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John B. Webster

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John Bainbridge Webster (b. 1955) is a British Anglican systematic theologian and has been professor and chair of Systematic Theology at the King's College, Aberdeen, Scotland since 2003. He was Chaplain and Tutor at St John's College, Durham (1982-86) and then taught at at Wycliffe College, one of the seven colleges that comprise the Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto (1986-96). Before moving to Aberdeen Webster was formerly Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford (1996-2003).

Webster has an MA and PhD (1982) from the University of Cambridge and has done significant work on theologians Eberhard Jüngel and Karl Barth.[1] He co-founded the International Journal of Systematic Theology with Colin Gunton (1940-2003), and is on the editorial board of the International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church and of the Scottish Journal of Theology Monographs. He is an editor of The Great Theologians and Barth Studies series (both with Ashgate), and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook to Systematic Theology (2007). Webster was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2005. In September 2007, he delivered the inaugural lectures of the Kantzer Lectures in Revealed Theology moderated by Kevin Vanhoozer through the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL.


Dogmatics and Christian theology

  • "Dogmatics is often caricatured as the unholy science that reduces the practices of piety to lifeless propositions. But far from it: dogmatics is that delightful activity in which the Church praises God by ordering its thinking towards the gospel of Christ. Set in the midst of the praise, repentance, witness and service of God's holy people, dogmatics - like all Christian theology - directs the Church's attention to the realities which the gospel declares and attempts responsibility to make those realities a matter of thought." [3]
  • "The matter to which Christian theology is commanded to attend, and by which it is directed in all its operations, is the presence of the perfect God as it is announced in the gospel and confessed in the praises and testimonies of the communion of saints." [4]

Immensity of God

  • "God's immensity is the triune God himself in the boundless plenitude of his being, in which he is unhindered by any spatial constraint, and so sovereignly free for creative and saving presence to all limited creaturely reality." [5]

Reading Holy Scripture

  • "Engaging in the particular activity of reading Holy Scripture as the Word of God requires that I be a particular kind of person, one who through the Spirit is liberated from self-concern and the pursuit of self-defined interests, and formed both to love and seek for the ends which God establishes for human life. This is why a Christian theological hermeneutic will give space to describing the formation of the soul of the reader, so that Christian skills of reading and Christian reader-roles can be learned and practised." [6]

Selected publications

Constructive works

  • Confessing God: Essays in Christian Dogmatics II. T & T Clark, 2005.
  • Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch. Cambridge, 2003.
  • Holiness. Eerdmans, 2003.
  • Word and Church: Essays in Church Dogmatics. T & T Clark, 2001.

Work on Barth

Translations and works on Eberhard Jüngel

  • Possibilities of Theology: Studies in the Theology of Eberhard Jüngel. T & T Clark, 1994. Paperback, 2006.
  • Eberhard Jüngel, Theological Essays II., trans. with Arnold Neufeldt-Fast. T & T Clark, 1995.
  • Eberhard Jüngel, Theological Essays I. T & T Clark, 1989; second edition, 1998.
  • Eberhard Jüngel. An Introduction to his Theology. Cambridge University Press, 1986; second edition, 1991.

Other edited works

  • ed. et al. Oxford Handbook to Systematic Theology. Oxford, 2007.
  • ed., with G.P. Schner Theology after Liberalism: A Reader. Blackwell, 2000.


  1. Webster's dissertation was titled: "Distinguishing Between God and Man: Aspects of the Theology of Eberhard Jüngel."
  2. There are two intro speakers and then John Webster begins. The presentation was given at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.
  3. Holiness (Eerdmans, 2003), 8.
  4. Confessing God (T&T Clark, 2005), 1.
  5. Confessing God (T&T Clark, 2005), 92.
  6. Word and Church (T&T Clark, 2001), 83.

See also

External links

Online writings

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