Dual aspects of ministerial training in late sixteenth century: Edinburgh’s ‘Tounis College’ and the formation of ministers’ early career with special regard to the ‘Exercise’
Komlósi, Péter Attila
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This thesis examines the transformation of the clergy in the late sixteenth century Scotland in which ministerial training had a crucial role to play both in the academia and in the Kirk. In order to demonstrate this transformation attention will be focused on the training of ministers at the Town College, Edinburgh and then following the unfolding of their ecclesiastical career including the ‘exercise’. The foundation of the ‘Tounis College’ in Edinburgh is placed within the broader context of the expansion of higher education throughout Europe. A college project had been in the mind of the Edinburgh Town Council since 1561 and had been resurrected from time to time until its final realisation in 1583. The newly-erected college was headed by Robert Rollock, a young and ambitious scholar from St Andrews, who was first the Professor of Divinity and then the Principal. Under his leadership both as a theologian and a churchman the institution became a place of higher learning that shaped the development of the different Scottish professions in general and the transformation and the emergence of the protestant clergy as a new professional elite, in particular. This thesis also provides a detailed analysis on the early career patterns of the College’s ministerial graduates by examining a) their family background, especially those who came from clerical families b) their way into ministry in the Kirk including the “gap-years” spent in another professions or elsewhere upon graduation c) their dissemination through central Scotland. Particular attention is given to the role of the ‘exercise’, as one of the most important functions of the presbytery, in examining and admitting candidates to their charges as well as providing other presbytery members with further training in preaching and theology.