul's Conceptions of the Last Things (Hodder & Stoughton 1904)
1907 William Fairweather The Background of the Gospels (T&T Clark 1908)
1909? J. Oswald Dykes The Divine Worker in Creation and Providence (T&T Clark 1909)
1911 George Steven The Psycology of the Christian Soul (Hodder & Stoughton 1911)
1915 James Moffat 'The Theology of Tertullian'
1917 James Denney The Christian Doctrine of Reconciliation (Hodder & Stoughton 1918) (Undelivered due to death)
1920 John Skinner Prophecy and Religion (Cambridge University Press 1922)
1921 A. G. Hogg Redemption from this World (T&T Clark 1922)
1927 John Dow Jesus and the Human Conflict (Hodder and Stoughton 1928)
1936 J. H. Morrison Christian Faith and the Science of To-day (Hodder & Stoughton 1936)
1940 William Manson Jesus the Messiah: The Synoptic Tradition of the Revelation of God in Christ: With Special Reference to Form-criticism (Hodder & Stoughton 1943)
1950 W. R. Forrester Christian Vocation (Lutherworth 1951)
1954 George F. MacLeod Only One Way Left (Iona Community 1956)
1957 Stewart Mechie The Church of Scotland Social Development (Oxford University Press 1960)
1966 David Cairns God up there? (St Andrew Press 1967)
1982 Allan Boseak 'In the Eye of Storm: The Church in South Africa Facing the Challenge of the Eighties'
1988 Etienne Trocme  
1990 Brian A. Gerrish 'Gift and Gratitude: The Eucharist in the Theology of Calvin'
1993 L. Gordon Tait 'John Witherspoon'
1994 Jan Milič Lochman Zeal for Truth and Tolerance: The Ecumenical Challenge of the Czech Reformation (Scottish Academic Press 1996)
1996 David Fergusson The Cosmos and the Creator (SPCK 1998)
2002 Jeremy Carrette Religion and Critical Psychology (Routledge 2007)
2009-2010   Faith in Scotland Lecture Series
  Jane Dawson 'The Kirk and the Reformation'
  Donald Mcleod 'Reformed Theology in Scotland'
  Roger Mason 'Religion and Liberty: The Reformation and Political Thought in Early Modern Scotland'
  Susan Manning 'Calvinism and Scottish Literature'
  John Lowrie Morrison 'Christianity and Art'
  Noel O'Regan 'Psalm-singing in Scotland through the ages'
2014 Miroslav Volf 'Faith and Globalisation', published as Flourishing Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World (Yale University Press 2015)
2016 John Witte 'Christianity and Human Rights'
2017 Thomas Kaufmann 'Europe, Reformation and Luther'
2018 Peter Phan 'Migration of Christianity, Christianity of Migration'
2019 Shawn Copeland 'Theology as Political'
2023 Oliver O'Donovan 'The Promises of Political Theology'
2023 Esther Mombo 'The God of Mama Rabecca Jumba: African Women as Forerunners in Re-Imagining World Christianities'