Notes by George Hobson on The Re-inherited Mind, by Kevin Scott available from Amazon

This book is an astonishing achievement.  The author is a chemist by profession and a priest in the Anglican Church of Scotland.  Anyone interested in and troubled by our “dementing civilization”, as he calls it, which includes, in some measure, a “dementing Church”, will find here, through the keen mind of a Christian scientist, a wide-ranging study of what it means to be a human being, along with an in-depth assessment of how we have come to our current civilizational confusion and demoralization.  Scott issues a prophetic call to a re-discovery—a recollection--of the Judeo-Christian inheritance we have largely dismissed and forgotten.  He does not deny its failures, but his aim is to point to its essentially liberating and civilizing truth and power as these have transformed the world in the last four millennia.  “Civilizations do not lose their memories,” Scott writes.  “They just stop remembering.”  He believes that by uncovering the Judeo-Christian roots of our civilization, which we continue to ignore and belittle at our peril, we can build up our foundering culture again and re-orient modernity where it has gone tragically astray.  

The author insists that the Church must lead in this and recover its call to holiness and obedient faith.  His early chapters examine the nature of knowledge, faith, and memory, using, broadly, a heuristic method in which he first sets out a socially constructed dimension of these entities and then considers evidence for their coherence in light first of the physical/material causality underlying them and then of pertinent metaphysical causality that can be inferred from Scriptural revelation and from religious experience.  

The Greek philosophical inheritance is illuminatingly juxtaposed with the Judeo-Christian inheritance, and Scott makes a cogent case to show how the development of science is the fruit of the Judeo-Christian revelation, in the biblical Word and in the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.  He analyses the contrast between Greek epistemology, in both Plato and Aristotle, with its foundational concept that things were necessarily the way they were and could be understood by intellectual activity alone, and the Judeo-Christian understanding that knowledge comes to us from outside ourselves, from a source—objective, independent  reality and its Creator, God—that is beyond our control.  Scott cites the 7th Century physicist John Philoponus, who perceived, on the basis of the Judeo-Christian revelation, that reality, created by God ex nihilo, is not necessary at all but is contingent, and that observation and experimentation were required to know it--mere thought could not establish true knowledge.  Philoponus further asserted, on the basis of the biblical revelation that the universe was created and was not an eternal existent, that an intrinsic unity existed between the celestial and the sublunary regions and made all things cohere, an assertion that, by overthrowing the Greek view of the cosmos, affirmed the goodness of material reality and opened the way, in time, for scientific investigation into all of its aspects.  “What we have observed,” writes Scott, “is the profound redefinition of what knowledge actually is.  The overall impact of the Judeo-Christian tradition is to move the centre of gravity of knowledge from the human mind to the object to which it refers. To use Thomas Kuhn’s language, this is the greatest of all paradigm shifts and has provided the platform not only for seemingly limitless research and achievement, but also for an entire rational edifice of understanding of the human being.”

Scott’s argument in this connection puts paid to the fluffy-headed but current notion that science and Judeo-Christian faith are opposed and that Christian faith is irrational and so irrelevant.  To the contrary, he insists--and many philosophers of science agree on this point--that science as we understand it today is the fruit precisely of that faith-tradition.  Science rooted in observation, theory, and experiment is found in this faith-tradition and nowhere else.   Scott underlines the irony that in every other aspect of the modern world, a subject-generated epistemology, similar in this regard to Greek epistemology where the human mind by itself discerned and established truth, has, ever since Descartes’ cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) and then the 18th Century Enlightenment and in particular the philosophy of Kant with its subjective, a-priori starting point, taken over Western thought-patterns.  Modern man starts with himself, not with an objective, independent reality, in his effort to understand and control the world.  Indeed, he is un-naturing nature, in area after area. Consequently—and disastrously--he is losing contact with the real world and forcing it into a subjectively conceived and utilitarian Procrustean bed, where meaning is, in the end, simply what the individual—either the scholar or the man in the street—says it is.  In this respect, science alone, rooted in the Judeo-Christian vision of reality, is, in principle if not always in reality, holding the line, while on every other front our culture is collapsing into individualistic chaos—nihilistic and narcissistic--with no external, objective, or metaphysical reference to guide us toward ultimate truth, meaning, purpose, or common ethics.  The very notion of such ultimate truth is mocked by feckless, reductionist materialism and the irresponsible ideologies of relativism and egalitarianism, to the point that even the natural law tradition is undermined and rendered virtually powerless to illuminate the common good and order society.

