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Professor Jane Dawson

Knox College’s 2017 Convocation speaker will be Professor Jane Dawson, BA, PhD, Dip Ed, FRHS, FSA (Scot), FRSE.

Dr. Dawson is professor of Reformation History and Director of Recruitment at the School of Divinity, the University of Edinburgh. 

An early modern historian, Dr. Dawson works on the Reformation throughout Europe, although her primary interest is in the four countries within Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland, England, and Wales. Her teaching ranges from Christian origins to the present though it is concentrated upon the medieval and early modern periods.

Dr. Dawson is the author of many scholarly papers and is a respected John Knox scholar. In 2015 she published a biography of John Knox that contains the following abstract written by Yale University Press:

Jane Dawson has written the definitive life of John Knox, a leader of the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Scotland. Based in large part on previously unavailable sources, including the recently discovered papers of Knox’s close friend and colleague Christopher Goodman, Dawson’s biography challenges the traditionally held stereotype of this founder of the Presbyterian denomination as a strident and misogynist religious reformer whose influence rarely extended beyond Scotland. She maintains instead that John Knox relied heavily on the support of his “godly sisters” and conferred as well as argued with Mary, Queen of Scots. He was a proud member of the European community of Reformed Churches and deeply involved in the
religious Reformations within England, Ireland, France, Switzerland, and the Holy Roman Empire. Casting a surprising new light on the public and private persona of a highly complex, difficult, and hugely compelling individual, Dawson’s fascinating study offers a vivid, fully rounded portrait of this renowned Scottish preacher and prophet who had a seismic impact on religion and society.

Dr. Dawson also has a keen interest in worship and was instrumental in having a collection of Thomas Wode’s (pronounced Wood) collection of psalms sung and recorded in Scots. She’s also the author of the volume on the reformation period in the New Edinburgh History of Scotland – Scotland Reformed 1488-1587  (2007).