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Rev Principal W Gordon Campbell

Principal and Professor of New Testament

Rev Principal W Gordon Campbell



ResearchGate Academia Revue Reformee EXCELSIS


Gordon began working life as a modern languages teacher. Following theological studies at Union, he was successively assistant minister in Ulsterville Presbyterian Church, Belfast (1986–89) and minister of Cognac and Segonzac Reformed Churches (1989–1994) and Marseilles South–East Reformed Church (1995–97), in the Reformed Church of France. Gordon was Professor of New Testament at Faculté Jean Calvin (FJC) in Aix–en–Provence, France (1998–2005), as well as vice–principal and then principal of the College; as Associate Professor since 2005, he continues to help deliver the curriculum at FJC on an annual basis. Gordon is also visiting Professor of New Testament at Baltic Reformed Theological Seminary in Riga, Latvia.

Gordon became Professor of New Testament Studies at Union in 2007 and, more recently, Head of Biblical Studies. In addition, from 1st January 2021 Gordon took on the role and responsibility of College Principal. In Union’s long history of service to the Church and the wider community, the present time is one of significant change and growth. Gordon is especially conscious of the privilege of leading a growing complement of academic and support staff whose expertise, energy, commitment and enthusiasm are slowly but surely fuelling Union’s renaissance, as the College faces the on–going challenge, across a range of areas, of both consolidating its ministry and innovating: undertaking relevant research and publication in all major disciplines of Theology; providing foundational and further training for ministers of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland; recruiting students from across the local community and beyond, giving them a rich educational experience and helping them develop their potential and impact society for good; providing high–quality on–campus and online awards in Theology, under the Presbyterian Theological Faculty, Ireland, and also collaborating as appropriate with other providers of higher education both locally, nationally and internationally.

As primarily a biblical scholar, Gordon favours approaches to Scripture which respect the integrity of texts, investigating their particular contribution to larger corpora and to the Canon as a whole, and that also take account of the responsibility of the reader. Gordon’s publications reflect various interests or commissions and include for example: (1999) the motif of progress in the Pauline mission; (2002) covenant and family in New Testament perspective; (2003) the cult of the body and body of Christ in Corinth; (2004) the synoptic problem; (2006) death and resurrection; or Luke 1–2 and ancient historiography; (2010) the Jesus of Calvin’s Gospels commentary; (2016) The Pilgrim Leader and the pilgrims in Hebrews; (2019) Luther, the Letter of James and ‘all Scripture’ (2 Tim 3.16): when faith that justifies works to critique the canon; and (2021) some biblical entries for the 4th Edition of the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Gethsemane, Gog and Magog and the resurrection of Christ).

Gordon’s area of special interest and expertise is the Book of Revelation. His PhD dissertation on Parody in the Apocalypse (2002) was reworked into a unique thematic study of Revelation and published first in French (2007), then in English (Reading Revelation: A Thematic Approach, Cambs, Jas, Clarke, 2012). Diverse other contributions on Revelation include the following topics: (2001) story and interpretation; (2003) apocalypse and extermination; or true and false proclamation; (2004) feminine–urban imagery; covenant rupture and restoration; or rival identities; (2005) the royalty of God, the Lamb and his followers; (2006) perseverance of the saints; (2015) a reading of Revelation’s violence; and (2016) Revelation’s implied worshipper; or the Book of Revelation and New Testament Theology. A further, commissioned piece on the Spirit, seven spirits and anti–spirits in the Book of Revelation awaits publication.

In the last few years, Gordon has undertaken a research project focussing on the role played by the Book of Revelation in Martin Luther’s Bible publishing. This project produced a series of papers, delivered in various contexts, and has also led to the following published contributions to date: (2017) Luther, Revelation and the New Testament Canon; Collaborative verbal and visual interpretation of Revelation in Luther’s September Testament (1522) and revised New Testament (1530); Visual exegesis of the Book of Revelation in Martin Luther’s September Testament (1522); (2019) Visualising Revelation for Luther’s New Testament (1522–1546): debt, design and development; and (2020) The ‘Last Word’ in Pictures: Enhanced Visual Interpretation of Revelation in Luther’s High German Bible (1534).

Gordon is an elder in his local Church, where he is on the rota of pianists and also preaches occasionally. Gordon likes meeting new people, exploring new places and attempting to communicate in new languages. Gordon’s wife Sandra is a nursery–school teacher: together they are parents to four young adults and have one grandchild.