Holloway was educated at Kelham Theological College, Edinburgh Theological College and the Union Theological Seminary, New York City. Between 1959 and 1986 he was a curate, vicar and rector at various parishes in England, Scotland and the United States. He was Bishop of Edinburgh from 1986 and was elected Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1992. He resigned from these positions in 2000 and is now regarded as one of the most outspoken and controversial figures in the Church, having taken an atheist worldview and commenting widely on issues concerning religious belief in the modern world. His own theological position has become increasingly radical and he has recently described himself as an "after-religionist".
Holloway is well-known for his support of liberal causes, including campaigning on human rights for gay and lesbian people in both Church and State. He is a patron of LGBT Youth Scotland, an organisation dedicated to the inclusion of LGBT young people in the life of Scotland. He has questioned and addressed complex ethical issues in the areas of sexuality, drugs and bio-ethics. He has written extensively on these topics, being the author of more than 20 books exploring their relationship with modern religion.
A Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Holloway was Professor of Divinity at Gresham College in the City of London. From 1990 to 1997, he was a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and held the position of chair of the BMA Steering Group on Ethics and Genetics. He was also a member of the Broadcasting Standards Commission and is currently chair of the Scottish Arts Council and of Sistema Scotland.
Holloway has been a reviewer and writer for the broadsheet press for several years, including The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, Sunday Herald and The Scotsman. He is also a frequent presenter on radio and television, having hosted the BBC television series When I get to Heaven, Holloway's Road and The Sword and the Cross. He currently hosts the BBC Radio Scotland book review programme, Cover Stories. Holloway presented the second of the Radio 4 Lent Talks on 11 March 2009.
Holloway lives in Edinburgh with his American-born wife Jean. They have three adult children; two daughters and a son.
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