John Oman: Orkney’s theologian a contextual study of John Oman’s theology with reference to personal freedom as the unifying principle
McKimmon, Eric George
This thesis is a contextual study of the work of Orkney theologian John Oman (1860- 1939), with reference to personal freedom as the unifying principle. Oman’s early life in Orkney, his philosophical awakening in Edinburgh and his wide reading of European thought are the contexts explored. From these contexts emerges a theology that is eclectic in nature and which finds coherence in the principle of personal freedom. Oman’s concept of freedom is defined theologically, metaphysically and personally; this is followed by discussion of its application to the specific subject areas of Christology and Ecclesiology. The priority that Oman gives to personal freedom results in a distinctive theology of Christ and the Church. Thus, the uniqueness of Christ lies in the freedom which he exemplifies in humanity; and the Church is a community of freedom transcending institutional expression. The thesis concludes that Oman’s sui generis theology is the outcome of the heritage of freedom gifted in various contexts. However, this heritage of freedom was radicalised by Oman, as he developed his own theological vision.