Glasgow University's Great War Project

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Theology After the War

By Alicia Henneberry, postgraduate student, Theology and Religious Studies, University of Glasgow

This is the last of a series of posts on Theology at the University of Glasgow during the First World War.

The last of my series on the chaplains of Glasgow University will focus mostly on an item in Glasgow University Library’s Special Collections entitled Theology After the War. This lecture given by Professor HMB Reid at the closing of the 1915-1916 school year to the Divinity Faculty confirmed many of my archival findings about the general temperament of the Faculty during the war, and reveals just how much of a toll the war took on the hearts and minds of these lecturers and their students.

As we have seen from the meeting minutes and lists in the University Archive, dozens of students left for the front, leaving behind their textbooks in favour of weapons and uniforms. The opening of Professor Reid’s lecture illuminates just how big of an impact the war made.

“We have watched the steady ebbing of our numbers, and to-day we are face to face with the fact that practically all our students have been armed for the national service. Nearly fifty of them are either in home cantonments getting ready, or in the field of battle.”

For the Divinity Faculty, forty students was a substantial level of participation.

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Meeting Minutes of the Divinity Faculty during WWI

By Alicia Henneberry, postgraduate student, Theology and Religious Studies, University of Glasgow

This is one of a series of posts on Theology at the University of Glasgow during the First World War.

My first post about the education of University of Glasgow chaplains and theologians for the Great War and the Faculty of Divinity focused on the roll of speakers who addressed the Faculty. In this post I will focus on the record of meeting minutes for the professors of Divinity, which gives a good idea of how the war affected the department over the duration of the war. The University Archive is in possession of two minute books for the war years, Glasgow University Archive References DIV1/4 and DIV1/5, which cover the meetings that took place in the first half of the twentieth century. (For anyone interested in perusing these records for themselves, I would highly suggest looking at DIV1/5, as the handwriting is much more legible!)

University of Glasgow Archives Reference: DIV1/4

Faculty of Divinity minute book. University of Glasgow Archives Reference: DIV1/4

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Glasgow University’s Great War: Chaplains and Theology Students

By Alicia Henneberry, postgraduate student, Theology and Religious Studies, University of Glasgow

This is the first of a series of posts on Theology at the University of Glasgow during the First World War.

The Glasgow University’s Great War Project is remembering the many men who fought and died bravely on the front lines in World War I. For this particular facet of the project, I focused on an aspect of this war that took place much closer to home for those of us on the University of Glasgow campus. I endeavoured to uncover aspects of the lives of those who studied and served from the University of Glasgow’s Divinity Faculty – the Chaplains and Theology Students of World War I. Still a major part of the British Armed forces, military chaplains are ordained members of various denominations, including the churches of Scotland and England, who hold commissions in the army, ministering to soldiers in times of war and peace. Though the University Archives’ theology and religious studies collection does not contain information of the war service of these men specifically, they have illuminated their educational background. This project was a unique opportunity to delve into the lives of these men before they went to the front, and study how the war affected religious belief and education.

The collection itself is comprised of several items, three of which I will be featuring in my consecutive blog posts that I feel were the most telling of the education and life at the Faculty of Divinity during World War I. The particular item that I will focus on for my first post is the Register of the Preachers before the University (University of Glasgow Archives Reference: CH 2/1). As the name suggests, this is a logbook listing the names of all those who gave sermons or lectures to Divinity students during the first half of the twentieth century. Along with the names is included the date upon which the sermon was given, the title of the sermon, and the relevant Bible verses that the speaker referenced. At first glance, this source seems particularly straightforward and simple, listing no more than names and titles with no specific mention to the war raging to the south. However, once I looked closely at the titles, Bible texts and verses, as well as the dates and who was speaking, I was able to gain a lot more information.

University of Glasgow Archives Reference: CH2/1

University of Glasgow Archives Reference: CH2/1

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Human lives full of vigour: remembering the First World War

By Reverend Stuart D MacQuarrie, Chaplain to the University

Glasgow University’s Great War centenary project is important to the University not simply as a historical reflection but in my view as a reflection of who we are, and where we are going. In his seminal work The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L Shirer quotes as an epigram the Spanish American philosopher Santayana who said, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ This project will draw insights about life in the University, the City of Glasgow and Scotland which relate to political, social, and cultural influences from which we can learn and perhaps apply to the present and possibly future times.

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