In succeeding chapters Scott explores a variety of aspects of the human being, always using his heuristic method of the social, the physical/materialist, and the metaphysical constructions of reality:  human being as such; human dignity; human interiority; human liberty; human endeavor; human error; human relations; human time.  He concludes his analyses with a brief chapter on the extraordinary textual evidence for the veracity and reliability of the New Testament Scriptures, another area where modern skepticism and the primacy of doubt and suspicion with respect to everything has, with hardly any justification whatsoever, flatly denied massive textual evidence and the events recorded simply because our reigning belief system, subjectively derived and, philosophically speaking, based on a totally unwarranted refusal of any authoritative metaphysical reference, declares presumptuously that this evidence  cannot be what it says it is.  

The range of Scott’s analyses, and his mixture of erudition and common sense, make for a tremendously stimulating read.  Following the author’s particular methodological approach, we learn, from multiple angles, about employment and taxation and private property issues; about suffering and dignity and human stature; about education, prayer, and the mystery of iniquity; about Nicolaus de Cusa and Copernicus, Grosseteste, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Faraday and Lord Kelvin; about human error, sin, holiness, and human sanctity; about marriage and family life, the raising of children, and the narcissism of modern culture, which Scott analyses through the lens of the parable of the Prodigal Son in the Bible, whom the gracious Father welcomes back joyfully after the son, at last, remembers his heritage and returns home, as Scott would have us remember our Judeo-Christian heritage; and, finally, we learn about time—time that tumbles away into the past and time that is sustained eternally, and resists all privation of being, by the Resurrection of Christ, in whom, and in whom alone, any realistic hope we can have, resides.  All these subjects are treated with sensitivity, depth, and wisdom.  Scott has a common touch, coupled with a wealth of knowledge and experience as a scientist and priest, which puts before us clearly and practically whatever he is talking about, as if these complex issues were accessible objects in our living room calling quite naturally for our consideration.

Kevin Scott’s The Re-inherited Mind is an excitingly original, captivating, and immensely thought-provoking book that I urge all of you to consider reading who are troubled by the ominous disorientation and the moral and spiritual emptiness of modern life.  He is calling us to remember who we are and where, as inheritors of the Judeo-Christian tradition, we come from, so that we may recover ourselves and forge a more just and satisfying future, marked by a renewed sense of meaning, purpose, hope, and joy.


New Publication released September 28th 2017

Faces of Memory


Written by George Hobson

Published by Olympia Publishers

28/09/2017 - £6.99 – Paperback

ISBN: 978-1-84897-843-0

Read together, the three long poems in this book constitute a kind of epic. In the manner of a cubist painting, they present, through the medium of memory, the complex portrait of a man, the poet. The poems are dramatic narratives, each providing a distinctive perspective on, and poetic use of, memory. The poet is a Christian, and the poems, which range across relationships and places he has known, evoke a life lived in faith and hope. The Bells of Swettl uses the framework of the monastic offices to dramatize and universalize the movement of a life through time; The Psaltery is a meditation, studded with stories, on life's meaning in the face of passing time and death; and, in fifteen poems, The Trinity Suites evokes an array of characters and remembered experiences that explore, in a harsh world, the possibility of love and redemption. Themes such as the relationship of son to father and mother, the love of husband and wife, the tension between city and wilderness, the sorrow of loss, the horror of violence, weave through the poems. Throughout, differently in each poem, memory is deployed as the vehicle to structure the past and intimate a possible future, thus giving order and shape to human life.

George Hobson is a priest in the Episcopal/Anglican Church. He has lived in France for over half his life, working with both French and English-speaking churches. He studied theology at Oxford in the 1980s and earned his doctorate in 1989. With his wife, Victoria, he has travelled extensively in developing countries, teaching courses in theological colleges. He has published two books of poetry in England: Rumours of Hope, with Piquant Editions, and a collective volume, Forgotten Genocides of the 20th Century, with Garod Books. His poem "Sun-Patch" won Second Prize in the International Bridport Poetry Competition in 1995.

Press Contact: Charlie Howell

Tel: 02037553166

Olympia Publishers part of Ashwell Publishing Ltd.

