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John Caird


1820 - 1898

Theologian and philosopher. Born in Greenock, the son of an engineer and brother of another philosopher Edward Caird (1835 - 1908). He began his career in his father's office at the age of sixteen, but left to study at the University of Glasgow. He was ordained a Minister in the Church of Scotland in 1845 and tended to several parishes in the succeeding years; namely Newton-on-Ayr (1845-7), Lady Yester's Kirk (Edinburgh; 1847-9), Errol (1849-57) and the Park Church (Glasgow; 1857-62). He was offered the Chair of Divinity at Glasgow in 1862 and was appointed Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University in 1873.

His theology was liberal and his sermons popular. He preached a sermon entitled Religion in Common Life to Queen Victoria at Crathie Kirk in 1855 and it was described as the best sermon of the century by the Dean of Westminster.

Caird's writings included an Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (1880), which was based on the Croall Lectures he had given in 1878-9. His biography of Spinoza (1886) was well received and The Fundamental Ideas of Christianity (published posthumously in 1899) was based on his Gifford Lectures of 1892-6 and included a memorial written by his brother.


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