Marjon News

Alumna Receives Doctor of Divinity Degree at Oxford

Released: 28.12.15


An alumna from the University has become the first British woman to be awarded with a Doctor of Divinity degree at the University of Oxford.

The highly prestigious University of Oxford degree of Doctor of Divinity is awarded for distinction in publications in Theology.  Over the past 90 years there have been only 76 successful applications and 74 of these have been achieved by men.

Recent recipient Professor Susan Gillingham studied at the University of St Mark & St John in 1974. She said: “My life in tertiary education now has three components:  teaching, administration, and research.  And as far as teaching is concerned I know I am indebted to that year at ‘Marjon’ for teaching me how to be rigorous, imaginative and caring – skills that are as important in a tutorial context as in the classroom.”

Four books and ten articles have to be submitted and are judged by two or three international experts outside Oxford.  The work has to ‘constitute an original contribution to the advancement of theological knowledge of such substance and distinction as to give the candidate an authoritative status in this branch of learning.’

Professor Gillingham continued: “I remember my time at ‘Marjon’ with great affection.  I had a fantastic lecturer; he was really encouraging in every way, and I came out with a Distinction in Theory and a Distinction in Practice.”

Professor Sue Gillingham, Fellow and Tutor in Theology at Worcester College and Professor of the Hebrew Bible at the University of Oxford, has a sustained research record in the study of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, and above all in the history of the reception of the psalms in both Judaism and Christianity.

American philosopher Marilyn McCord Adams is the only other woman to receive the prestigious Doctor of Divinity degree at the University of Oxford.


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