William Cunningham was one of the remarkable galaxy of theologians who graced the Faculty of New College, Edinburgh in the early years, where he served as Professor of Church History, and, from 1847, as Principal. A scholar of profound learning and acute judgment, Cunningham was also personally committed to knowing and following the truth, wherever it might lead him in this studies. Consequently his work is characterized by wide-ranging scholarship, by vigorous questioning and, supremely, by a sense of spiritual robustness rarely seen in modern theological writing. He was too careful a student of the Reformation period merely to follow traditional Protestant interpretations. Here for example, he rejects the common readiness to blame Zwingli for the manner of his death on the battlefield of Cappel. On the other hand, he is not slow to offer critical comment of the Reformers or their teaching where he believes that is warranted. Thankfully, shortly before his death, Cunningham committed to James Buchanan and James Bannerman, his colleagues at New College, the manuscripts he had already prepared for the press. These included the essays published in this fine volume, some of which continue to be recognized as landmark studies in the theology of the Reformation. According to a contemporary, William Cunningham did not merely 'lecture' to his students; sometimes he 'rampaged'. In his teaching, learning, earnestness and eloquence were welded together. The product, in this volume, is scholarship and spiritually of the noblest kind.
Religion & Spirituality, General,