George Wishart Quincentennial Speakers
Prof. Martin Dotterweich
George Wishart’s first exile was spent in England in the turbulent years 1538-39, during which he preached a good deal, was imprisoned, tried for heresy, recanted three times, and was forced to flee after the passage of the Act of Six Articles. Back in England in 1542 or 1543, he spent time at Cambridge University before returning to Scotland. Although the records are scant, Wishart’s time in England offers important insight into his overall career, and his prophetic personality.
Prof. Jane Dawson
Starting with the very familiar picture of John Knox carrying his two-handed sword before George Wishart when he was conducting his final preaching tour, Professor Dawson examined the relationship between the two men. Although brief for Knox this was a crucial relationship and after Wishart’s execution he felt he was Elisha receiving the prophet’s mantle when Elijah was carried into heaven on his fiery chariot. The long-term effect of Wishart’s influence upon Knox will also be examined as it is revealed in his ministry and ideas for the remainder of his life.
Prof. Roger Mason
The climactic moments of George Wishart’s career – his trial and execution – took place in St Andrews in 1546. The talk explored the significance of Scotland’s ecclesiastical capital in the religious culture of the time. It also examined the political and international contexts which lent the events of 1546, including the retaliatory assassination of Cardinal David Beaton, immense symbolic significance. Finally, Professor Mason looked at how Wishart’s last days were portrayed in the writings of John Knox and George Buchanan and incorporated into an enduring Protestant narrative.
Prof. Alec Ryrie
Jack Gillespie Wishart
Prof. Ian Hazlett
- What a confession of faith was and its function.
- What the context, content and purpose was of the 1536 Swiss Confession.
- Wishart’s encounter with the Confession when abroad in the late 1530s.
- The impact of the Confession on Wishart and his translation of it into (English).
- Possible allusions, direct or indirect, to the Confession during Wishart’s trial for heresy.
- The circumstances of the publication of the Confession in English a year or two after Wishart’s demise.
- Influence of the Confession on Scotland in relation to other confessions.
Prof. Iain Torrence
Given the lack of any known writings by George Wishart himself, Professor Torrance worked on the assumption that, although only the translator, not the author, George Wishart was more than likely to have accepted the contents of the first Swiss Confession of Faith. He also used Wishart’s responses to questioning at his trial, as recorded by Foxe and Knox, to show that Wishart had moved from the early, Lutheran views expressed by the first Scottish Reformation Martyr, Patrick Hamilton, to a set of beliefs more influenced by the Swiss reformers such as Calvin. In a detailed analysis of his source documents Professor Torrance showed how the Scottish Confession, written in 1560 by a small group under Wishart’s disciple, John Knox, set the reformed church in Scotland in a Calvinistic frame and suggested that without Wishart’s influence, the present day Church of Scotland would have been rather different.
All images © Scott Wishart, 2013