Dr Nicholas James Thompson

BAHons (Otago) , DipGrad (Otago) , DipLib (Victoria) , MA (British Columbia) , MTheol (Otago) , PhD (Glasgow)

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Senior Lecturer


  • 2001-2009: Lecturer in Church History, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, University of Aberdeen, UK

Research | Current

  • The thought of the Strasbourg reformer Martin Bucer (1491-1551)
  • Religious irenicism and tolerance in the Early Modern era
  • Religious coexistence and sectarianism in 19th century New Zealand and the British Empire
  • The Reformations in Scotland, France and Rhineland Germany
  • Christian pilgrimage - especially the routes to Santiago de Compostela

I'm currently working on a critical edition of Martin Bucer's Scripta duo adversaria (1544). Based in the well-networked city of Strasbourg, Bucer maintained contact with Protestant and Catholic thinkers all of over Europe. This work maps the collapse of his plans for a negotiated settlement to the Reformation in Germany (and further afield) as it became apparent that the much delayed Council of Trent was about to meet and the relationship between Charles V and the League of Schmalkalden was about to break down into the Reformation's first war of religion.

I'm also starting research on religious sectarianism in 19th century New Zealand - a feature usually edited out of our National history either because it is deemed to be irrelevant to us now, or because it doesn't fit well with our sense of ourselves as a pragmatic, tolerant and peace-loving nation. Yet, along with Australia, Canada, the United States and Great Britain, 19th century New Zealand was caught up in a series of international panics about Roman Catholicism, that often bear an uncanny resemblance to contemporary media panics about Islam. My working hypothesis is that New Zealand was less aggressively sectarian than other English-speaking societies - though only as a matter of degree. The conditions that created this climate of relatively muted religious antagonism remain to be investigated.

Teaching | Current

THEOREL 200 A Major Religious Thinker

THEOREL 201 Religions in New Zealand

THEOREL 205  Religion and Violence

THEOREL 207 Christianity and Modernity, 1600-2000

THEOREL 305 Religion and Violence

THEOREL 307 Christianity and Modernity, 1600-2000

THEOLOGY 706AB The Reformations

Postgraduate supervision

Current and recent PhD students have worked on the following topics:

  • Women in Tonga and the Methodist Missionaries
  • The Methodist Church of Samoa in New Zealand
  • The spirituality of Margaret Fell (1614-1704)
  • Ambrogio Catarino (1484-1553) and covenant theology
  • Andrew Melville (1545-1622) and Humanism
  • Jean Raulin (1443-1515) and monastic reform in France
  • Martin Bucer's (1491-1551) doctrine of justification
  • Thomas Chalmers and Christian giving in the Free Church of Scotland
  • Federalism and baptism in the thought of Benjamin Keach (1640-1704)
  • History of the British military chaplaincy
  • John Owen (1616-1683) and the analogy of faith


Postgraduate advisor

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Thompson, N. J. (2015). Where Was Your Church Before Luther? History and Catholicity in Early Seventeenth-Century Aberdonian Theology. In A. Denlinger (Ed.) Reformed Orthodoxy in Scotland: Essays on Scottish Theology 1560-1775 (pp. 67-82). London: Bloomsbury. Related URL.
  • Thompson, N. J. (Ed.) (2014). Martin Bucer, De vera et falsa caenae dominicae administratione (1546). Boston: Brill.
  • Thompson, N. (2013). Martin Bucer. In L. P. Wandel (Ed.) A Companion to the Eucharist in the Reformation (pp. 75-95). Leiden: Brill. Related URL.
  • Thompson, N. J. (2011). Going Public: Catholic Calls for the Abolition of the Private Mass in the Sixteenth Century. Reformation and Renaissance Review, 13 (1), 63-92. 10.1558/rrr.v13il.63
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/18424
  • Thompson, N. J. (2010). Martin Bucer and Early Seventeenth-Century Scottish Irenicism. In P. Collinson, P. Ha (Eds.) The Reception of Continental Reformation in Britain (pp. 167-191). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/13975
  • Thompson, N. J. (2008). A Reformed Papacy? Martin Bucer and the Treatment of Papal Primacy in the Worms Book (1540). In C. Asprey, F. Murphy (Eds.) Ecumenism Today: the Universal Church in the 21st Century (pp. 151-171). Aldershot: Ashgate.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/13973
  • Thompson, N. J. (2007). Three Versions of 'Syllabus aliquot synodorum et colloquiorum': an Early Modern Reading List of Irenical Literature. Reformation and Renaissance Review, 9 (3), 303-340. 10.1558/rrr.v9i3.303
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/10572
  • Thompson, N. J. (2005). Eucharistic Sacrifice and the Patristic Tradition in the Theology of Martin Bucer. Leiden: Brill. Pages: 315. Related URL.


Contact details

Office hours

Wednesdays 3-5pm (semester 2, 2015) or email me about an appointment at another time

Primary location

ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
Level 5, Room 509
New Zealand

Social links

Web links