Harvard Divinity School
Harvard Divinity School (HDS) is one of the constituent schools of Harvard University, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. As of June 2015, the school's mission is to train and educate its students either in the academic study of religion, or for the practice of a religious ministry or other public service vocation. It also caters to students from other Harvard schools that are interested in the former field. Harvard Divinity School is among a small group of university-based, non-denominational divinity schools in the United States (the others include the University of Chicago Divinity School, Yale Divinity School, Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Wake Forest University School of Divinity, and Claremont Graduate University-School of Religion.
Coat of arms of the School
|Affiliation||Boston Theological Institute|
|Dean||David N. Hempton|
|41 Doctor of Theology|
Harvard College was founded in 1636 as a Puritan/Congregationalist institution and trained ministers for many years. The separate institution of the Divinity School, however, dates from 1816, when it was established as the first non-denominational divinity school in the United States. (Princeton Theological Seminary had been founded as a Presbyterian institution in 1812. Andover Theological Seminary was founded in 1807 by orthodox Calvinists who fled Harvard College after it appointed liberal theologian Henry Ware to the Hollis Professorship of Divinity in 1805.)
During its first century, Harvard Divinity School was unofficially associated with American Unitarianism. However, it also retains a historical tie to one of the successor denominations of American Congregationalism, the United Church of Christ.
Harvard Divinity School and Unitarianism
Throughout the 18th century, Enlightenment ideas of the power of reason and free will became widespread among Congregationalist ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties.:1–4
When the Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and the president of Harvard Joseph Willard died a year later, in 1804, the overseer of the college Jedidiah Morse demanded that orthodox men be elected.
Nevertheless, after much struggle, the Unitarian Henry Ware was elected in 1805, which signaled the changing of the tide from the dominance of traditional, Calvinist ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas (defined by traditionalists as Unitarian ideas).:4–5:24 The appointment of Ware, with the election of the liberal Samuel Webber to the presidency of Harvard two years later, led Jedidiah Morse and other conservatives to found the Andover Theological Seminary as an orthodox alternative to the Harvard Divinity School.:4–5
Today, students and faculty come from a variety of religious backgrounds: Christian (all denominations), Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and others. Its academic programs attempt to balance theology and religious studies—that is, the "believer's" perspective on religion with the "secular" perspective on religion. This is in contrast to many other divinity schools where one or the other is given primacy (Yale Divinity School, for example, emphasizes its theological program, while the majority of students at the University of Chicago Divinity School enroll in its "religious studies" Master of Arts program).
Harvard Divinity School is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and approved by ATS to grant the following degrees:
In addition to candidates for the above, many Harvard graduate students pursuing PhDs in the study of religion work closely with Divinity School faculty. These students are formally affiliated with the Committee on the Study of Religion which is made up of 50% Arts and Sciences and 50% Divinity faculty members and housed in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
In April 2014, the Faculty of HDS voted to unify the ThD and Ph.D. in the study of religion in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), suspending admission to the ThD starting in fall 2015. Those previously admitted to the ThD program continue to be candidates for the ThD, with the first cohort of Ph.D. candidates entering in fall 2015. While many Ph.D. students in the GSAS take courses at HDS, and admissions material from HDS advertises the Ph.D. in the study of religion, Ph.D. students are formally enrolled in the GSAS and not at HDS; only the GSAS at Harvard may award the Ph.D.
Candidates for the MTS choose among 18 areas of academic focus:
- African and African American Religious Studies
- Buddhist Studies
- Comparative Religious Studies
- East Asian Religious Studies
- Hebrew Bible / Old Testament
- History of Christianity
- Hindu Studies
- South Asian Religious Studies
- Islamic Studies
- Jewish Studies
- New Testament and Early Christianity
- Philosophy of Religion
- Religions of the Americas
- Religion, Ethics, and Politics
- Religion, Literature, and Culture
- Religious Studies and Education
- Women, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion
Candidates for the MDiv are required to take:
- Three courses in the theories, methods, and practices of scriptural interpretation within the student's religious tradition
- Six courses in the history, theology, and practice of the student's religious tradition in which they are preparing to minister
- Three courses within a religious tradition different from the one they are studying
Research and special programs
Women's Studies in Religion Program
The Women's Studies in Religion Program (WSRP) at Harvard Divinity School was founded in 1973 and was the first program offering an interdisciplinary study of women and religion. Since its founding, it has supported more than 100 scholars, from over 50 institutions of higher learning in the United States and around the world.
