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Title: George Adam Smith (1856-1942)
Author: Campbell, Iain D.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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This study is an intellectual biography of Sir George Adam Smith, biblical scholar and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen. Smith trained for the ministry of the Free Church of Scotland under A.B. Davidson, who was influential in disseminating Higher Critical views of the Bible in Scotland. Smith inherited his teacher's penchant for Hebrew and Old Testament criticisms, and served as Hebrew tutor in Aberdeen's Free Church College following the deposition of William Robertson Smith, before becoming the first minister of Queen's Cross Free Church, Aberdeen (1882-92). During his ministry in Aberdeen Smith established a reputation as a preacher of note, and a leading biblical scholar. His preaching drew a large congregation around him, and his Old Testament commentaries secured him a place of note among students of the Old Testament prophets. The tensions between the developing biblical scholarship of the period and the confessional commitment of the Victorian Free Church of Scotland are evident in his years of ministry; and this thesis examines the relationship between the Church's theological position and the scholarship of the rising intellectuals. In 1892 Smith was appointed to the Chair of Hebrew and Old Testament Exegesis at the Free Church College, Glasgow, where he served until 1910. Smith's scholarly work focused on further critical studies of the prophets and the Historical Geography of Palestine. The tensions between academic study of the biblical text and the Church's confessional position came to a head with a near trial for heresy in 1902, the significance of which is examined here. Smith also embraced a social Gospel, and the relationship between his critical study of the Old Testament and his social work in the cities is worthy of study. Some historians view the emergence of a social gospel as evidence of a disappearing orthodox; but for Smith the social work of the church was integral to the ongoing ministry of the Church. Smith served as Principal of Aberdeen University from 1910 to 1935. His position as Vice Chancellor was akin to pastoring a large congregation without credal commitment. The growth of the University during his Principalship is interesting in its own right; not less so are his work as Moderator of the United Free Church of Scotland (1916) and his work in church and state during the First World War.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available