England

'Unbelieving' former Durham bishop Dr David Jenkins dies

  • 4 September 2016
  • From the section England
Dr David Jenkins in 1984 Image copyright PA

The former Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Dr David Jenkins, has died aged 91, his family has said.

Dr Jenkins died in Barnard Castle, County Durham, on Sunday morning. He had been living with Alzheimer's disease for many years.

The cleric and theologian was Bishop of Durham from 1984 until 1994.

He was dubbed the "unbelieving bishop" after saying he did not believe God would have arranged a virgin birth and the resurrection.

After retiring he took on the post of honorary assistant bishop in Ripon and Leeds.

Before becoming a bishop, Dr Jenkins was a professor of theology at the University of Leeds, and spent 15 years prior to that as a fellow and chaplain of Queen's College, Oxford.

'Divine wrath'

York Minster was struck by lightning and burst into flames just days after his consecration in 1984.

The events led some to believe that the fire was a sign of divine wrath in outrage at his appointment as bishop.

Dr Jenkins was satirised in television puppet show Spitting Image, being depicted in one episode persuading God to become an atheist.

He served in Durham during the miners' strike in the 1980s and often joined the miners on marches.

He was an open critic of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's policies and she was said to have thought of Dr Jenkins as a "cuckoo in the establishment nest".

The bishop, who was born in Bromley in south London, went on to write Market Whys And Human Wherefores: Thinking Again About Markets, Politics, And People about the deficiencies of economic theory.

He leaves behind four children. A funeral will be held at Durham Cathedral at a later date, his family said.

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