The WSRP promotes critical inquiry into the interaction between religion and gender, and every year the program brings five postdoctoral scholars to HDS. The research associates each work on a book-length research project and teach courses related to their research.
Center for the Study of World Religions
Founded in 1960 after an anonymous donation in 1957, the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School is a residential community of academic fellows, graduate students, and visiting professors of many world religious traditions. The Center focuses on the understanding of religions globally through its research, publications, funding, and public programs. It welcomes scholars and practitioners and highlights the intellectual and historical dimensions of religious dialogue. As of July 1, 2017, its current director is Charles Stang, a scholar of ancient Christianity, focusing especially on Eastern varieties of late antique Christianity. The Center sponsors a diverse range of educative programs, ranging from public lectures to colloquia and reading groups, student-initiated projects, and "religion in the news" lunches on topics of public interest. The Center's Meditation Room is used regularly by individuals and groups.
The building that houses the Center was designed by Josep Lluís Sert.
Summer Leadership Institute
The Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), which has been discontinued, was a two-week training program that sought to establish theological instruction and grounding for individuals engaged in community and economic development.
The program of study was divided into four modules: Theology, Ethics, and Public Policy; Organizational Development and Management; Housing and Community Development; and Finance and Economic Development. It was a full-time residential program, holding classes five days a week, with an emphasis on faith-based case studies of corporations and communities.
Since the SLI's inauguration in 1998, more than 450 participants have completed the program. About 50 people were selected each year from around the United States and internationally to participate in lectures, seminars, and field visits with faculty from across Harvard and other recognized experts. Participants also developed individual plans of action, on a case-study model, applicable to the local work in their communities.
Program in Religion and Secondary Education
The Program in Religion and Secondary Education is a teacher education program that prepares students to teach about religion in public schools from a non-sectarian perspective. Students in the master of theological studies or master of divinity degree programs integrate their work in religion with courses on education and public policy to understand the relationship between religion and education and to advance religious literacy within their fields of licensure.
Harvard Divinity School's Program in Religious Studies and Education (PRSE) has been temporarily suspended, pending new permanent funding that will allow the program to continue and to be capable of serving more students than can currently be admitted into the program. Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, no new students will be admitted to the program for at least the next two years. Students who are already in the PRSE will continue and be able to finish their degrees in normal fashion.
Andover-Harvard Theological Library
Andover-Harvard Theological Library was founded in 1836 and underwent expansion in 1911 when the collections of HDS and Andover Theological Seminary were combined. The Library is part of the larger Harvard University library system, which is available to all faculty, staff, and students at HDS. In September 2001, the library completed a $12-million renovation that enhanced its technology facilities and improved its information systems. Andover-Harvard participates in the Boston Theological Institute library program, which extends borrowing privileges to all members of the HDS community at any of the other BTI libraries.
(From the HDS 2007-08 Catalog)
- Books and bound periodicals: 485,046
- Over 30,000 rare books (including 22 published before 1525)
- Current serial (periodical) subscriptions: 2,981
- Original papers of Paul Tillich
- Audiovisual material: 633 titles
- Historical archives of the Unitarian Universalist Association
- Library adds 4,000 to 6,000 new volumes to its collection each year.
- Total circulations in 2006: 46,703
Completed in 1911 at a cost of $300,000, Andover Hall was designed by Allen and Collens, a firm that focused largely on neo-medieval and ecclesiastical designs, and is the only building at Harvard built in the Collegiate Gothic style of architecture.
