Religious Studies


Although various courses in theology and complementary disciplines such as Hebrew have been offered at McGill since the 1840s under the Faculty of Arts, McGill did not offer a full programme of religious studies until the establishment of the Faculty of Divinity in 1948. Four theological colleges became affiliated with McGill: the Congregational in 1865; the Presbyterian in 1868; the Wesleyan in 1879; and the Montreal Diocesan (Anglican) in 1880. In 1912 these colleges formed a Joint Board which was affiliated with McGill; however, the colleges were, and remain, independent bodies. While students from the colleges could take courses within the University, the colleges, not the University, were responsible for professional training and the granting of credentials. After a long period of negotiation, the Faculty of Divinity was established in 1948 with an agreement between four contracting parties: McGill University, the Joint Board of Theological Colleges affiliated with McGill University, the United Theological College and the Diocesan Theological College. The Joint Board transferred Divinity Hall (the Birks Building) to the University. The theological colleges participated in the choice of staff and the financing of the Faculty of Divinity. Degrees in theology and divinity (B.D., S.T.M.) were now granted under the authority of the University. In 1969 the Presbyterian College joined the other two colleges in their association with the Faculty of Divinity. In 1970, the Faculty was renamed the Faculty of Religious Studies, reflecting the fact that preparation for the ministry was not the only concern of its curriculum. Some private papers of the first Dean, R.B.Y. Scott are in M.G. 2005, and papers of William Massey Birks are in M.G. 1019. H. Keith Markell has written A History of the McGill Faculty of Religious Studies (1979).


1948-1949 R.B.Y. Scott

1949-1957 James S. Thomson

1957-1962 Stanley B. Frost

1963-1970 Eric George Jay

1970-1975 George Johnston

1975- Joseph C. McLelland


Addresses, 1970-1972, 1 cm (c.1)

There are two addresses by George Johnston as Dean.

Publications, 1963-1970, 1 cm (c.1)

Included are announcements of the annual Birks Lectures and news bulletins from the Dean to alumni of the Faculty.

Marriage Licences, 1950-1969, 15 cm (c.1)

These are licences granted to persons who were married in the Chapel in Divinity Hall (now the Birks Building).

McGill Tomb, 1970-1971, 3 cm (c.1)

Correspondence, drawings and Archives Fact Sheets on the reconstruction of James McGill's Tomb.

Dead Sea Scrolls, 1949-1963, 2 cm (c.1)

Correspondence, notes and draft article for McGill News by R.B.Y. Scott on the purchase of scroll fragments by McGill. There is a list of the McGill fragments.


Examinations, 1965-1975, 4 cm (c.1)

These consist of specimen unworked examinations for various courses in the Faculty. The arrangement is chronological. Listed.