Fonds 1700 - G. Peter Richardson fonds

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1700


G. Peter Richardson fonds


  • 1955-2008 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

6.18 m of textual and graphic records (55 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

George Peter Richardson was born in Toronto on January 6, 1935, the son of George Grainger Richardson and Margaret Louise Everett. His early education was spent at Upper Canada College where he graduated in 1952. As an undergraduate at the University of Toronto he studied architecture, receiving a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1957. This was followed by two years of work in the Design Department of John B. Parkin Associates.

In the fall of 1959 he returned to university, this time to study divinity at Knox College, an affiliated college in the University of Toronto. He graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1962. As he completed this degree he began to apply to graduate schools in both the United States and Britain to study for a doctorate degree. In April 1962 he was accepted into the Faculty of Divinity at Clare College, Cambridge University in England. By this time, he had married Nancy Jean Cameron (1959) and started a young family. He received his PhD in 1965.

Following his return to Canada, he was appointed Campus Minister (unordained) at the Knox Presbyterian Church in Toronto. In 1969 he received his first academic appointment as Assistant Professor, Theological Studies at Loyola College (now Concordia University) in Montreal. During that period he also served as Assistant to the Dean of Arts (1971-1972), and Assistant to the Academic Vic-President (1972-1973). In 1974, he returned to Toronto to join the University of Toronto and was appointed associate professor of religious studies and Chairman of the Division of Humanities at Scarborough College.

In 1977 he was appointed Principal of University College on the St. George Campus, a position he held until 1989. During this period he was also involved in various University-wide committees relating to planning, research and budgeting. He also sat on several search committees to select deans of the Faculty of Architecture, and Faculty of Arts and Science as well as chairs of departments in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Within the Department of Religious Studies, he was active on committees relating to the development of graduate and undergraduate programmes.

As busy as Prof. Richardson was with his administrative responsibilities, he maintained a steady stream of articles, papers and presentations of scholarly work. He was involved in the writing of 13 books either as sole author, editor, or co-editor, and has published more than 150 articles. Among the earliest of these was the publication of his thesis in 1969 (reprinted in 2005.) From 1986-1996 he was Managing Editor of Studies in Religion, a scholarly journal published by the Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion, and was editor from 1990-2005 of the monograph series Studies in Christianity and Judaism/Etudes sur le christianisme et le judaïsme.

In addition to scholarly works, Prof. Richardson has prepared many informal works and presentations relating to religious studies and architecture to general audiences at churches such as the Yorkminster Park Baptist Church and the Temple Emmanu-El and other community groups.

His continuing interest in architecture has led to a wide variety of activities, including site architect at archaeological excavations in Israel, a government appointment as Chair, Joint Practice Board (Ontario Association of Architects and the Association of Professional Engineers) and several publications including City and Sanctuary: religion and architecture in the Roman East (2002) and Canadian Churches, an architectural history (2007). From 1994-2000 he served as a member of Board of the Ontario Heritage Foundation where he participated as member and/or chair of committees relating to revenue generation, audit and properties.

Following his retirement in 2000 Professor Richardson was appointed professor emeritus. He has continued to be in demand by organizations seeking his expertise in religious studies. From 2002-2005 he was a member of the Board of Visual Bible International, Inc. (VBI) in which he advised producers of a film on the Gospel of John and other projects.

Prof. Richardson continues to work and live in Toronto.

Archival history

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Scope and content

This finding aid describes the sole accession of personal papers of G. Peter Richardson received to date documenting his academic and professional career as professor of religious studies from his university education to his retirement from the University of Toronto in 2000.

The records are described in fourteen series. Series 1 contains records relating to his education at the University of Toronto and Knox College (affiliated with the University of Toronto) and his graduate studies at Cambridge University, England. Also included are records relating to his employment arrangements at Loyola College and University of Toronto, as well as applications to other institutions, congratulations on his appointment as Principal, University College and other honours. Correspondence with students, faculty and colleagues both inside and outside the University of Toronto are contained in Series 2 and 3. Early, non-academic appointments are documented in Series 4 and relate to his work with Knox College as a campus minister (unordained) and the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Greater detail regarding his academic employment at Loyola College in Montreal, his first academic appointment will be found in Series 5. This series reflects both his administrative activities as well as teaching activities during the 1970s before it became Concordia University.

His University of Toronto career is specifically documented in Series 6 and 7. These two series document his administrative activities within the Department of Religious Studies and the graduate department, Centre of Religious Studies from his appointment in 1974. Also documented is his continuing involvement in the study of architecture as evidenced by files for the Faculty of Architecture.

His teaching responsibilities are well documented in Series 7 relating to various undergraduate and graduate courses taught on all three campuses from the mid 1970s to post-retirement, as well as the Study Abroad courses he organized and led during the summers of 1988, 1991 and 1996.

Series 8 to 11 document both scholarly literary works as well as informal lectures and talks to church and community groups. The earliest works are files (as early as 1958) containing sermons delivered as campus minister (and later as religious scholar) to many church and religious groups. His scholarly papers were presented at academic conferences and symposia and frequently became the basis of published articles and books. Other literary works include published reviews in Series 12. Only a few files documenting his application for grants and some research files have been preserved in Series 13.

Prof. Richardson’s scholarly expertise in religious studies especially Christianity and Judaism as well as architecture put him in high demand by other organizations and educational institutions. Series 14 documents a number of these external activities including his work with the Society for New
Testament Studies [1], his role as site architect for archaeological excavations in Israel, the Ontario Heritage Foundation, and Visual Bible International, Inc.


[1] His editorial work for Studies in Religion , his activities with the Society of Biblical Literature and others are preserved in other archival institutions. See details in Series 14

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Selected records in Series 2, 3 and 4 are restricted. All other records are open.

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