Andover Hall was commissioned by Andover Theological Seminary, which, by 1906, saw its enrollment slide and entered an affiliation with the Divinity School in 1908. The Hall contained a chapel, library, dorms, and seminar and lecture rooms. Today, Andover Hall still contains a chapel and some classrooms, but it also holds many administrative and faculty offices.
- James Luther Adams, ethicist and most influential theologian among American Unitarian Universalists in the 20th century
- Leila Ahmed, professor of women's studies and scholar of Islam
- Charles Gilchrist Adams, William and Lucille Nickerson Professor of the Practice of Ethics and Ministry (2006-2011)
- François Bovon, professor emeritus, prolific scholar in New Testament and Christian Apocrypha
- Davíd Carrasco, scholar of Latin American religion and culture
- Francis Xavier Clooney, comparative theologian and scholar of Hinduism
- Harvey Cox, Hollis Professor of Divinity emeritus, author of "The Secular City"
- Diana L. Eck, scholar of Hinduism and founder of The Pluralism Project
- Ephraim Emerton (1851–1935), first recipient of the Winn Professorship of Ecclesiastical History
- Peter J. Gomes (1942-2011), Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church of Harvard University and Plummer Professor of Christian Morals
- Janet Gyatso, scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, history, and culture
- William A. Graham, Dean of the School (2002-2012), Albertson Prof. of Middle Eastern Studies (Arts and Sciences), comparative historian and scholar of Islam
- Charles Hallisey, scholar of Therevada Buddhism
- David Hempton (dean), Dean of the School, historian of Methodism and Evangelical Protestantism
- Michael Jackson, anthropologist and novelist
- Baber Johansen, scholar of Islamic law
- Ousmane Oumar Kane, Alwaleed Professor of Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society
- Karen King, Hollis Professor of Divinity, author of "What is Gnosticism?" and "The Gospel of Mary Magdala"
- Gordon D. Kaufman (died 2011), liberal Mennonite pacifist theologian and author of God the Problem
- Helmut Koester (died 2016), professor emeritus, New Testament scholar
- Jon D. Levenson, scholar of Hebrew Bible and Jewish studies
- Arthur Chute McGill, (1926–1980) Bussey Professor of Theology at Harvard from 1971 until 1980
- Richard R. Niebuhr, Hollis Professor of Divinity emeritus, theologian
- Henri Nouwen (1983–1985), Professor of Divinity and Horace De Y. Lentz Lecturer
- Jacob K. Olupona, scholar of Indigenous Religions, Religions in Africa
- Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Krister Stendahl Professor feminist New Testament scholar, author: In Memory of Her; Rhetoric and Ethic; The Power of the Word
- Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, Charles Chauncey Stillman Professor of Roman Catholic Theological Studies
- Robert William Scribner (1941–1998), Reformation historian
- Wilfred Cantwell Smith, former director of the school's Center for the Study of World Religions
- Ronald Frank Thiemann, Christian theologian and dean of the Divinity School from 1986 to 1998
- Paul Tillich (1886–1965), Protestant theologian and Christian existentialist
- Henry Ware Jr., (1794–1843), Unitarian theologian
- Henry Ware Sr. (1764–1845), prominent early Unitarian theologian
- C. Conrad Wright (1917–2011), historian of American Congregationalism and Unitarianism
- George Ernest Wright (1958–1974), Parkman Professor of Divinity; (1961–1974) Curator of the Semitic Museum, Presbyterian, leading Old Testament scholar and biblical archaeologist
- Cornel West, public intellectual, author, philosopher, political activist, social critic and member of the Democratic Socialists of America
- Charles G. Adams, Pastor, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church; Former President, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.; William and Lucille Nickerson Professor of the Practice of Ethics and Ministry, Harvard Divinity School.
- Emma Anderson, professor of Classics and Religious Studies at University of Ottawa
- Chris Adrian, author and medical doctor
- Horatio Alger, scholar and novelist
- Reza Aslan, author and Islamic scholar
- Charles Bennison, bishop in the Episcopal Church
- George Madison Bodge, author, historian, and Unitarian minister
- George Bradburn, Unitarian preacher and abolitionist from Massachusetts.
