‘Prophet without Honour: the marginalization of Don Cupitt’

Elaine Graham and Graeme Smith

This article is the first of three articles to be published during the spring of 2023 evaluating the work and legacy of Don Cupitt. The Abstract below offers a short summary of our argument. The full version of the article is now available in in Theology Vol. 126, no. 1 (2023).

We begin by suggesting that Cupitt might be depicted as a ‘prophet without honour’ in both his ecclesiastical home of the Church of England and at the University of Cambridge, where he spent most of his professional life. This is based on the observation that, after a promising early career, Cupitt never received the ecclesiastical preferment or academic promotion that many argued he deserved. This arguably represents a missed opportunity for both Church and academy, because Cupitt is more accurately understood not as an enemy of religion but as essentially an ecclesiastical insider whose chief motivation was to uphold the contemporary relevance and credibility of Christianity.