Tel: 0203 755 3166 fax: 0207 002 1100


Faces of Memory shines with rich imagery observed from daily life and wide-ranging travel. It is rooted in history, monastic traditions, and the reality and romance of a long-term marriage with Victoria. The poems explore the love of God, and Hobson is generous in sharing his quest to know the numinous more deeply. These are poems of celebration and despair, praise and invective, and above all, beauty.
— Maria Apichella, Award-winning poet and author of Psalmody (Eyewear Publishing, 2016) and Paga (Cinnamon Press, 2015). Assistant Professor at The University of Maryland, University College, Europe. Shortlisted for the Forward Prize, Best First Collection, 2017.
What a triumph this is—a trinity of poems in which George Hobson partners with God to tell stories bursting with the results of life-long contemplation and devotion. Read them aloud until their plangent images and rhythms swell and settle, leaving you enlightened and grateful.
— Luci Shaw, Author, Thumbprint in the Clay and SeaGlass: New and Selected Poems. Writer in Residence, Regent College, Vancouver, Canada.

A Review: The Episcopal Church, Homosexuality, and the Context of Technology

In current debates about same-sex attraction, gay marriage, and the traditional view, it is increasingly clear that the social and historical background is all important. One of the most plausible arguments for departing from thousands of years of tradition is the civil rights narrative. Most of us know people, or have family members, who have lived in a closet until it became permissible to come out and be … free. In a high profile “exodus” in 1991, the Rev. Peter Gomes, Chaplain at Harvard University, proclaimed himself to be a practicing homosexual, to the consternation of some, and the delight of others. “I am a Christian who happens as well to be gay,” Gomes declared, adding that, “Those realities, which are irreconcilable to some, are reconciled in me by a loving God” (Mary Jordan, “A Chaplain Comes Out Swinging,”  The Washington Post, 8 August 1992, The occasion was the publication of a rather thoughtful conservative student magazine which had suggested there was a better way than a same-sex lifestyle. Gomes resolved to devote his life thence forward to addressing the religious causes of homophobia.

As is well-known, even by folks outside the church, in 2003, the first practicing gay priest, Gene Robinson, was elected a bishop in the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, by a vote of 62 to 45. Robinson had been heterosexually married, but divorced his wife in 1986. His ordination became a cause célèbre inside and outside the entire Anglican Communion. He later divorced his partner, Mark Andrew, in 2014, citing, in a call for sympathy, that “life is hard, and it just keeps on coming, ready or not.” 

For those of us committed to defending the traditional view, we have commonly experienced a kind of stammering. Faced with the civil rights narrative, how could we decently propose “heteronormativity”? Faced with a man of the cloth for whom life has been hard, how can we take a position that seems cold and insensitive? And now, after the United States Supreme Court’s Obergefell et. al. vs. Hodges decision on June 26, 2015 that recognized the legality of same-sex marriage, we appear not only against civil rights, a God of love, and cold-hearted, but also outside the law. 

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of these radical changes is the speed with which they took place. Twenty years ago most of these developments would have seemed impossible, except to the most sanguine supporters of same-sex unions. So, what happened? George Hobson tells the story in a most compelling way. He connects the tidal wave to technology. That is, he describes the change of attitudes in many western people to a social context which has witnessed a sea-change in the definition of the human self, of which technology is a primary exhibit. While the civil rights parallel appears compelling, it is actually quite misleading. Many African Americans actually resent the comparison. There has been homophobia and gay-bashing, of course, even in the church. Hobson acknowledges these and calls for repentance. But a deeper narrative concerns the shift in our very concept of the self.

Charles Taylor has argued that the West has moved, not in twenty years, but in five centuries, from what he calls the “porous self” to the “buffered self” (The Secular Age [Cambridge: Belknap, 2007]). In the Middle Ages it would have been unthinkable to deny the basic reality of a God who defines who we are, because, being porous, people could not help but let this truth permeate their being and worldview. But gradually, in a process he calls reform, the self has become resistant to such influences, because it has a self-directed strength, allowing it to receive blows, to be buffered, but without passive acquiescence. And so we are now in a world where not only is God not unthinkable, but he is merely an option, one among many. In short, we can choose who we want to be. In a similar way, George Hobson argues that technology has supported an autonomy of the self. We can be whatever we want to be, because we have the technique at hand to do so. Although he is clearly influenced by Jacques Ellul, the French sociologist who was a pioneer in the study of technology’s false promises, Hobson does not eschew the wise and judicious use of this God-given blessing. But he examines technology as a significant side-effect of a deep and radical philosophical change, the shift from the biblical anthropology, which tells us we are made after God’s own image, to the world of Nietzsche, where we can be the Übermensch, the overman who leads us from our alienation to a place of meaning, based on the power of the human will.

