Papers of Rev. Professor Oliver Shaw Rankin (1885-1954)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-738
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English, and German.
  • Physical Description
      6 boxes, circa 50 volumes of notes and lectures, and miscellaneous. Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.
  • Location
      MSS RAN 1-23

Scope and Content

The material in the collection is composed of: lecture and sermon notes in manuscript and typescript, including Rankin's Jewish religious polemic: a study of documents here rendered in English which was published posthumously in 1956; diary of a visit to Sicily and Crete, 1908; circa 33 exercise books of lecture notes while at Berlin University, 1909-1910; notes on the festival of Hannukah; notes and material on the Pentateuch, Samuel, Judges, and preparatory to the study of the Wisdom literature, and materials on the history of the religion of Israel; materials for lectures on the theology of the Old testament; notes and material for lectures on the prophets and their teaching and influence; notes on Qoheleth, Midrash, rabbinics, and on Talmud; notes on the book of Job; synopsis of material in W. Eichrodt's Theologie des Alten Testaments; material on Jewish philosophic mystic thought; and, material on Christian ethics and pastoral theology.

Administrative / Biographical History

Oliver Shaw Rankin was born on 28 January 1885. He was the younger brother of Sir George Claus Rankin (1877-1946) who became Chief Justice of Bengal. Rankin was educated at the then John Watson's Institution, Edinburgh, and at George Watson's College, Edinburgh. He studied at Edinburgh University where he received his MA in 1906, and at Berlin University. He held the Vans Dunlop Scholarship in Hebrew, Arabic and Syriac in 1908. In 1912, Rankin became Parish Minister in Sorbie, Wigtownshire, where he was ordained. In 1937 he was appointed to the Chair of Old Testament Language, Literature and Theology at Edinburgh University. His publications include The origins of the festival of Hannukah (1930) which grew out of his D.Litt. thesis in 1928, Israel's wisdom literature: its bearing on theology and the history of religion (1936), and Jewish religious polemic: a study of documents here rendered in English (published posthumously 1956). The Rev. Professor Oliver Shaw Rankin died on 7 February 1954.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Who was who 1951-1960. Vol.5. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1961. (2) University of Edinburgh journal. Vol.9. 1937-1938. pp.26-27. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1938.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

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Corporate Names