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Duke Divinity School

Duke Divinity School Gray Building.

The Divinity School at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina is one of ten graduate or professional schools within Duke University. It is also one of thirteen seminaries founded and supported by the United Methodist Church. It has 39 full-time and 18 part-time faculty and over 500 full-time students. The current dean of The Divinity School is Elaine Heath, who assumed the deanship on July 1, 2016. Former deans include the prominent New Testament scholar Richard B. Hays who stepped down in 2015, and L. Gregory Jones.



The Divinity School was founded in 1926 as the first graduate school at Duke,[1] following a large endowment by James B. Duke, a tobacco magnate, in 1924. The Divinity School carries on from the original founding of Trinity College at the site in 1859, which provided free training for Methodist preachers in exchange for support from the church. Though the school is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, it is also ecumenical in outlook and has both faculty and students from a variety of denominations.

The Divinity School building was recently renovated and also expanded. The Hugh A. Westbrook Building, which opened in 2005, is 53,000 square feet (4,900 m2). It also contains the 315-seat Bishop W. Kenneth Goodson Chapel with 55-foot (17 m)-high ceilings, office space, a bookstore, cafe, outdoor patio, and a 177-seat lecture hall.

The school is perhaps most noted in American theological circles for serving as a fountainhead of postliberalism or narrative theology, a movement originating in the 1960s and 1970s at Yale Divinity School. This is thanks in part to the presence of Stanley Hauerwas, often considered one of the leading exponents of postliberal and narrative approaches to theology. Time Magazine named Hauerwas "America's Best Theologian" in 2001.[2]

Duke Divinity also benefits from the resources of the Duke Endowment, providing an outlet for this fund's support of higher education and the rural church in North Carolina. Resources from this endowment go towards student internships in rural North Carolina Methodist churches, further clergy development, and other programs.

Notable facultyEdit

The exterior of Goodson Chapel, the worship space at Duke Divinity School.
  • Jeremy Begbie, Thomas Langford Research Professor of Theology and Director of the Duke Initiative in Theology and the Arts
  • Ellen F. Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology
  • Paul Griffiths, Warren Professor of Catholic Theology.
  • Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics (1984- )
  • Richard B. Hays, Dean and George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament
  • Reinhard Hütter, Associate Professor of Theology
  • L. Gregory Jones, former dean of the Divinity School as well as Theology Professor. Also an alumnus.
  • C. Kavin Rowe, Professor of New Testament.
  • Timothy Tyson, Visiting Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture
  • Geoffrey Wainwright, Robert Earl Cushman Professor of Christian Theology
  • Lauren Winner, Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality
  • Bishop William Willimon, Professor of Practice of Christian Ministry

Notable alumniEdit

The interior of Goodson Chapel


  1. ^ "The Founding of Duke Divinity School | David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library". Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  2. ^ Elshtain, Jean Bethke. CNN/Time - America's Best. Time. Retrieved on May 30, 2007. Archived May 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

External linksEdit