The point not to be missed is that we are facing a secular kind of anthropology, one that prizes choosing the person we wish to be, regardless of how we were made, that is, regardless of the framework we may have inherited. Hobson takes us through the pages of Genesis and comments on its view of humanity. Male and female are both equal and different. Such unity and diversity constitute the beauty of mankind made after the divine image. Among other fascinating supports he cites the classic study of Western literature Mimesis by Erich Auerbach. As readers of his illuminating literary analysis will remember, Auerbach begins by comparing the two different concepts of heroism, the Homeric and the Mosaic. Whereas Odysseus is celebrated for his pedigree, Abraham is remembered because he walked with God. Therein lies the glory of the human condition, according to Scripture.

The Episcopal Church, Homosexuality, and the Context of Technology contains rich considerations of biblical theology, the history of ideas, and interactions with current literature on same-sex attraction. The somewhat cumbersome title should not mislead us. Although there are references to the recent decisions in the American Episcopal Church and to this denomination’s particular liturgical practices, the book is a broad appeal for a better understanding of the issues. It is not only sharply critical of the modern turn of events, but theological, and indeed pastoral, in tone. Consequently, either directly or by implication, it covers the larger questions of human identity, which includes gender, children’s education, support of gay people as human beings, and the like. It would be a shame if this book became lost between the cracks. Hobson declares his desire to dialogue with anyone who is open to discussion. As Craig Bartholomew says in his Foreword, “one could not wish for a better dialogue partner” than George Hobson. So, will we be swept-up unthinkingly by the plausible liberationist narrative, or are we willing to interact with a most thoughtful presentation of the historic view on marriage?

William Edgar
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Some news...

For those of you who may wish to order one or more of my books already in print, here is the information you need.

For Rumours of Hope in the USA, send e-mail to .  You will be able to pay by credit card or check.  The price is $35.00, including packaging and postage.

For Rumours of Hope in the UK, send e-mail to .  Method of payment to be worked out with Mr.Harnett.  The price is 25 pounds, including packaging and postage.

For Forgotten Genocides of the 20th Century, send e-mail to Ara Sarafian at  Method of payment to be worked out with Mr.Sarafian.  Price is 15 pounds, including packaging and postage.  The poems in this collective volume, including seven by me, deal chiefly with the Armenian and Rwandan genocides.

For the collective volume #Nous Sommes Paris, contact Eyewear Publishing, UK.  The poems in this volume, including mine, are in English.  Most are poems written in response to terrorist attacks in Paris.

For The Episcopal Church, Homosexuality, and the Context of Technology, see Pickwick Publications at  

For La guérison intérieure and Chrétiens d’aujourd’hui et de demain, e-mail Jean-Claude Legros at :

Reflections on Photography

(The following text accompanied my book of poems and photographs published in the UK in 2005, Rumours of Hope.  My observations here, though pertaining directly to photography, also illuminate my approach to poetry).

Light transfigures natural objects, just as the Light of God, revealed consummately in Jesus Christ, transfigures the human person.  It is objects under light that quicken my imagination. Since 1990 I have worked mainly in colour.  Colour articulates light; form shapes it.  As it falls on an object, light discloses both its colour and its form; intensely focused, it seems to infuse and heighten the object, so that we see it anew, as a new creation.

My still lifes, which I carefully construct, are intended to demonstrate this. In a sense, the other studies, even the landscapes, are still lifes, though in such cases the “construction” takes place only through the viewfinder.  Sometimes, as modern art has taught us, form may actually be constituted by sheer colour; but in the common run of things—and it is this common run that I am interested in illuminating—colour and form interact.  It is the artist’s concern to structure this interaction, often by abstracting aspects of what he or she perceives and configuring them in a fresh harmony, so that what the viewer sees has both order and vitality.

The images and text on a given page of my book may echo each other, but often there are no direct links between them.  I would ask viewers to consider how the photographs are “built”, how line and mass, blocks of colour and pockets of shadow, shape the composition, thus creating a work of art in which the natural objects find a new home and relationship.  No work of art is a mere representation.  It is a selected and unexpected combination of reality, executed under the power of imagination.  A successful photograph first makes an impression, obviously—and this is to be enjoyed.  But it also invites the viewer to enter into the vision it inspires and savour whatever mystery and beauty may be found there.