- Neville Callam, General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance
- Edward John Carnell, prominent neoevangelical theologian
- Tom Chappell, founder of Tom's of Maine, large producer of natural personal care products
- Tom Chick, actor, editor and video game journalist
- Delman Coates, Senior Pastor, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, Clinton, MD
- Moncure D. Conway, Unitarian preacher and abolitionist from Virginia.
- Janet Cooper-Nelson, Chaplain of Brown University, first woman university chaplain in the Ivy League
- John Cranley, former congressional candidate in Ohio.
- Demetrios, Archbishop of America, current primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
- Gary Dorrien, American social ethicist and theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and Professor of Religion at Columbia University.
- Elizabeth Eaton, fourth presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
- William Greenleaf Eliot, co-founder of Washington University in St. Louis
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher, poet, and essayist
- Archie Epps, Harvard University Dean of Students 1971-1999
- Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, and author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe
- John Figdor, Humanist Chaplain at Stanford University
- Robert P. George, author, constitutional law scholar, and Princeton professor
- Ronald Goetz, Niebuhr Distinguished Chair in Christian Theology and Ethics at Elmhurst College
- Peter J. Gomes, preacher and writer and Chaplain, Harvard University
- Samuel Swett Green, key figure in the public library movement and the "founding father" of reference librarianship.
- Stephen A. Hayner, President of Columbia Theological Seminary, ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church USA, professor, former president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
- Chris Hedges, author and journalist
- Iakovos, Archbishop of America, Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America from 1959 to 1996
- James Franklin Kay, professor of Homiletics and Liturgy at Princeton Theological Seminary
- Ray Keck, president of Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas; was Rockefeller Brothers Fellow at Harvard Divinity
- Muhammad Kenyatta, professor, civil rights leader and politician
- Michael Muhammad Knight, author
- Charles Marsh, theologian, writer and biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- Scotty McLennan, Dean for Religious Life at Stanford University
- C.E. Morgan, author
- Tori Murden, the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and to ski to the geographic South Pole
- William B. Oden, bishop in the United Methodist Church
- Theodore Parker, prominent Unitarian and transcendentalist Unitarian minister, scholar, abolitionist and author of the line, "...the moral...arc of history...bends toward justice..."
- Rodney L. Petersen, scholar of history, ethics, and religious conflict, and executive director of the Boston Theological Institute
- Richard L. Pratt Jr., Professor of Old Testament, President of Third Millennium Ministries
- Letty M. Russell, feminist theologian
- Edmund Sears, Unitarian theologian
- Jeffrey L. Seglin, journalist, writer, and Emerson College professor
- Saba Soomekh, professor and essayist
- Vanessa Southern, Unitarian minister and progressive liberal advocate
- Richard Tafel, founder Log Cabin Republicans, lobbyist, executive coach
- George Allen Turner, Professor, English Bible, Asbury Theological Seminary
- Ross H. Trower, Chief of Chaplains of the U.S. Navy
- Jones Very, poet and essayist
- Liz Walker, journalist and pastor
- Sarah Warn, Editor-in-Chief; founder of AfterEllen.com
- Leland Wilkinson, statistician and computer scientist
- Vanessa Zoltan, atheist chaplain
Harvard Divinity Bulletin
Harvard Divinity Bulletin is an award-winning glossy magazine published by Harvard Divinity School two times per calendar year. The magazine features nonfiction essays, opinion pieces, poetry, and reviews about religion and its relationship with contemporary life, art, and culture. The magazine often publishes the text of each year's Ingersoll Lecture on Human Immortality. It is mailed to a subscriber base of more than 20,000; subscriptions are on a donation basis. Past contributors have included Reza Aslan, Martine Batchelor, Sarah Sentilles, and Christian Wiman.
Harvard Divinity Today
HD Today was an alumni magazine published three times per year also by the HDS Office of Communications. It included original news articles, event listings, an alumni journal, and class notes. It ceased publication in spring 2012.
Harvard Theological Review
Founded in 1908, Harvard Theological Review is a quarterly journal that publishes original research in many scholarly and religious fields, including ethics, archeology, Christianity, Jewish studies, and comparative religious studies.
