Professor David Purdie

Honorary Fellow


Oct 2012 - Aug 2023


Professor David Purdie is a medical Professor Emeritus and a former Clinical Sub-Dean of the Leeds University medical school. He was appointed an Honorary Fellow of IASH in 2012 by the late Susan Manning, his fields of interest being in the scientific and literary components of the Scottish Enlightenment – specifically the works of Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns and David Hume.


David Hume is our greatest empirical philosopher. However, his works are little read outwith the academic sector. The Textual Enlightenment Project seeks to revise the Texts of Hume's : The Natural History of Religion ; Dialogues concerning natural Religion; Sections X (Of Miracles) & XI ( Of a Particular Providence) within his Enquiry concerning human Understanding, and his Essays on Suicide and Superstition & Enthusiasm. The textual revision covers: grammar; syntax; synonymisation and punctuation. The overall purpose was to give Hume's seminal works on religion a 21st Century dress and address which engages with contemporary eyes and ears among the educated general population. A further purpose was to encourage readers to revert to the original works.

He is currently working on revisions to the 4th Edition of The Burns Encyclopaedia, which was published in August 2013.

A grammatical and syntactical revision of Hume’s Natural history of Religion, his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and those of his Essays Moral and Political which address religious subjects has been completed jointly with Prof Peter Fosl, former Hume Scholar, IASH. The book, David Hume on God, was published by Luath Press, Edinburgh, in September 2019.

The Dean’s Diaries - The trials and tribulations of an academic Dean; first edition published October 2015. The second edition of this book is in preparation and will be published in the Spring of 2022.


Purdie D.W., Brown I.G. and Carruthers G.C.:
‘An unpublished holograph letter of Robert Burns and an unpublished draft MS of his poem, On seeing a wounded Hare.’ in: Scottish Literary Review 4, (2012)  57-73

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. A new and redacted Edition (Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2012)

The Heart of Midlothian by Sir Walter Scott. A new Edition redacted for the modern reader (Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2014)

Thring on Legislation, 3rd Edition, jointly with Madeleine Mackenzie, Parliamentary Counsel, Scottish Government. (Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2015)

Redgauntlet by Sir Water Scott. A new Edition adapted for the modern reader (Edinburgh: Luath Press, in preparation)



The Medical City: The Evolution of Edinburgh as a Centre for Medical Education and Research.
Royal College of Physicians, Jointly with Iain Milne, Sibbald Librarian of the RCPE. 2012

The Enlightenment Titans: Hume, Scott and Burns: Biography & Statuary.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012, Jointly with Alexander Stoddart, Sculptor in Ordinary to H.M. the Queen

Ivanhoe: Scott’s mediaeval Foray into England.
Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) 2012

What killed Robert Burns – and what did Not.
Burns Federation academic Conference, Harrogate. 2012

The Cultural Ambience of 18th Century Scotland.
National Trust for Scotland Annual London Lecture. The Mansion House, London. 2013

The Scottish Enlightenment.
Inaugural IASH / Illumni Lecture, Edinburgh University Business School, March 2015

Hume on Religion.
14th Congress of the International Society for 18th Century Studies. Erasmus University, Rotterdam, July 2015.

The Life and Legacy of Sir Walter Scott.

The Speculative Society of Edinburgh, October 2021.