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Macquarrie, John 1919-2007

Macquarrie, John 1919-2007


See index for CA sketch: Born June 27, 1919, in Renfrew, Scotland; died of stomach cancer, May 28, 2007, in Oxford, England. Minister, theologian, educator, and author. A minister in the Episcopal Church and former Oxford professor, Macquarrie was known for his open-minded theology that made room for all forms of religion and drew on the philosophy of Heidegger to theorize on the nature of God. Raised in a Presbyterian family, he was inspired by his local minister to study philosophy and theology. He consequently attended the University of Glasgow, where he earned an M.A. in 1940 and a B.D. in 1943. Ordained in the Church of Scotland, Macquarrie served in the British Army and was a military chaplain until 1948. Returning to Glasgow, he completed a Ph.D. in 1954 and remained on the faculty there as a lecturer until 1962. For the remainder of the 1960s, he was a professor of systematic theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. During the 1960s, he turned to the Anglican Church, and he was a priest associate in the Order of the Holy Cross, which is part of the American Anglican Benedictine order. Macquarrie then returned to England, where he was Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church from 1970 to 1986, as well as governor of St. Stephen's House in the early 1970s and of Pusey House after that. He turned down an offer to be named bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church, but was active in the Church of England Doctrine Commission, which served as a forum for ecumenical dialogue. Fluent in German, Macquarrie was interested in Martin Heidegger and his theories of the meaning of being. Macquarrie came to conclude that God is Being, that language referring to God must be seen as symbolic, and that Jesus was indeed a human being but that he was the closest representative on earth of God's presence. Furthermore, Macquarrie believed that all religions offer some truth about God and that people should not be quick to label others as heretics. Elected fellow of the British Academy in 1984, he was president of the Institute of Religion and Theology of Great Britain and Ireland from 1982 to 1985. A prolific author, Macquarrie discussed his beliefs in numerous books. Among his publications are Twentieth Century Religious Thought: Frontiers of Philosophy and Theology (1963; revised edition, 1981), Existentialism (1972), Christian Unity and Christian Diversity (1975), Theology, Church and Ministry (1986), and Christology Revisited (1998).



Los Angeles Times, June 8, 2007, p. B7.

New York Times, June 3, 2007, p. A29.

Times (London, England), June 1, 2007, p. 80.

Washington Post, June 11, 2007, p. B6.

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