Top Edinburgh theologian appointed to Cambridge's oldest professorship

An eminent Edinburgh theologian has been appointed to Cambridge University's oldest professorship.

Rev Prof David Fergusson has taught at Edinburgh's New College for 20 years
Rev Prof David Fergusson has taught at Edinburgh's New College for 20 years

The Rev Professor David Fergusson, former principal of Edinburgh University’s New College, takes up the Regius Chair of Divinity at Cambridge next April.

But he plans to maintain a base in the Capital and continue his involvement at Greenbank Parish Church.

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Cambridge’s Regius Chair of Divinity was set-up on the instructions of King Henry VIII of England in 1540 and the post has been held by many distinguished scholars.

.Professor Fergusson's duties will include lecturing, researching, supervising students and supporting the administration of the Faculty of Divinity

Originally from Glasgow, Professor Fergusson studied in his home city as well as at the universities of Edinburgh and Oxford before being ordained as a Church of Scotland minister.

After three years as a parish minister he spent ten years as professor of systematic theology at Aberdeen University and has been professor of divinity in Edinburgh since 2000, serving as principal of New College from 2008 until 2018.

Professor Fergusson, who has been a Royal Chaplain since 2015 and was appointed Dean of the Chapel Royal in 2019, said: "Though I shall be sorry to leave New College and the University of Edinburgh next spring after more than two decades in the Divinity Chair, I'm excited at the prospect of this new challenge in Cambridge for the final phase of my academic career.

"We'll be maintaining a base in Edinburgh, and I look forward to fulfilling various church commitments in the years ahead. It's already been pointed out to me that I can attend presbytery meetings by Zoom.”

His duties in his new role will include lecturing, researching, supervising students and supporting the administration of the Faculty of Divinity

Former Church of Scotland Moderator the Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance said: "David is not only a very good scholar, he is an excellent colleague and he always brings a sense for how a department can thrive.

"He made a lasting difference in his 10 years at the University of Aberdeen. He welcomed a new generation of colleagues during his 20 years at New College and helped them to succeed. I knew Cambridge very much wanted his presence at a time of transition for them. I congratulate him on such a very distinguished appointment.”

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