Ernest Wilson Nicholson, FBA, MRIA (26 September 1938 – 22 December 2013) was a British scholar of the Old Testament and Church of England priest. He was Oriel Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at the University of Oxford from 1979 to 1990 and served as Provost of Oriel College, Oxford from 1990 to 2003.
|The Reverend Professor|
Ernest Wilson Nicholson|
26 September 1938
Portadown, Northern Ireland
22 December 2013 (aged 75)|
Fellow of the British Academy (1987) |
Burkitt Medal for Biblical Studies (2009)
Trinity College, Dublin |
University of Glasgow
Westcott House, Cambridge
|Doctoral advisor||Cecil Weir|
|Sub-discipline||Old Testament Studies|
Trinity College, Dublin |
University of Cambridge
University of Oxford
Nicholson was born on 26 September 1938 in Portadown, Northern Ireland. Having failed the Eleven-plus exam to attend grammar school, he attended the local Secondary Technical School. He later transferred to a grammar school, Portadown College, following the advice of a priest during a Boys' Brigade holiday.
In 1956, he matriculated into Trinity College, Dublin to study Hebrew and Semitic languages. He graduated Bachelor of Arts (BA) in 1960, which was promoted to Master of Arts (MA) in 1964. He then undertook postgraduate study at Glasgow University. He completed a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in 1964 under the supervision of Cecil Weir. He later trained for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge, an Anglican theological college, completing it in 1969.
Nicholson began his academic career in 1962 when he returned to his alma mater Trinity College, Dublin as a lecturer in Hebrew and Semitics. In 1967, he moved to the University of Cambridge where he became a university lecturer in Old Testament Studies and a fellow of University College. In 1969, he changed colleges and became a fellow of Pembroke College.
In 1979, he moved to the University of Oxford. He was granted a chair as Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture and became a Fellow of Oriel College. In 1990, he became the 50th Provost of Oriel College; he was installed by the college's Visitor, Queen Elizabeth II. He served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1993 to 2003.
Nicholson had been a choirboy while at school in Northern Ireland. In 1969, he was ordained a deacon in the Church of England at Ely Cathedral. He was ordained a priest the following year. When he joined Pembroke College, Cambridge, he served as a college chaplain and dean of its chapel between 1973 and 1979.
After his retirement in 2003, he remained living in Oxford. In November 2012, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. He died on 22 December 2013 at the age of 75. His funeral was held on 10 January 2014 at St Peter's Church, Wolvercote, Oxford. A memorial service was held on 29 March 2014 at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford.
In 1962, Nicholson married Hazel Jackson. They had met while at the same school and, after she tutored him in Latin for his university entrance exam, they entered a relationship. Together they had four children; Rosalind, Kathryn, Jane, and Peter. His son predeceased him, having died from an epileptic fit in 2011.
In 1987, Nicholson was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA). in 1988 was president of the Society for Old Testament Study. In 1994, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by St Peter's College, Oxford. He was awarded the 2009 Burkitt Medal for Biblical Studies by the British Academy. In 2010, he was elected Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA).
He was appointed Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
- Deuteronomy and Tradition (1969)
- Preaching to the Exiles (1971)
- Exodus and Sinai in History and Tradition (1973)
- God and His People: Covenant and Theology in the Old Testament (1986)
- The Pentateuch in the 20th century: the legacy of Julius Wellhausen (1998)
- A Century of Theological and Religious Studies in Britain, 1902-2002 (2003), editor
- "Ernest Nicholson - obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- "Clergyman and professor was Oriel College's 50th provost". The Oxford Mail. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- "The Rev Professor Ernest Nicholson". The Times. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- "11-plus 'failure' was installed an Oxford Provost by the Queen". The Portadown Times. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- "Letters to the Editor - Professor Ernest Nicholson". The Church of Ireland Gazette. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
- "Recent Bereavements". Deceased Members. Royal Irish Academy. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
- Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 23 June 2018. .
- "Reverend Professor Ernest Nicholson, Provost of Oriel College 1990-2003". Oriel College, Oxford. 7 January 2014. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- "Memorial Services - Nicolson Ernest". The Oxford Times. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- "NICHOLSON, Revd Professor Ernest (26/09/1938-22/12/2013)". British Academy Fellows. British Academy. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- "Death of Revd Prof Ernest Nicholson". News. St Peter's College, Oxford. 10 January 2014. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
- "Burkitt Medal 2009". Prizes and medals. British Academy. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
| Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture,
University of Oxford
| Provost of Oriel College, Oxford