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In Memory of Colin Gunton

Ten years ago today Colin Gunton, Professor of Christian Doctrine, a (the?) leading British theologian of his generation, died. I went to King's as an undergrad in theology because of Colin. In my second year I attempted to read everything he had written. I did not really know him well, (we shared a few converastions), but his theology and way of doing theology have left a big mark on my life.  

He had planned to write a British (English?) systematic theology. This would have been an huge and rare achievement in British theology. A first volume was completed in draft and there has, in the years since his death, been talk of its publication. The job of writing a British systematic theology perhaps now lies with the likes of John Webster (on his way to St. Andrews) and Sarah Coakley (Cambridge), both now in the writing.

P1410771Colin's published works cover almost all aspects of Christian doctrine - doctrine of God, Christology, atonement, Trinity, creation, revelation, pneumatology, anthropology, ecclesiology - and he made important contributions in all. He wrote essays on many of the major figures of the Christian tradition - Ireaneus, Augustine (famously not favourably), Cappadocian fathers, Anselm, Calvin, Barth, as well as British names like John Owen, Edward Iriving, John Henry Newman, Samuel Coleridge and P. T. Forsyth, and his contemporaries like J√ľngel, Pannenberg, Jenson and Torrance and of course Zizioulas.  

Since his death, there has been an increasing challenge to his reading of Augustine, several published dissertations on his work (by Hans Schaeffer, David Hohne, and Brad Green), in addition to a set of essays examining his work edited by Lincoln Harvey.

In 1993, he wrote that both Forsyth and Torrance were 'at the very least ... theological talents whose intellectual achievement will continue to live, and on whom a continuing stream of secondary work is to be expected.' To those names, Gunton himself should be added. 


Jason Goroncy

Nice post Andy.

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