The Graduate Journal of Harvard Divinity School
The Graduate Journal of Harvard Divinity School is the print/online, student-run academic journal of Harvard Divinity School and the only graduate journal of religion at Harvard University. It publishes exemplary student scholarship in the areas of religious studies, ministry studies, and theology every year.
The Wick is a journal for literary and creative works by the HDS community. The Wick publishes both published and unpublished writers of fiction, poetry, essays, photography, sermons, and creative non-fiction.
The Nave was a newsletter of HDS student activities and events published from 1975 to 2007 by the HDS Office of Student Life. The newsletter transitioned from paper to online in 2002. The Nave included announcements of lectures, social events, important academic deadlines, and other matters.
Student religious affiliation
(Figures taken from 2007-2008 Harvard Divinity School Catalog)
- African Methodist Episcopal: fewer than five
- Agnostic: fewer than five
- Anglican/Episcopal: 32 (7.2%)
- Assemblies of God: fewer than five
- Baptist: 15 (3.6%)
- Buddhist: 13 (2.9%)
- Catholic: 53 (11.9%)
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ): fewer than five
- Church of God in Christ: fewer than five
- Congregationalist: fewer than five
- Covenant Charismatic: fewer than five
- Evangelical: fewer than five
- Hindu: fewer than five
- Jain: fewer than five
- Jewish: 16 (3.6%)
- LDS/Mormon: fewer than five
- Lutheran: 14 (3.1%)
- Mennonite: fewer than five
- Methodist: 20 (4.5%)
- Muslim: 8 (1.8%)
- No Denominational Affiliation: 29 (6.5%)
- Nondenominational: 8 (1.8%)
- Orthodox: fewer than five
- Pagan: fewer than five
- Pentecostal: fewer than five
- Presbyterian: 25 (5.6%)
- Multidenominational: 9 (2%)
- Redeemed Christian Church of God: fewer than five
- Religious Naturalist: fewer than five
- Religious Society of Friends/Quaker: (1.1%)
- Seventh-day Adventists: fewer than five
- Sikh: fewer than five
- Sufi: fewer than five
- Undeclared: 85 (19%)
- Unitarian Universalist: 36 (8.1%)
- United Church of Christ: 24 (5.4%)
Divinity School buildings
- Divinity Hall
- Andover Hall
- Center for the Study of World Religions
- Rockefeller Hall
- Jewett House (Dean's Residence)
- Carriage House (Women's Studies in Religion Program)
- Morison, Samuel Eliot (1964). Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636-1926. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. pp. 242–243. ISBN 9780674888913. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- Dorrien, Gary (2001). The Making of American Liberal Theology (1st ed.). Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 195. ISBN 9780664223540. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- Balmer, Randall (2001). The Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism (1st ed.). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 393. ISBN 9780664224097. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- Field, Peter S. (2003). Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Making of a Democratic Intellectual. Lewiston, NY: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780847688425. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- "Member Schools: Harvard University Divinity School". Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Archived from the original on 17 September 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
- "Charles Stang Named Director of Center for the Study of World Religions". hds.harvard.edu. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- "Harvard Divinity School at the Turn of the Last Century: Building Andover Hall". Andover-Harvard Library. 2005. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
- "HDS - Alumni Relations - Katzenstein Award Recipients". Harvard Divinity School. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
- "WEDDINGS; Vanessa Southern, Rohit Menezes". The New York Times. 2 May 1999. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
- "Summit Unitarians support reproductive-health spending". Independent Press. 14 June 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
- "Harvard Divinity Bulletin Named Magazine of the Year," October 2012. http://hds.harvard.edu/news/2012/10/18/harvard-divinity-bulletin-named-magazine-year
- "HOLLIS catalog record for The Nave". Harvard Library. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
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- Harvard Divinity School website
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- Religions and the Practice of Peace Initiative
- Religious Literacy Project
- Science, Religion, and Culture at Harvard Divinity School
- Women's Studies in Religion Program