MC:F37 Papers of Revd. James Matthew Thompson (F.1904-1938)
Reverend James Thompson (1878-1956) attended the Dragon School, Oxford and Winchester College before becoming a Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford in 1897. He received a Second Class in Honours Moderations in Greek and Latin Literature, a First Class in Literae Humaniores, and a Second Class in Theology. After his ordination in 1903, Thompson became Curate at St. Frideswide’s, the Christ Church mission at Poplar in the East End of London. In 1904 Thompson was elected as an official Fellow and Tutor of Magdalen College and in 1905 was appointed as Dean of Divinity. Thompson’s early career at the College was mired by controversy, most notably following the publication in 1911 of Miracles in the New Testament, a work contesting the evidence of miracles including the virgin birth and resurrection. Despite pressure to resign as Dean of Divinity, Thompson remained in office for the remainder of his term but no longer had any ecclesiastical responsibilities in the College. Documents relating to this incident are preserved in the papers of Sir Herbert Warren at MC:PR32/MS3.
Thompson was a keen traveller and visited various countries around the world during his career at Magdalen. During the war Thompson worked for the Red Cross before returning to Magdalen for a second more agreeable career as History Tutor until his retirement. Thompson also became Home Bursar of the College (1920-1927). He produced numerous esteemed historical and theological publications, taking a particular interest in the French Revolution. Thompson died in 1956.
This collection contains theological works and commentaries, personal journals and scrapbooks relating to travel around the world, and scrapbooks of newspaper cuttings relating to reception of his publications, primarily Miracles in the New Testament.
MC:F37/MS2/1-5 were discovered and returned to the College by Dr. Arthur Adams (Dean of Divinity 1949-75) in 1992 and, with his additional notes (MC:F37/MS2/6) were added to the archives as Accession No. 92/40. MC:F37/MS2/7 was found in the Grammar Hall, in a parcel returned by the theologian Professor Charles Harold Dodd (SD 1907-11). Dr. Adams’ notes were added in 1992 and the item was transferred to the archives as Accession No. 92/39. It is not known how the other items came to be in the archives.
Catalogued in October 2009 by Emily Brown.
The collection is divided into the following series:
MC:F37/MS1 Personal Accounts of Travel
MC:F37/MS2 Notes by Thompson on Theology
MC:F37/MS3 Press Cuttings on Publications written by Thompson